You have had many firsts since our trip has begun. You flew on your first plane, rode your first chicken bus and ferry, had your first swim in the ocean and a pool, and today you attended your first birthday party.
Before arriving on Utila, we reached out to a few hostels on the island to inquire about facilities and Tatiana, the owner of Parrots Dive Center, was the most helpful. Being a mother of two small boys, she went over the top to make sure we were comfortable and welcomed. She periodically checked in on us to make sure we were doing alright and whenever she would see us in town, she would stop to say hello. No more than 90 lbs soaking wet, Tatiana is a mighty woman, running a successful business while raising a young family. She grew quite fond of you Asher and was excited to invite us to her son Tristan’s one year birthday party.
After another great day of naps, we made our way through the streets of Utila and could spot her home a mile away. Dozens of yellow minion balloons decorated the entrance and large balcony facing the street. Tatiana’s home had vaulted ceilings with polished wood floors and it was already bustling with activity when we arrived. Kids of all ages scurried onto the balcony to get a bag of fresh popped popcorn and parents mingled while holding their babies. Asher, everyone was surprised with your size since you were one of the youngest babies yet you were also one of the biggest, and you tried your best to copy the older babies by walking around on your wobbly legs. In Utila, as I am sure is common throughout Latin America, birthday parties are a full community affair. It was great to see dozens of families, young and old, enjoying energetic rounds of musical chairs, plates of food and bottomless cups of soda. Since we do so much walking, nearly every family at the party said, “hey, I’ve seen you walking around with that fancy carrier.” In a small way we felt a big part of the Utila community.
After the whole lot sang an enthusiastic “Happy Birthday” and devoured the minion cake, it was downstairs to bash the piñata. Asher, since your birth you have preferred the company of a few, so all the commotion was taking its toll. We said our goodbyes and ducked out before the biggest kids got a whack at the poor candy filled minion. As we walked the dark streets home, we talked about how your one year birthday will come before we know it and we will be celebrating the day you made our family three. Though it was a festive day, we were feeling a little somber knowing we would be leaving so many friends in the morning. Rosa heard us singing to you as we crunched the coral path to our room. She came out to hold you one last time and with tears welling up in her eyes, she squeezed you close, telling you just how much she will miss you. Tatiana, Rosa and Tony helped make a strange land feel a little more like home and truly welcomed us into their family.