After reading Sarah Jane's post on birthdays past, I've been thinking about my previous birthday celebrations. While I was lucky enough to have two birthday parties (one with Dad, one with Mom) for most of my childhood, my birthday experiences pretty much go downhill from there.
One year, I planned a day trip to San Francisco that my friends forgot about. After we rescheduled I ended up the fifth wheel, a bit left out from the group, and we ended up shopping at the mall rather than going to the Haite District and having dinner on the pier like I'd wanted.
Another year I decided to go to the beach. I couldn't convince any friends to go last minute, so my (now ex) boyfriend's friends were my crew for the day. While I had fun watching them play football on the sand and run into the freezing water, we had to leave early because one of the guys had brought his love interest--get this--who had gotten her wisdom teeth removed the day before (!!!) and she was tired (duh). Said person also requested no rock (my music of choice) on the two hour car ride (IN MY CAR ON MY BIRTHDAY). On top of that, my contact scratched my eye AND I got sick from the pre-mixed margaritas I drank at the beach and the blooming onion I decided to eat for dinner at Applebee's.
But not all of my birthdays were that bad. Most were just dull. Theater rehearsal, studying for a test, birthday cake after dinner. I think my family did try to make it fun, but I guess I hyped up the day a bit too much to enjoy something ordinary.
A couple of birthdays stand out as being pretty good. For my 18th birthday, I had just moved into the dorms at UC Santa Barbara, and I worried that I'd have no one to celebrate with. Thankfully, my amazing roommate Roya paid attention. She surprised me with some earrings I'd pointed out a few days before, which was really sweet. I went with her and her friend Derek to get my nose pierced in Isla Vista, and we went back to our room and fell asleep watching a movie.
My 21st birthday was simple but nice, too. I was doing an international exchange in Oxford and yet again was surrounded by people I had just started getting to know. More than anything, I really didn't want to have to plan anything, especially since my plan to go punting was ruined by the weather. My new friends planned a dinner in the city centre and then brought me back to our flat for a surprise apple crumble. While it was hardly how most Twenty-First Birthdays go, I still had a nice time and was touched at the thought the girls put into it.
This year, I've already had some birthday celebration, since my family wanted to do something before I crossed the pond. My mom, Doug, Sissa and I went for pizza at Steve's and then saw the original Parent Trap at the Screen on the Green (a free movie in the park) down the street from our house. I opened some nice gifts, and my sister made me red velvet cake with rainbow chip frosting (mmm!).
The actual day of my birth, though, is this coming Tuesday. I tell people that I'm used to having not-so-great birthdays, but the truth is that every year I still look forward to the day expectantly. There's something exciting about having a whole 24 hours that count as "my day." I think that I won't be disappointed this year. Just the fact that Jonty has put a bit of thought into some plans makes me feel good. He has a restaurant in Oxford chosen for dinner (but hasn't told me which one--yay for surprises!)... and he also mentioned breakfast in bed (my fingers are crossed!). But as far as the rest of the day goes, I haven't decided what I want to do.
* a lazy day watching House/LOST/X-Files
* a trip into London (perhaps including London Eye, British Museum, National Gallery and/or afternoon cream tea?)
* reading and a picnic (weather pending)
* wandering, shopping and cocktails before dinner Oxford
I feel like the perfect idea is right at the edge of my brain, but I just can't locate it. If I was at home, I would throw a creative party like this one!