Looking back on this last year makes me feel like one of the luckiest people on earth. This time last year I was surrounded by my best friends who came from near and far to send me off as I embarked on a journey that would change my life forever. Today I am on a plane, (upgraded to first class) on my way to Mendoza for a week of culinary indulgences with a wonderful friend and a long-awaited reunion with my favorite travel companion. Life is good.

I have been thinking a lot about a passage I read in a book titled "Voces del Desierto" (Desert Voices) about one of the aboriginal tribes in the Australian Outback and their thoughts on birthdays.

"For us, a celebration means something special. But there is nothing special in getting old. There exists no force. It simply happens. We celebrate that we become better. We celebrate this year if we are better and more knowledgeable persons than the year before. Only oneself can know this, so you are the one who should let the others know when the moment has arrived to celebrate. "

So, my friends, it is time to celebrate! Today I will celebrate not the fact that I am a year older but that I am wiser, stronger and happier than last year. I celebrate the many lessons I have learned on the journey, the people I have met, the places that I will forever carry in my heart. Today I celebrate myself for being brave enough to take this trip and to do it on my own. I am proud of the person I have become and I am thankful for the circumstances, encounters, events and mistakes that have brought me to this point. I wouldn't trade my life for anything and I wouldn't take any of it back. I am not perfect, nor do I want to be, but I am a good person, with a good heart and I am humble enough to recognize my flaws and to know that there will always be room for improvement. I will never stop growing, learning, evolving- I walk on an endless path of self-knowledge and discovery- and on this path, through knowing myself I come to know others around me. 

These people are reflections of myself, they possess the characteristics that I want to better in myself. We are magnets, pulled together by the law of attraction. These are my life companions, my soul-mates, mi familia de corazon. They define who I am just as much as any physical characteristic, personality trait or life event. I am so much a product of these people as I am of my environment. These are the people who make life worth living. So today I also celebrate the many individuals who have helped me  to learn and grow along the way. Thank you beautiful people, with your beautiful souls, kind hearts and contagious smiles, for accompanying me on this journey- for walking beside me in the rain, for encouraging me to keep climbing the mountain, for reminding me that the view from the top is always worth it, for strolling slowly down the beach, for riding with me on horse and camel-back. Thank for for the unforgettable powder days, for making me get back on the surf board after getting crushed by a wave, for swimming with me in the oceans, lakes, rivers and waterfalls- for always dancing-for getting your feet dirty- for sharing your sandwich- for inviting me into your home- for watching the sun rise, moon rise, stars fall- for the hugs and kisses and caresses. Thank you for the tears, for the laughs, for the silence. Thank you for being who you are and for helping me become who I am. Today I celebrate both your life and mine. I celebrate the people we used to be and the people we will become. I celebrate our love, our memories, and our future together. This life is about what you make it and the people you make it with. I couldn't feel more blessed to share these moments with you. On this first day of my 27th year I feel happy, fulfilled and immensely grateful. It is a beautiful life my friends, let us celebrate with wine and sweet words! 

All my love forever,