Here in Indonesia, when one celebrate her birthday, she can expect two things: presents, and treat her friends to dine out. That's the tradition that we have here.
I read somewhere:
"Life is inexpensive, yet brand make it expensive.
LIfe is simple, yet pride makes it complicated."
My point is, for some with pride bigger than her wallet, this kind of tradition is something that will stress them out days before the actual birthday. For the birthday girl, AND for the friend. Why? Some think that birthday presents should be expensive. And some also think one should treat friends to expensive restaurant. Simple present and simple food hurt their pride.
Well, I personally think that's silly. Of course we are all have some pride, and we should, in a proper portion and in good way. Tell me one new parent who doesn't feel at least a slight feel of pride for her child, and I will tell you that's not very healthy! But pride should be under our control, and not controlling us.
Months before my birthday, I already hinted to my coworkers, and I don't want nor need "another thing to dust". I love decorative objects, yet one can have so many in her house without starting to feel suffocated! And I love dresses and bags and shoes just as much as the next woman, but I already have a closet full of them, which I am still in the process of purging and editing.
I am not lacking anything.
Yet I also understand and respect the custom of giving gifts for one's birthday. So this year, I make it easy for everyone. Weeks before my birthday, I told one coworker, that all I wanted for my birthday is fancy toiletries. Surprise? Not really. I don't like perfume, and I never wear deodorant in my life, but I do love wonderfully scented body lotions, delicious soap, sweet smelling shower gel in pretty packaging, and scented candle whose fragrant can light up the whole atmosphere of one's bedroom. I especially love Bath & Body Works products.
But there is one problem: I am way too stingy, ahem, frugal, to justiying spending the amount of money one needs to spend on such luxury at any Indonesian BBW stores.
You might laugh at me for writing this, especially if you live in the US, where BBW holds annual and semiannual sales regularly, and you can get pretty good deal online with coupons and sites as Retail Me Not dot Com. In Indonesia, with different currency and somebody in the marketing department deciding that BBW products should be positioned "up there" as luxury brand, the prices are ridiculous.
So I never have the heart to splurge on their products, for myself.
Hence, I told that particular coworker that I would love to receive something that I can enjoy, but won't create new clutter in my house. Such as fancy shower gel. Of course, I didn't know at that time that the whole team would pitch in to buy a basket chucked full with products from my favorite brand! I got the whole she bang: a body lotion, a shower gel, a bubble bath, three hand sanitizers, a body creme, and a scented candle. All in beautiful shades of pink, in the wonderful and lovely scent of Japanese Cherry Blossom. Yayyyyyyy!!!!
My coworkers also noted that I don't like extra waste. I am frugal and I don't like being wasteful, either. For my card, they bought a card that's handmade by a little girl from recyleable materials. The little girl made many cards which she sold and then donated to the proceeds from the sale for the needy. Isn't it sweet?
They also opted out of buying me a birthday cake, noting I don't care for cakes. I love chocolates, but whenever anyone has a birthday, I never eat the birthday cake, giving my share to someone else with sweet tooth. Instead of a birthday cake, they got the office chef created my favorite sandwich with french fries, put them in my own food boxes that have been kept at the office pantry, and put a spare candle on top of the box! Now, that's my kind of birthday cake! Want not, waste not! Too bad I don't have proper picture of the unique "cake"!
For lunch, we went to a nearby restaurant called Sanjaya. They serve good food, lots of it, with reasonable price. And the dishes are delicious.
In the evening, Hubby brought out a heart-shaped melted brownies, made of dark chocolate, which is the only brownies that I really really like, put on some candles, and ordered some noodles from a nearby noodle shop. Noodle is a must for birthday, for it signifies long life. That's pretty much my birthday celebration this year.
It's simple and unpretentious, but I was so happy. I felt blessed and in such abundance. I felt loved and cared for and celebrated.
Thank you, Lord.
|My men and my birthday cake of melted chocolate brownies.|
|Love, love, love this scented candle! Thank you!|