After having spent a wonderful vacation at home in Sri Lanka, it was time for us to return back to the duty station. I booked the tickets on 7th Jan 2023, hoping to resume work from 9th Jan 2023 onwards. But, God had other plans. Unfortunately everyone at home were down with flu and heavy symptoms; hence we had to postpone our trip. The next available fight to the duty station was on the 18th, which was on my birthday. No one in the family was pleased that I booked the ticket on my birthday. Birthdays are usually very special days in my family. We follow certain rituals, such as going to church, cook special breakfast & lunch on birthdays, wear new dress, and make sweets to celebrate the day. In the evening the entire family will come, and we cut the cake infront of everyone. They share special gifts, and we make memories. The party continues till mid night with family dinner at a restaurant, with lots of pictures for FB and IG. Being on a flight, that too for the whole day across different continents won't make the day any special, rather very tiring and restless. Since we are frequent flyers, no one is impressed with the idea of flying on a special day. I had no choice, but to go with the flow. Given the sky rocketing ticket prices, I don't want to spend few more lakhs just to drag the trip to one or two more days. Ours is a family of 5, and it is already very expensive to transport all of them once in every 6 months. So, I stick to the plan. The big day came. Woke up at 2am to be able to catch the flight at 6 am. Wore the new dress and new accessories, received the blessing from mom, husband, kids and my brother's family who came to our home early in the morning just to wish me on my birthday and to send us off. Nothing was new at the airport, as we were stressed being late with sleepy kids and slow mom. I slept right after boarding along with all my family members. By then, everyone has forgotten the fact that it was my birthday. 2 hrs into the flight, one airhostess woke me up with a surprise birthday cake, singing happy birthday on air. It was an unforgettable birthday treat in the sky above 30000 miles! Thanks to my husband who informed the crew secretly upon check-in to create this momentum. We had around 4 hrs transit time in Dubai, but the airport wasn't too busy this time. We got some times to rest & relax in the lounge, where my kids throw me another surprise. They sung, and showered me with sweets. The co passengers who were sitting beside me also joined in the birthday celebration. The second leg of the journey was quite peaceful. I watched 2 movies in the plane, and took a lot of reels for IG with my DD along the way. We safely landed and reached home around 8pm. It was freaking cold outside and everyone wanted was a good night sleep after a very long & tiring journey. Thanks to my maid, she prepared the home very presentable. For me, a clean & tidy house to return was the best ever birthday gift. At night, my mom decided to cook something special for my birthday. At the age of 74, she made the effort to cook rice, chicken and some veggies for dinner with the help of the maid (who doesn't know our taste by the way). A hot homely meal after 24 hrs of junk food was indeed a treat. In fact, after the flu our taste buds were dead, and we did not enjoy a good meal for a while. That night, we thoroughly enjoyed the dinner and ended the day with good spirit. At last, I kneeled down and thanked to God for making my day very special and memorable. For the first time in life, I celebrated my birthday in 3 different countries, yet with my loved ones. I did not miss anything on this birthday, though I chose to travel on this day against everyone's wish. We reached home, saved a couple of Lkhs on flight, and enjoyed a special journey. Always trust your gut feeling. I trusted mine and went with the flow. The rest was a happy memory.