I didn't want to have a big party when I turned 50 - I felt that GI's and Paula's parties were enough partying to last a long time. I just wanted something quiet, just our closest friends in a small gathering.
Of course, I should have known better, and perhaps in my heart I did know what the result would be. Since I had been so adamant that I did not want a big party, there was only one option left to GI. Surprise party! There had been a month of planning, scheming and white lies, with a plan so cunning that you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel.
The excuse was our good friends eldest son, Erik Hansen, turning 20 the day before I turned 50. This was to be celebrated with a big party, too big to be thrown at home. This should have been the first tip off, but I really wanted to believe that my wishes would be respected. The planning was of course made easier for GI by the fact that I don't speak tagalog, so the numerous phone calls could be made without too much worry that I would understand what was going on. But, the filipinoes have a tendency to mix in english words, and I did catch a conversation that was about per head prices for catering, but when I asked GI, I was told that she was helping out a friend with her party.
On the day itself I was told that the party would begin a 5 pm, but that there was no need for us to be precise - filipino time, you know - so we arrived 15 minutes late. This was of course to let everybody take their places, so that the surprise could be as big as possible. I started to be suspicious when the first person I saw was somebody that I knew weren't a close friend of the Hansens - and there were very many cars in the parking lot, many that I recognized.
Well inside, the charade continued, Erik was occupying the main seat, and GI and I were given seats nearby. Of course, I brought out the camera to take pictures - I always take pictures at occasions like this - and Christian unfolded the rolled up banner. My fears were now confirmed - this was a party for me! There was nothing for it - just roll with the events and enjoy. The camera was given to Leo, who took most of the pictures.
There has been one very large benefit for me in having a surprise party: I haven't had to participate in any of the planning and preparations!
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