"Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me.." oh, wait. On second thought, I shouldn't sing this to myself. That's ridiculous! I guess I should be prepared to be sung to in Korean when I return to work on Tuesday, though...
In any event, I'm 27 everybody (I went blog-hopping and found this pretty funny website on a 27 year old guy who, typically, went partying for his birthday 3 years ago: check out the link!) So, around noon-30 my mother tells me, I was taken out of the womb...and it never ceases to amaze me how time really does fly. Literally.
I mean, I look in the mirror and I'm astounded at the grey hair that streaks my once naturally-golden highlights. The all-nighters I used to frequent in college or the more recent, 'I-partied-at-the-Nor-Rae-Bong last night' under-eye circles--can now be plainly seen upon my face unless I pull at least a 6 or 8 hour sleep session. Now I'm full of nostalgia, thinking of birthdays' past.. so what did I do the last couple of years on my birthday? I realize that I've spent nearly EVERY birthday over the course of the last 5 years in a different location. Where exactly...?
Perhaps a little time travel will do the trick:
Location: Alexandria, Louisiana.
Setting: Then-boyfriend Juan and I were living with my folks, and I had just graduated LSU a few months prior, thereafter spending 3 months traveling Europe before moving from Baton Rouge to Alexandria, Louisiana for work.
What happened: I worked at Books-A-Million on my special day, coming home to a little birthday party put together by Juan and my step-mother, Debbie. Sunflower cake, bouquet of flowers that Juan had picked outside, and a mixture of good smelling bath and lotion assortment that Debbie bought me. I remember I was angry that evening, for some reason, but the night was cut short, we all went to bed--I however feeling upset about everyone's lack of enthusiasm to go out to my parent's bar to party. Hmm.. strange day, indeed.
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Setting: I had a cute little apartment, right on the outskirts of the LSU campus. My buddy Johnny just moved back from spending a year in Belgium, and had moved in with me one month prior. I had spent August in the Dominican Republic, visiting Juan to try and rescue our relationship--as he had gone home the prior December because his father was sick with cancer. My mother was visiting me for the 2nd time since I moved down to Louisiana for school.
What happened: My mother and I spent the day hanging out, eating a good meal, drinking wine, partying it up--Lousiana style. It was a great adventure, though I remember very few details. I remember a new laptop, too, that Roger had sent my mother to exchange for my old one. I think it's about time I pop in that old CD of photos and check out what we did--primarily because I think we drank so much wine, I've forgotten what we did!
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Ok, so not so geographically different...)
Setting: Just moved into my cute little apartment. Juan had just moved out to his own apartment--we were having troubles, plus my mother wanted me all to herself--since she was visiting me, and hadn't seen me in over a year (since I had left to go down to LA for school).
What happened: My folks, Dad and Debbie, came down from Alexandria; Juan and my mother were there also, and we all went out to eat and play putt-putt golf. It was a blast, I remember that. Not only that, but to see my parents--who are both divorced and remarried--together again. I think we ALL had a little too much fun (major details omitted for privacy's sake!)
Location: Bremerton, Washington.
Setting: It was 2001, and I had just come back from spending an entire year living and working as an au pair (nanny) in Miex, Switzerland. Living with my folks, and actually en-route to drive my Mercedes down to Lousiana to finish up college.
What happened: Of course, since I was living with my folks again, my mother woke me up with singing, if I remember correctly. I had an awesome lunch with my Mom and step-Dad, Roger (Roger's always been an excellent cook!) and then.. well, I guess it's time to bust out those photos again. I haven't a clue what else I did! Oh, wait.. memory serves me well: I went out on the evening of my birthday with my ex-fiancé, Jack. Yes, and we ate dinner at Azteca (which used to be our favorite, come to think of it..) and watched some live music afterward. Then, well, nothing extraordinary. Maybe there was a kiss shared somewhere in there for old time's sake!
Location: Miex, Switzerland.
Setting: I was living and working as an au pair for the Peiry family in Switzerland, taking care of 2 very cute French-speaking girls. Traveled a bit, took French classes, enjoyed a romance with a Swiss guy. Basically, taking a year off of school--or, more appropriately, a gap-year to
What happened: My mother was visiting me from the states, and the entire Peiry family prepared a great meal, with 2 rich, Swiss-style cakes, and a few presents (which I still have today!) It was definitely a memorable birthday!
Location: My hometown, Bremerton--mostly in Seattle, WA., though.
Setting: I was living with my then-fiancé, Jack; he had his music, and I had my studies, but somehow, we'd find ourselves splitting up 8 months later, and myself--off to explore Western Europe, aka Switzerland.
What happened: I won't ever forget my 21st birthday. Why? Jack took me to Seattle: we stayed at a beautiful hotel, ate a wonderful dinner (at a French restaurant), and later, went out to something like 5 different bars, drinking along the way. The last bar, I remember, a big, black woman who sang a few blues numbers, sand a song to me and wished me a happy birthday. It was awesome! Ah, nostalgia...
Location: Still, my hometown, Bremerton, WA.
Setting: Just 2 years out of highschool, I was going to Olympic College (Junior College), full-time, working part-time at a juice bar in my local mall, living with 3 roommate (one party-animal, one highschool friend who was about to do something stupid and get married) and I.. just met Jack and wanted to high-tail it outta there!
What happened: My 20th was oh-so-memorable. A clan of friends, including my female roommate, best-friend Devon, and a few others, played a joke on Devon's boyfriend. We borrowed a friends' van, acted like CIA agents, toilet papered his house, and went on a laughing spree, raiding Wal-Mart and watching "A Werewolf in Paris" in the guy's decked-out van. That was the evening. The daytime, I'm sure we had a party at my folks' house (dinner, that is), and a few other surprises. The day was nevertheless, memorable!
There we go, lots and lots of nostalgia. It does seem odd, however, that I'm in Korea celebrating my 27th: I never imagined that I would be here, actually, celebrating in the most far-removed foreign country I could ever imagine visiting: People are speaking this funky language, men are spitting leisurely in the street, old women gossiping on the corner about whatever, strange and spicy foods SO unlike home...and myself--a Hakwon teacher, playing it cool, trying to learn a thing or two about this delicately-balanced country. hmmph. I kind of like it here, though. And I'm sure to remember this 27th birthday.
Today's/Tonight's plan: Head over to Keong Ju to visit historical sites with buddy, Seungbo; eat a fantistic meal and discuss the years' past; topping the evening off with a few drinks, maybe the Nor-Rae-Bong (singing Karyoke hall) and maybe go dancing downtown; last, and if I can find one, an itty-bitty-cake to demolish, all by myself!