I got a Whatsapp message from a primary school friend: “Hey! Heard you’re in town! We’re organizing a surprise party for Vladi on Saturday – would be great if you could come. Hope to see you!”
Vladi is a friend I’ve known since first grade, we were buddies from the beginning and somehow almost always ended up in the same classroom while switching schools, all the way up until high school. We’ve managed to keep in touch throughout the years, 22 years to be exact, and I visited them just before leaving to Belize. Vladi has also been great at keeping the relations with many of the rest of our primary school friends, the friends from the neighbourhood, the people we grew up with, people from primary, middle and high school.
So, his girlfriend – and a girl I much liked to play with on the school yard, had organized a surprise party inviting all of Vladi’s friends to their apartment – and Vladi had no idea at all.
We shouted surprise, exchanged hugs and continued mingling in what for me was a nostalgia overload of faces and interesting life stories, people I knew as primary school kids were now talking about their parenthood and boyish faces had grown manly beards. In between the “this is sick!” and “wow, 7 years at least!?” greetings and hugs, there were laughs, some dancing, and a selfie stick that got to be the ultimate centre of attention all night. It was a great party, and I was very happy to be there.
Happy Birthday once more, Vladi! Thank you, Nilo! And the biggest of hugs to you all.
Here’s some added goodies from the archive. Wish I was at home right now so I could share some more!