I wasn't planning anything special for my birthday. I couldn't decide if I wanted to have a house party or not. Quiet drinks in the courtyard or just heading out to a bar? Every year it just gets so complicated to coordinate all my friends, plan, decide and then make it happen. Most of the time it feels like a lot of work. I wanted to be with people, but then I didn't want to see anyone. I'm at the age when I wouldn't mind time stop passing all together. 34 is not a number you celebrate. But then I'm proud of my years, because every each one shaped me in one way or another; I'm proud of my life, I love the people in it, as moody and reflective I get about it sometime. I am ready to turn the page and skip on to the next chapter. I'm in Gainesville for now. It's been nine years since I got off the plane from Warsaw and I would lie if I said I wasn't ready for bold, new exciting things whatever they may be. Birthdays and holidays, more than anything else remind me that I'm here while my family is back home. That Gainesville is a transient town, yet I live here. And I've seen many kids come here to find themselves, become whomever they were meant to discover and move on to bigger and better things. And I'm here. It's hard not to get nostalgic in a place that cherishes youth over experience and fun over dedication. Humor me, I'm getting old. Sometimes I can picture myself in a rocking chair smoking a pipe after a life well lived :) I was expecting a quiet night at home. Many of my friends were out of town, had a series of bizarre incidents, and the storm was about to derail any of the plans I would have made. I knew one thing- I had a ticket for Avenue Q- the bestselling summer musical sensation I've already seen once. It was supposed to be one of those extremely uneventful days. But the cast and crew had other ideas and gave me a wonderful surprise. At the beginning they set me up with drinks, so five minutes into it I was already having a lot of fun, but the best was yet to come. I know some of the people that put the show together and they wanted to make this special for me. During the second act one of the puppets pulled out a birthday card and hand it to me. Some people in the audience were confused- they later asked me if it really was my birthday, thinking it was a regular part of the show. The card was signed by the wonderful cast and crew of the show and was a touching gift. I'm amazed that they were able and cared to not only pull it off, but integrate it into the play in such a fun way. Earlier I've had the scandalous female puppet dance right next to me in my section. As my friends said it I had a private show. I had a more memorable birthday that I could ever wish for and the night continued for me at a bar next door. I love musicals. I believe I was eight when I watched "West Side Story" on Hungarian TV in Budapest with my mom. She let me stay up a little longer, which she would never do as it was one of her favorite movies. How can you not love the music the emotion, the talent? And that reminded me something about Gainesville. This is the place where I can go see a play one day, a random dramatic book reading another, a burlesque show the following week and all in my neighborhood. This is the place where you get to meet and mingle with people so very different from you, yet everyone is so welcoming, inclusive and gracious. If I moved to New York I doubt I would ever have an opportunity to grab drinks with Kristin Chenoweth, Megan Hilty or Andy Mientus, after their shows, but of course I could be wrong and am willing to test this theory.... Thank you for a wonderful birthday.