It was October 25th for the
18th 28th time last week!
Honestly speaking, I completely forgot that my birthday was approaching until one day before during the lunch break, one of my officemates said, “If I am not mistaken, tomorrow is your birthday, right?” Then everyone suggested to celebrate it by having lunch outside the office together. They told me, “You need to choose a restaurant and bring a cake, Nabila.” Yes, it was how we celebrate the birthday at my (research) office here in Lisbon. We celebrated it by having lunch outside, then hijacking our boss’ office for singing “Parabéns a Você — it means Happy Birthday to You in Portuguese” and eating the cakes.
So I told my husband if I would have arrived late at home because I need to go to a supermarket and a nearby bakery. I ordered one of my favorite cakes in Portugal, the bolo de brigadeiro (a chocolate cake with chocolate filling and layered with chocolate sprinkles. Quite a guilty pleasure). Only then he replied within minutes, “come back faster. I miss you.”
Not his usual self. What a strange reply, I thought to myself.
I arrived home an hour later and found him greeting me outside and then he said, “Tadaaa… Happy birthday!” My husband decorated our living room with those colorful flags he found on Tiger and placed his present on a small table in the middle of our living room. He prepared pasteis de Belem (the best nata that I always call as the love of my life) as my birthday cake and a bucket of flowers as a present.
“It’s the love of your life from your true love,” he said. HA!
A few days after, I celebrated my birthday with my Service Design teammates at the University of Porto. We had lunch together (thank you, Nina, for helping me organize it) and of course, with the all-time favorite bolo de brigadeiro.
I thought I had a pile of word stocks to describe my happiness on turning 28, but I didn’t have any except a bright smile and warmer heart during the week. Thank you.
Embracing My (Soon) New Long-Term Career
Our plan was to have me pregnant a year after our marriage. Little we knew that the blessing came earlier than our plan. We found out about this blessing when we were waiting for our VISA application. We had…mixed feeling! Of course, the news was overwhelming: I was about to start my doctorate study, we were about to move and adapt to a new country, and soon… there would be another demanding project besides the doctorate study.
The moment I saw the first ultrasound picture, I couldn’t believe that soon we would become parents. Even until now when my bump becomes more noticeable and the baby kicks become more often. But then after those nauseous days of my first trimester, here I am now: not a superwoman, of course, only a mere housewife-slash-doctorate student who prepares for her (soon) new long-term career and learns to devote her time for her husband and her research. The journey is another story, an interesting and challenging one, but we have been enjoying every second of it so far. Well, I’m 28 and Embracing My (Soon) New Long-Term Career.