My first birthday away from home

Last Wednesday was my 26th anniversary of the day I was born. Every birthday I have had from my first to my 25th have been spent with my beloved parents, my extended family and my best friends. In recent years I have enjoyed going out for dinner at a resteraunt in town with my friends and family. This year was different.
15,750km from my home in Australia, I awoke in Georgetown, Guyana in my little bed on the top bunk in my little cabin with 3 other guys. I had missed the opportunity to go out to dinner with a group the night before since I was not feeling well, but thankfully on this day I was feeling almost completely better. I made my way to my office where I received a call from the bridge. My parents called and were on the line. I rushed up to the bridge to take the call. Over the great distance and the bad connection there was a long delay. “Hi Dad” I said. After an eternity of seconds. “Hi Chris, Happy Birthday” came back from my Dad. It was so wonderful to hear his voice. I spoke with Mum and Dad for some time and was really encouraged.
Next, one of my team called me and asked me to come to the office to fix a problem. I was quite happy to respond to such a call. When I arrived and sat down the rest of the team burst in with cake, singing Happy Birthday to me. It was so special to have them do this for me. We ate some cake and moved on.
When I returned to my room I found stuck to my door a collection of birthday cards from people on the ship, including my wonderful AV team who made me a long card with lots of in-jokes. There were also little chocolates taped to the door. I found the birthday card my parents sent that I had stashed for today.
At lunch time I sat at a table with a group of people who are my ship family. We are assigned a couple as parents and other singles as brothers and sisters and learn to love and support each other. They had set the table for me and were there to wish me happy birthday and eat lunch with me. After the meal – which was small because I was still not feeling great – there was cake for all and a hand-made birthday card signed by the whole family. I felt so blessed.
When I checked the Internet I had received countless Facebook messages from all my friends at home.
At dinner time a friend got the whole dining room to sing happy birthday to me.
After dinner Philipp (who I’ve known since 2008) and I watched Bruce Almighty together, which was hillarious.
Since then I have received a great influx of birthday cards and letters from friends and family via airmail.
Thankyou so much to everyone who made my first birthday away from home so wonderful.