As mentioned in my previous post, this week was my first “official” pandemic birthday. Last year, my birthday marked the last day of 2020 when Jon and I went out to dinner at a restaurant. A few days later, the world shut down. This year, I knew that it would be a very quiet, very uneventful birthday, but I was ready to embrace it.
As in the last few years, I had taken the day off from work (because nobody should be working on their birthday, IMHO). The forecast said that it would be cold and rainy on Wednesday (and it was nasty outside for most of the day), but when I got up and it was at least dry outside, I decided to get out for a 4.5-mile run. In recent years, I’ve subscribed to the belief: if you wake up on your birthday and you’re feeling good and don’t have any aches and pains, count yourself lucky and head out and get some exercise and fresh air! So I did! Starting off a new year on the right foot and all that.
I definitely felt like I had earned the hot shower, freshly brewed coffee, and a piece of birthday (marble) cake (that Jon had baked for me the night before) upon my return.
I was able to facetime with my parents and my sister (who got her first Covid vaccine shot the day before (yay!) but unfortunately had some unpleasant side-effects (boo!) and basically slept through our birthday). I also got a short video call from my cousin and his girlfriend and from one of my dear friends back in Germany, and then I also received so many birthday wishes via snail mail, text, and social media (thanks to everyone who thought of me on my birthday and reached out!)
Jon and I just hung out the rest of the day, we had a very simple German dinner (“Strammer Max“) and then we spent the rest of the night setting up our new iPhones. (We both still had iPhone 7’s, which we had talked about upgrading since Jon’s birthday in October, and decided to finally upgrade for mine. What’s that? We take our sweet time making decisions? You’d be right about that. We usually squeeze the last bit of life out of our tech devices. But the new iPhone is damn nice y’all. The camera alone… and did I mention it has a lidar sensor? OMG! If you know me, you know how crazy I am about lidar! It’s the technology I use for work and never in a million years would I have thought I would one day have a lidar sensor in my back pocket.)
The best birthday present, however, arrived on Thursday. My dear friend Tanja (and her husband Herbert and Ms Emma) came up for a short visit from SoCal. They’ll be moving back to Germany in a few weeks and decided to make the trip up to Sacramento to a) see the Capitol (which apparently they hadn’t yet seen in 14 years of living in the Golden State! What?!) and more importantly, b) meet Jon and get the chance to say goodbye to us in person. I cannot tell you how much that meant to me/us.
Especially, because – due to Covid – we could only see each other outdoors and socially-distanced. I wish the circumstances of our time together would have been different, but we made the best of it.
Originally it looked like it was going to work out for them to be up here on my actual birthday, but due to the rainy and cold weather, they postponed their visit another day and came up on Thursday (when it was supposed to be sunnier and dry).
They arrived in Sacramento around 2 pm and after many (boring) hours in the car (driving up I-5), we decided to go for a walk and show them a bit of our neighborhood. I am not surprised that they said they liked Sacramento (it’s a cute town) but that it has a very different vibe compared to Southern California (and I would definitely agree with that).
We got coffee at our local coffee shop on the way back and we offered them some belated birthday cake in our backyard. It was so fun to hang out and talk and it really didn’t feel like Jon was meeting them for the first time. I guess, I talk about Tanja (and Herbert) so much that Jon felt like he already knew them.
After they had checked into their hotel (not too far from where we live), we made two quick tourist-stops at the State Capitol and the Tower Bridge – the two most famous landmarks of Sacramento. I cannot believe that in all the years that Tanja and Herbert have lived in California, they hadn’t seen the state’s Capitol (#bucketlist). The weather played extra-nice and offered us amazing sunset lighting.
We took Tanja and Herbert out to dinner at “Selland’s Market Café“, one of our current favorite restaurants. The location in our neighborhood was temporarily closed, so we chose the location downtown which also offered a much bigger heated outdoor seating area, so we felt comfortable having our dinner there instead of taking it home to our (unheated) backyard. We had a great time and just chatted away.
Tanja and I obviously couldn’t get together without planning at least a little in-person workout session and I was thrilled that she agreed to go for a run with me on Friday morning. The hotel was close to the American River Parkway, where I often run, so I could pick her up and we could hit the trail together that she’s seen so many times in my IG posts/stories. It was so much fun to run together and I wish we could do that more often.
Tanja and Herbert were the first people we have seen in a year and hadn’t it been for their pending departure from the US, I am not even sure I would have so willingly agreed to see them (even from a distance). It’s not like Tanja and I hadn’t constantly talked about that we would get together as soon as “Covid is over”.
But when she said that she was contemplating making the trip up here to say goodbye, I couldn’t agree fast enough. She and Herbert have both gotten their first vaccine shot and I knew that we would all be careful around each other.
I am so, so thankful we got to hang out one more time before their move back to Germany, and while I will miss having her in the same time zone, I have no doubt that we’ll be keeping up with each other and still find a way to work out ‘together’.