Thirty Isn't So Ancient After All

April 10, 2018 by

Remember being super-excited for your birthday when you were a kid – but not so much now? Here’s Eva Hormann’s next letter to her pen pal Kiera, who is in elementary school. In it, she tells why her thirtieth birthday was her best birthday ever. Eva and her husband, Hans-Peter, live at Beech Grove, a Bruderhof in England.

Dear Kiera,

You asked me to tell you about my best birthday ever. It’s a day, years ago, that I’ll never ever forget! When I woke up the morning before my best birthday, I was a bit sad. You see, I had always wished to get married and have a family but here I was, still single. And the very next day I was going to turn thirty. Thirty is ancient, I thought; nothing to celebrate really.

Never mind, I told myself, I have lots to do. Besides my regular work, I needed to attach strings to dozens of decorated eggs. Easter was just three weeks away. After lunch a few of my friends – Nancy, Sharon, and Hans-Peter – helped me with this project. It was fun! When we were finished, Hans-Peter took the eggs outside to spray them with a fixative so the colors wouldn’t smudge.

As I left the building I saw that Hans-Peter had just finished spraying the eggs. He called me over. “Eva, would you like to go on a walk with me this afternoon?” I couldn’t believe it. He said he wanted to go just with – me! I ran back inside for a moment. Did you know that people sometimes cry when they are surprised-and-happy all mixed together? I did.

The author and her husband

When I came out again, Hans-Peter was waiting for me, and I was ready to go. Spring sun. Our first walk together (eight miles, but it didn’t seem that long). In my heart I knew that my life had changed. I can’t explain it, except to tell you that suddenly I didn’t care at all that I’d be turning thirty the very next day.

Of course, Hans-Peter and I knew each other before that. Guess where we first met – at a dish sink! While we washed a pile of dirty dishes, I practiced my basic German on him. I think Hans-Peter was relieved to be able to speak German with me because his English was pretty terrible back then. You see, he grew up in Germany. When he was twenty-one he travelled to England to visit the Darvell Bruderhof. About a year later he came to stay. When we first met at that dish sink I was twenty-six and it never crossed my mind that this skinny guy with wild red hair would change my life a few years later – one day before I turned thirty!

Imagine the happiest you’ve ever been. This was my very best birthday! Hans-Peter came over to celebrate with me at my parents’ home. I still have that birthday card he wrote. You might think: well, that was just a card – what about the presents? (The ring I told you about came later.) For me, having him celebrate my Big Thirty with me – that was the best birthday present ever!

Wishing you a happy day with lots of fun learning about people, places, and all sorts of things!

Your pen pal,


Eva lives with her husband, Hans-Peter, at Beech Grove, a Bruderhof in England. Comments

About the author

Eva Hormann portrait

Eva Hormann

Eva and her husband, Hans-Peter, live at Beech Grove, a Bruderhof in England.

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