Just ten days after arriving in Kenya, our Ella celebrated her eighth birthday. She had been talking for the entire year before about having her birthday here, so we were incredibly happy that it happened! We marked the occasion with a little party on our porch. She invited three other girls whose parents also work at the hospital. They began by indulging in the first batch of cupcakes I’ve made since arriving in country. Just after that, I handed my phone over to the birthday girl who chose a mix of Taylor Swift and the Trolls soundtrack for a very exuberant dance party. I stood in the kitchen doorway, playing the part of a fly on the wall, and laughed over their shrieks and girly outbursts. My Ella really is her own spunky, energetic, witty, super theatrical girl! Once the girls slowed down a bit after their first round of dancing, they sat on the floor and let me paint their nails. Then I was back on the sidelines. It amazes me that we’ve reached this point. Ella wants to do everything on her own, with her friends, often without me. Eight years old. What a year this is going to be!