Today I was meant to have my first lesson at university after winter holidays, but I didn’t… because I overslept…
It was my birthday the previous night. I never like making it into a big event and I always try to escape from big preparations and luxurious tables with khorovats being its inseparable component. But I also don’t like celebrating them at restaurants with the rabiz environment around. I managed to escape to Tsakhkadzor last year and celebrate my birthday at the resting house’s bar with two friends and students from other universities who I never knew before. But the other day when I returned I found my mum laying table – “we are just having dinner” – and later some twenty people joined us at the dinner table.
I never invite anyone to my birthday. I think that regardless of my invitation people close to me, who remember me and want to share that day with me bringing some change into it can always visit and have good time together, and it won’t really matter for them whether I put traditional barbeque on the table, some 5-6 types of salads, just for variety, or I treat them with just a cup of coffee. Of course I wouldn’t leave them to starve.
And so happened yesterday, when preliminary with no intention to celebrate and expecting only some ten friends to come, more thirty people appeared very unexpectedly. And that’s so damn pleasant when people remember you and they don’t actually need any invitation for it!
For such occasions I prefer the so called Sweden Table – with the table at the wall and no chairs around it, and with little pieces of light snacks on it (I usually work out my fantasy and pay a delicate attention to the decoration of every dish on the table, because I’m of the opinion that the appearance is not of less importance than the taste). This is the way I was doing at least during previous three years. My friends are all ok with it, moreover, they find it stimulating to feel at ease and have a great time and also more space is left for dancing.
But my folks, our mothers and fathers, our very Armenian people… Yes, they can’t do without sitting around the table, without proposing toasts for drinking, proposing another toast and drinking, remembering how somebody’s neighbor had a dog and proposing a related toast just for drinking, wolfing down the first dish, the second one…oh you don’t have a third dish?… Ok, let’s come back to the first one…
And a huge argument took place when I said that I’d either celebrate laying a Swedish Table, or wouldn’t celebrate at all. My mum was against: “You are leaving the poor people to starve, they are not accustomed to your ‘snack while standing’ style, they are used to sitting around the table and eating”. So what could I do – I don’t want to celebrate on different days, my friends prefer the other table, my relatives are not accustomed to it, but all in all, I didn’t know how many people would come, and I was not going to ask my friends to leave the table as to free a seat and hurry to place new plates and forks every time a new guest would knock at the door, especially when in the final numbers there were forty or so people at our place that day and I was not going to put long tables throughout our apartment. So many contrasts!
But the problem found its solution soon. I laid my table in the main room, my mother laid another table in the kitchen. Seemed like a madhouse! Separate tables for the whims of our guests, special offers for different ages. Probably we should have prepared special menu for each guest and they would be given the opportunity to choose what they wanted 😉 Finally when the youth left, the older people took to measures – they moved the table off the wall and took the places around it and didn’t forget to bring their plates from the kitchen table.
Apart from toiling the whole day along with mum, apart from washing dishes late at 2am and going to bed at 3, I really had a wonderful time! Poor neighbors, they had to bear our noises till late night, good that we are not used to calling police when your neighbors celebrate something! But of course I would like the things to be easier. I don’t actually want my mum or me work in the kitchen on our birthdays just because people may be not satisfied with the amount of food they are offered.
And this is the way I don’t celebrate my birthday every year! Guess next year I will do another attempt to escape to somewhere and hibernate for a while 😉