It was a little strange not being at home on my birthday, to wake up to cards and presents from my family. I kind of missed planning a party or get-together with my birthday buddies Leora and Sarah. But, the day was filled with plenty of fun, new birthday experiences that I wouldn’t have had in Melbourne.
I sort of had two birthdays this year. Birthday messages started coming in on Thursday afternoon, seeing as by 1pm it was already my birthday at home. On Friday morning I woke up to many more Facebook messages and texts, and I spoke with my family on Skype. I even got a couple of cards in the mail. Although I’m on the other side of the world, I felt very loved by all my friends and family back home!
Friends at my residence also remembered my birthday, which was nice. Being a Friday, I had class. Fortunately it was just one lecture in my favourite subject. After that, I met up with Bev, and we went to the Wallace Collection. Bev and I have created a whole list of things we have to do while I’m in London – this was one of them. It’s a beautiful collection of paintings, artefacts, furniture and so forth set in a historic London town house. In the middle there is a nice (indoor) courtyard cafe where we ate.
A pleasant afternoon was followed by an exciting night. My wonderful London group of friends had been planning a surprise for me. All I knew was we were going out for dinner somewhere. I was given a tube stop and a time to meet my friends. When they arrived, they proceeded to blindfold me, and lead me along the streets of South Kensington.
Eventually we got ot of the cold, and they took my blindfold off to reveal the coolest little restaurant ever! It was called ‘Buona Sera at the Jam’ – an Italian restaurant. It was the design of the place that was really unique and quirky. The tables were cute wooden booths, but there were two levels. Patrons with an upper level table (not us) had to climb a ladder to get to their seats. I felt kind of sorry for the waiters who had to climb the ladders to deliver food and drinks; but I guess they’re used to it. The atmosphere was great, the food was delicious, and the company was fun as always (there were 8 of us). After dinner they sent me out a small cake with a candle, and most of the restaurant got into the singing of ‘happy birthday.’
We didn’t order dessert, because the girls had something else in store for me… Ben’s Cookies! Ben’s Cookies is a chain that I’ve fallen in love with since coming here. They bake the most delicious cookies I’ve ever had in my life, seriously. There’s one close to uni, so sometimes if I’ve got a break I treat myself. It’s a good thing there aren’t too many around; I don’t know if I’d have the will power to resist.
After dinner, we went to a nice pub for a drink (which I could barely fit in because I was so full), before half of us continued on to a nightclub reccommended by a local. Emily’s older sister, who was visiting from the US (and is extremely cool!) managed to get our group in for free. It was probably the best nightclub I’ve been to since having been in London. That, combined with the fact that my friends kept buying me birthday drinks, made for a really fun night!
It’s a little scary not being a teenager anymore, but my dad says 20 is the best age. You’re not yet tied down by too many responsibilities. Rather, you’re independent and the world is open to you. For these six months, that couldn’t be more true.
It was sort of sad when my birthday was over, because it meant the end of an amazing week (Paris and my birthday). It meant getting back to reality and doing some uni work. Aside from pizza on Sunday night with my Monash buddy Jess, I spent most of the weekend catching up on the work I hadn’t done during the week. Today I handed in my first essay, which was sort of exciting. But I’m sure that will lose it’s novelty very quickly – there are plenty more to come.
In other news, I’m a bit sick at the moment. I’ve learnt that living in such close quaters means that if one person gets sick, it quickly spreads. Pretty much everyone on my floor has been sick over the past couple of weeks. I was kind of surprised it took me this long to catch it.
Oh well, laying low will give me an opportunity to get through the massive amount of reading I have to do…
Until next time.