Instead, within three minutes of 5pm on Sunday, all of my neighbors showed up, carrying Läckerli, cards and various other gifts. My 88-year-old neighbor from across the hallway brought orchids! Even the teenagers from the 2nd floor came and helped act as interpreters. I was astonished how comfortable and noisy my neighbors got within a few minutes. I offered them home-made mushroom stew which they all ate with gusto. I offered them Czech liquor and I could not keep up with the shot glass refills – that’s how fast they were drinking it. They were also joking about how the party went on until the morning but they all said like one: “one day a year, on your birthday, you should be able to do whatever you want!” They all stayed for about 2 hours. There was a lot of laughter, a lot of drinking and a lot good neighborly banter, and everyone left happy.
About Martin Zalesak
Martin, who grew up in the Czech Republic, moved to Basel for work at Novartis in August 2013 after spending the previous 17 years on the US East Coast, most recently Boston. Originally a physician scientist, he now works on strategic projects in the Novartis Pharmaceuticals division.