Here at Southgate Coins, everyone knows there is a celebration in store for you when it’s your birthday, but the fine details are always a surprise! Today we celebrated Akimi’s 26th birthday, and the best part about it was seeing the excitement on her face when she admired all the decorations and heard all of us wish her a “Happy Birthday!” Thanks to a little help from the birthday girl, all of us can now even wish someone a “Happy Birthday” in Japanese as well as English (and French, too, if you’re Elaine).
Read on to find out how Akimi’s birthday progressed.
I (Rebecca) participated in decorating the store for a birthday celebration for the first time Monday night, as Maya, Nicole, and I plastered the back with fun birthday signs and banners. A “Happy Birthday, Akimi!!!” sign was the first thing the birthday girl saw when she walked in this morning. Thanks to Nicole’s talented handiwork and artistic ability, Akimi had a unique “Happy Birthday” sign in two languages! (Nicole was able to write the Japanese characters for Happy Birthday under the English version: 誕生日おめでとう pronounced “taan-jo-bee oh-meh-deh-tow.”) We also hung up a huge, festive, birthday banner, and strategically placed various little birthday signs and colorful garland all around the desk and computer where Akimi would be working. The finishing touch to the decorations was a beautiful, potted arrangement of vibrant, pink hydrangeas with a heart-shaped “Happy Birthday” balloon, all waiting for Akimi when she arrived at work.
Akimi and the rest of the Southgate crew were pleasantly surprised when they heard the lovely voice of a special Southgate client singing “Happy Birthday” to Akimi over the phone that morning, as well. He knows we always appreciate it, too.
Here’s Maya to tell you how the party went down:
Thanks, Rebecca. On to presents!
Since Akimi was hired in June, the other girls and I (Maya) have gotten to know her much better. We figured out her favorite color is pink, that she loves makeup, accessories, and good-smelling things, and of course, that she’s very close to her Japanese culture.
As with every birthday, there is an art to distracting the birthday girl long enough to prepare the party. I coordinated with Rebecca to make sure she could cover phone calls and walk-in customers, while I set up a “training session” with Akimi. What actually went on during the training session was Rebecca helped sneak Nicole and Elaine into the break room. With them in place, Rusty blasted the Japanese-language Happy Birthday music over the loudspeakers, and the party began.
We wanted to touch on all of these aspects of her life with our presents. Akimi received a gift basket, complete with nice soaps, fragrant lotions, a yummy box of scones and jam, good-tasting tea, and a ceramic Thanksgiving-themed pilgrim-turkey. She received a special, Estee Lauder face cream gift set that we sneakily found out she loves, along with a brightly-colored makeup bag we thought she’d like. We also got her four glass, cherry blossom coasters for her home. Akimi was delighted with the gifts and the flowers, but she has also attended enough birthdays to know that the best stuff was yet to come—the food!
No birthday is complete at Southgate Coins without the traditional birthday cake. For Akimi, we made sure to order one of her favorite cake flavors: pumpkin spice, with a rich, cream cheese icing. A perfect accent to an autumn birthday. Of course, the bundt cake couldn’t be complete without some Happy Birthday flags, and a pink, silk flower in the center.
These first months of fall have been a busy time for us at Southgate—first Rebecca’s birthday, then Marie’s, then Halloween dress-up day, and now Akimi’s birthday. With so much going on, we try that much harder to make each celebration unique and special for each individual.
We hope you had a wonderful 26th birthday, Akimi!
-Rebecca and Maya