My birthday was a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday, and I decided that I’d like to celebrate by having lunch after church with friends and then going on a hike in the gorge. Originally we planned to go to one of my new favorite restaurants, Towfiq, which is only about a block away from my church. It’s advertised as an African and Mediterranean restaurant, but I believe it is owned by a Somalian family–at least when I asked our server that’s where he said they were from. Anyway, the food and the hospitality are wonderful and I really enjoy eating there. What I didn’t factor in was that my birthday fell in the middle of Ramadan, and when we walked over there there was a little note saying that they had special hours during the month of fasting; they would be open from dusk until 3 or 4am. It was kind of cool how they adjusted their hours to accommodate the dawn until dusk fast and to provide a place to eat and spend time with one another late at night/early morning after the fast is over.
Anyway, thankfully another of my favorite places, Sengatera, was only another block down the street. So we headed in there and had a really wonderful lunch. I was glad we did because the owners are super nice and it’s always great to see them and they always make us feel welcome. We pretty much occupied the whole place–I think only one table was left that didn’t get assimilated into our group–and they did a great job getting everyone’s food out in a reasonable time and it was really tasty as usual. I would highly recommend both places!
So, after lunch a smaller group of us–my mom, one of my best friends from high school, Phil, and my very good friends from church Holly and Jelani and Sam–headed out to the gorge for a late afternoon hike. I chose the Horsetail Falls to Triple Falls to Oneota Trailhead loop because there were potentially going to be some first time hikers in the group and this is a trip I’ve done many times and I knew it was super scenic and not too crazy challenging. It was really nice, just being outside and enjoying the amazing scenery with good friends and my mom! Anyway, I took a few photos and just got them up on my site a few minutes ago along with a little bit more about the hike. Check out the photos and narrative here: Triple Falls Birthday Hike.
Anyway, after the hike we headed back to town and had dinner at Mississippi Pizza before we parted ways. It was a really great birthday, but the crazy thing I realized was that just about every Sunday is almost equally awesome. Just about every Sunday I get to go to a great church with people I love being around, and then I get to go out to lunch with some of those friends and have delicious and interesting food and excellent conversations, often continuing late into the afternoon over coffee. Then lately I’ve been going over to Holly and Jelani’s place after that to chill, play video games, have dinner, watch some shows or movies or just talk until late in the evening. I was feeling pretty blessed to have such a great day, but even more so to have such a great community of friends and family that the events of my birthday weren’t even that out of the ordinary, except for perhaps how many people showed up for lunch! So, thanks friends and family!