Last night Liza and I moved our mats onto the roof so I could turn 26 under the stars. It was a beautiful start to the year. I fell asleep to the sound of palm fronds rustling in the breeze and woke up to the sound of the cockrel crowing. First order of the day was morning yoga and meditation. Then on to breakfast and a busy schedule at school, rounding out the work day by leading my first English class for the teachers. In a good mood and looking for a little celebration, I skipped my evening run and Liza took me out for a fresh, cold bottle of Sprite in the village. Quite the birthday treat! We then bought two cones of henna, returned to the roof for sunset, and submitted each other to our first attempts at henna designs. Later, as I was leaving dinner at the Junior College, I walked down the outside corrider where the girls who live in the hostel study at night. As I reached the middle, the girls all stood up on cue and sang me an Indian version of Happy Birthday. It was a really lovely surprise and a great end to the day. This birthday was a far cry from recent celebrations at a "Dress like you did when you were 8" birthday bash in Seattle last year, dancing till dawn at the Full Moon party in Thailand on my 23rd birthday weekend, a full week of celebrations spread between the two Williamstown bars for my 21st, etc. But this birthday was perfect for the moment. I hope that I can take the balanced lifestyle, intimate relationship with the beauty of my surroundings, and appreciation of the small joys as a theme for this coming year. Thank you for the love and birthday wishes sent from all over the world!