It has taken me a while but I finally got my act together and collected some pictures from my birthday to share.
The morning of my birthday I woke up to wonderful smells coming from the kitchen, where Will had been cooking breakfast (early early) to serve before I had to leave for work. He made strawberry blintzes, the traditional birthday breakfast growing up in my family. The blintzes were complete with made-from-scratch crepes, fresh strawberry puree and homemade filling. Such a sweet surprise.
I had only mentioned my birthday to one person in my office just in passing weeks before, but when I arrived at work I found these beautiful flowers on my desk (pardon the poorly lit windowless office, I have since upgraded to one with a window-yay!). She also surprised me with a delicious chai tea latte that is not pictured. Needless to say, my morning started off wonderfully.
After class and work, respectively, Will and I met my parents for a birthday dinner at Mateo Tapas, a Spanish tapas restaurant in Durham. It was my first time there and I would absolutely recommend it. If you are unfamiliar with tapas, they are an array of Spanish appetizers, snacks or small plates. Since they are served in such small portions, we ordered a few different dishes and each sampled all of them. Everything we tried was delectable. Some of my favorites were the dates, stuffed with goat cheese and honey and wrapped in prosciutto and the baguette served with melt-in-your-mouth freshly made farmer’s cheese and sweet pepper jelly (the latter is pictured below on the right). Delicious.
We topped off the night with a delicious birthday treat! It was such a fun experience with some of the people I love most.
After dinner we walked around downtown Durham and explored a bit. There was an art street fair going on near the iconic bull statue and the sidewalks were lively.
Doesn’t Mr. Bull look so majestic? I feel like if he was alive he would be very protective to those he cared for and absolutely terrifying to those who tried to mess with his people. Kind of like a cross between Ferdinand the Bull and the bull in the Disney short with Goofy as a matador (I’m obviously on a Spanish kick tonight). Compete side note: Did you know that the story of Ferdinand the Bull is a pacifist story? It came out just before the Spanish Civil War and was banned in Spain, Hitler ordered it to be burned, and it was the only non-communist book Stalin allowed to be distributed in Poland. I had no idea. Thanks, Wikipedia.
We wandered into the recently opened 21c Museum Hotel, basically a hotel disguised as a free contemporary art gallery. The building has art deco elements and was designed by the architects who designed the Empire State Building (cool, right?!). In juxtaposition to the original 1937 building elements, interesting modern art speckled the building. Some of it was not what I would have expected or chosen on my own but other pieces were really great. I know this sounds strange, but the bathrooms were one of the coolest parts of the hotel. Hear me out. Toilets were enclosed in individual rooms with glass walls that faced the main hall. Upon completing a turn of the lock, all of the glass became dark and opaque and the once transparent toilet room transformed into a private bathroom. It was cool, but made me a little wary at the same time. Questionable.
The exhibit below is the american flag made out of painted plastic toy soldiers. There were so many nooks and crannies of the hotel/art gallery to explore, but I’ll leave that for another time. Thanks to everyone who made it a wonderful birthday!