Last night I was invited to a henna party. I did go home with lovely black henna drawings on both hands.
But it turned out I was also attending my own surprise birthday party.
It was all prepared by my dear friend Samah, who I met here in Jeddah less than a year ago. My Egyptian sweetheart, who organized the party and gathered a few of her other Egyptian and Saudi friends, made sure the evening was a big surprise, even 2 days early for the proper effect.
There were sweets and salty snacks, home made cake and basbousa, egyptian home made juice. Ornaments and pink “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” letters were hanged over the table which was carrying a rich and heavy burden of all the foods. Arabic coffee had to be there too of course. Just before they called me to the decorated room, she gently placed a tiara on top of my hair. A minute later they were all singing happy birthday.
All of it, the smiles and singing, the beautiful decorations and all the thought put into the plan for the party, being this far away from home for the first time for my birthday … Made me cry.
What an Idiot.
Can I keep it under control for once in my life? Nope.
I managed to calm down and enjoyed the moment as the celebrated princess (tiara) of the evening. I’ve never had a surprise party before. I loved it. It’s hard to put it into words, even for me.
I was enjoying the evening so much, I didn’t even take as many pictures as I’m used to. The lovely henna artist came and drew on our hands. We all picked something different and I believe the chosen design was just right for each woman’s hand and character.
This was also my first “ladies only” party in Saudi Arabia. Hijabs were off, make up was in full effect and there was a free spirit of womanhood, tangible in the atmosphere, accompanied with mostly belly dance music.
It was a night to remember, for sure. Feeling thankful to have such kind people in my life. Feeling blessed to have met my dear friend Samah, who I can also call sister.