November 14 – Rachel’s birthday fell on a Wednesday this year, so after school we went to the mall to go bowling at her request. Later that evening, we went to a big party downtown complete with cake and face painting to celebrate the launch of our friend’s children’s book (http://www.thedragonking.com). There, everybody sang Rachel Happy Birthday. On Friday, Rachel’s best friend, who lives across the street, came over with her parents for birthday cake. The next day, we all went with Maria Amelia and her mom to Planetazul, a water park near Gualaceo about 40 minutes away. It reminded us of Splash Country, just a bit smaller, and we were surprised to have the place almost to ourselves. There are slides of all shapes and sizes, tobogganing, a lazy river, pirate ships with mermaids spewing water, water mushrooms…even a poolside bar for adults! We had a fun day – since her November birthday is hardly ever conducive to an outdoor pool party in North Carolina, it was a particularly southern hemispheric way to usher in Rachel’s 11th year!