I'm trying to think of the best way to describe birthdays in the Philippines. I guess the best word to use for mine today was "Homemade." For all the card holidays, like Valentines and birthdays, the students always all out to make it special in their own personal ways. For example, when I walked downstairs this morning, the kids had put a poster saying, "Happy Birthday Ma'am Connie Hoover" in my living room. I later asked when they put it in there, and they're like, oh, around 5am. That is some dedication!
They also made each class today spcial. When I stepped into my first class, Jundie, one of my students had his guitar and everybody broke out with 3 rounds of Happy Birthday. My second class had collected flowers to throw at me...some throwers were a little overzealous...but all in good fun! Then my third class gave me red hibiscuses. I got cards, letters, necklaces made out of flowers, balloons on sticks, all the little things that made it a very special day.
Then to top it off, my host mom went birthday crazy. I got a special breakfast, lunch, 4 cakes, banana splits, pizza, yikes. I'm literally about to explode. I think I'm going to need another 364 days to recover!