“The words “I can’t” are best used sparingly” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Helga Lorch by © Cyndal Lorch

“I would like to introduce you to my grandmother, who we lovingly refer to as Omi. I got to spend time with her in September while I was back in my hometown to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday. My Omi is adventurous and outgoing like I am (which is probably where I get it from). She had just come back from a trip to Spain, and I from Iceland, so we were able to swap some of our adventure stories before I whisked her away from the family to take her photo. As a natural in front of the camera, it didn’t take us long to get this shot. Thank you Omi, not only do I have a great photo for The Birthday Book Project, but many awesome memories to go with it.” – Cyndal L

Image by © Cyndal Lorch

An Interview with Helga

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. My best memory from my past birthday was: When my children surprised me with a treadmill to get me on my feet again (fibromialga). And later on a clown came with balloons and sang “Happy Birthday”.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. When I was 12 years old, in 1945 we were refugees on the run. My mom gave me an amber necklace and said: “That’s from dad, he wanted me to give it to you”. Only we did not know if he was still alive, as he was a soldier on the front lines (Russia). I was sad. I still have that necklace.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. The treadmill (happy surprise). Necklace (a sad time).

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?

A. Blackforest cake, or Buttercream Torte. 😉

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. To celebrate with a loving family. Reflect back (on only the good). Enjoy each day “as it is”, and look forward to each exciting new day.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. Birthday is suppose to be celebrated on the exact day, not before, or it might bring bad luck in the coming year! :( Second: with all the other candles on the birthday cake, there has to be an extra (preferable bigger) candle in the centre of the cake, for “Good Luck in the coming year”. Long life, good health, love and prosperity. 😉