On July 7th 2014, I turned 21 in Canada.
At 12:00am I took a birthday shot of vodka with my new friend Brigit and her boyfriend Erik whilst listening to their friends sing Sweet Caroline on karaoke. We had known each other for roughly eight hours so I can officially say that I began my twenty-first year with a group of strangers in a foreign country. And it was a blast. It felt like we had been friends for years and everyone was super enthusiastic about my birthday; buying shots and giving me birthday kisses.
Once the partying ended, I slept at mine until the sun rose again and the birthday celebrations resumed. My Mum skyped and we planned my ‘home birthday’ and talked for a while. Then I dolled up in a pretty pink dress and met Caroline for birthday fro-yo at Menchies followed by deep discussions at Major Hill’s Park. We met Ellen for delicious pizza dinner and I officially introduced Caroline and Ellen (despite them being in the same journalism course for the past two years). We had a lovely time and once they both left to get an early night, I text Jack to see if he was free.
Jack and I drank cocktails at The Fox and the Feather Pub until Michelle arrived. Jack and Michelle had also never met before and it was strange watching another two of my friendship-worlds colliding. They bonded over cooking tips and teasing me, endlessly. Somehow we began talking to our table neighbours; one guy who had just returned from shooting a documentary in Sri Lanka and another guy who was working on a short feminist film. Both of whom were entirely fascinating until they began name-dropping then we decided to skedaddle.
Michelle bought me a rose and invited Jack back to her place for Caesars on the porch. I hopped on the back of Michelle’s bike – with the fresh cut rose between my teeth – and we laughed as the bike wobbled all the way to my bike in the Market. Then, like three awesome musketeers, we all cycled to Hull and sat under the stars with Lacey’s cat, Caesar, and Michelle’s dog, Julius, and drank cocktails until the early hours.
My 21st birthday was pretty magical and I loved spending it with my favourite Canadians. Of course, I miss celebrating my birthday at home but my Mum and I are simply postponing celebrations for a month (because we can totally do that). Thank you, everyone, for an awesome birthday!