After going into town to extend our visas and temporary import permit for our car (a task that has Nick fuming at the bureaucratics of it all) we make our way to Hippo Creek Lodge, about 15km from Masvingo.

This lodge is on Lake Mutirikwe, created in 1961 when a 305m wide wall was built across Mutirikwe. This is the venue of my soon-to-happen 29th birthday party.

My pre-birthday celebrations include a fishing trip where I catch my first bass ever! Delicious on the braai, marinated in portugese spice, cooked till the skin is golden with divine white flesh. The staff have also made us the biggest fire ever, so we have the perfect kitchen.

In the lead up to my birthday, although I have been spoilt with sweets and Nicks tolerant and patient attitude towards my ever-changing attitude of my upcoming birthday (sad at another year gone then excited at spending my birthday in Zim then missing my friends and family to loving being in the middle of nowhere), I have also had a bad wardrobe week. So far I have spilt oil all over my clothes, burnt holes in my fancy trekking socks whilst warming them by the fire, learning a dog had buried my warmest long sleeve top in the garden and walking into a thorn bush resulting in tears along the backs of my pants.

For my birthday party I have put together a list of party foods: jelly (which sets in the cold night minus a fridge), popcorn, toasted cheese sandwiches, chocolate, toasted marshmallows, teh-tarik, garlic bread and chilli – in anything .

Attendees include Nick and John the resident hippo, who is actually very good company – coming close enough to us (3m) to evoke excitement, but keeping his distance so I don’t wee in my pants from fear.

My first birthday present is texts from my family, which thanks to the different time zones, mean I get themfirst thing in the morning – making my birthday fab already. I also get a call from my little sister and mum which have me beaming brightly on our walk up he mountains. We find a nice view of the lake for a picnic lunch – where I am determined to get through at least half my party foods list. Later, Nick treats me to a full body massage and we sit by a growing fire to complete my birthday food wish list.

For anyone who knows how stupidly I behave on my birthday – not stupid drunk, but stupid crying mess at the sorrow of another year gone – you will be pleased to know that not a tear was shed. I’m twenty-nine now you know, the crying has to stop some time.

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