I turn 24 today. I’ve never really celebrated my birthday much. In high school, my birthday fell in the middle of AP exams, SAT studying, or final exam studying. In college, the school year ended before my birthday, so I never had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday with them. Every year around my birthday my mom always bring up her hardship in giving birth to me, and how my birthday isn’t really a celebration of me, but a celebration of her. Hard to feel good about my own birthday after hearing something like that for the 20th time.
Thinking back the last 12 years or so, my only memorable birthday was the spring of 2008, when I was studying abroad in Shanghai. My closest friends and I went to the Black Café, a themed restaurant where you ate in pitch-black darkness, served by blind waiters. Without sight, many of us resorted to eating with our hands. Also, I tricked my friend Chen into taking off his pants. My other friend, Emily, took her bra off and passed it around the table. My friends “surprised” me with a Cold Stone ice cream cake. I put “surprise” in quotation marks because I found it earlier in the fridge, and I heard them playing with the dry ice a few days ago.
So here I am, three years later, and three years older. No longer am I in my early 20s, I am now in my mid 20s. I’m the same age as when my mother gave birth to me. Weird, isn’t it? Interestingly enough, this particular birthday is special. Why? Because it’s “my” year. Yes, the year of the rabbit. I am kinda hoping at the exact time of my birth I will be struck with incredible fortune.
I’m having my birthday party in a few weeks, since my site-mate Amanda’s birthday party is next week, but I’m spending my actual birthday alone. Amanda is off in Goycay, and JM is in Baku celebrating her friend Allison’s birthday party. Even though I could’ve invited some friends from the neighboring regions, I’m in a particularly contemplative mood. I finally swept and mopped my floors, and I’m slowly decorating my walls with photos of friends and family, as well as cut-outs from my favorite magazines. As I look at photos from home, I am a bit overwhelmed with my life right now. It’s not being in very bad time machine. Time stops for me, but everybody’s lives are going on without me. My dads found a new job, my sister will be graduating college next year, and some of my best friends are traveling in China or Europe.
When I go back to the states, my friends and family will be in such a different place than when I left them; however, I will be starting my life fresh. I don’t know where I’m going with all this, but it’s definitely given me a lot to think about.