Sunday, June 14, 2009

38 Hours Of Birthday

I've been known to have extended birthday celebrations, usually spread out over a few days, with family parties, friend parties, etc. etc. This year, my birthday seemed to last even longer. I got to celebrate my birthday on the 26th in Australia and the states, and spread it out throughout the week too. On Monday, May 25th, I got to see State of Play (with Ben Affleck, Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams) for free for work. I really liked the film and was on the edge of my (very comfortable) seat the entire time. Definitely would recommend it. Tuesday was my official birthday here and I had to work. But my coworkers surprised my with a chocolate cake in the afternoon. I was so surprised when they came out singing with the cake and candles that I almost started singing too! I really have enjoyed my time there and really like all of them. After work, I just headed home, part of me wanting to go swing dancing, the other part of me just wanting to take it easy. I opted for option number 2, but my relaxation was interrupted by my flatmates Zoe and Brayne (not idea how to spell her name... or really how to pronounce it either...) insisting that I come see what they were doing. Turns out, they had randomly decided to buy ingredients to fry Mars Bars and were beyond excited. After 4 attempts, they eventually started to come out as something close to edible, and when we ran out of Mars Bars, we fried pears, manadarin orange slices and pieces of chocolate (which turned out to be bitter and awful) with peanut butter on top. Can't say they were the healthiest or tastiest creations, but it was a lot of fun and I was happy to be hanging out with them for an unconventional 21st birthday night. After work on Wednesday, I finally got around to taking a swing dancing lesson. It was hosted by Sydney's "Swing Patrol" and took place on the second floor of the Essen restaurant on Broadway, pretty close to my house. I decided to go for the Intermediate level, which ultimately was probably a mistake, as I was mostly thrown around the dance floor as I struggled to get back on beat. Nevertheless, I was not the worst one there, which is always a good feeling, and it was fun to be dancing again. I definitely want to try to go next semester at Vassar; they have lessons every Wednesday night. Unfortunately, that's also when LAS is, but I'll work it out somehow. On Thursday, I had planned to meet up with the girls from my homestay for a combined birthday dinner for myself and Hiroko, the Japanese student. We met at the Roof Bar, where all of the international students go on Thursdays. I waited for a while before Hiroko and her Korean friend showed up, and then chatted with them for a while. We ran into Mayana, the Brazilian girl who moved into my homestay a few days before I left, and also one of the Colombian boys I had met briefly at the Mardi Gras parade a while ago. The Korean girl and I spent a while talking to Calude, who was from France but looked Asian. He had been here for 8 months and was about to go home. I really love spending time talking to people from all over the world. Meeting the international students really added an interesting dimension to my experience here. When it started raining and our stomachs started rumbling, we (being me, Hiroko, the Korean girl, 2 Japanese girls and a Japanese guy) decided to head out and try to find somewhere to eat. We decided upon a Korean restaurant off of Pitt St. that they had all eaten at already with their class. I was a little nervous about trying Korean food because they kept saying that it was very spicy, but I ended up loving it. It is kind of like Chinese food, but without the bloated, sick feeling you usually get after eating it. We got many dishes to share and I liked each of them (but of course can't really remember what they were... one that tasted like General Tso's chicken, one that looked like a pizza but was made of egg and... not sure what else... one thing that I'm pretty sure was sardines, but didn't realize until after I ate two (when I asked my friends what it was, they said a small fish, so that's just my guess - the language barrier can be tricky sometimes). The funniest part of the meal was when I went to go grab a spoonful of the first dish and Hiroko said, "Oh, Amy, that might be easier with chopsticks," and I just laughed and said, "Easier for you, not me!" I am dreadful with chopsticks, but am gradually getting better.

Overall, it was a really fun night filled with new friends and great food. I was glad because it also served as a distraction. By the time I got home, I was only 9 hours until my favorite present arrived - Alex on a plane :-). More on my vacation with him in the next post! While my 21st birthday may not have been conventional, it sure was one to remember.

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