All of those years of making fun of people over thirty finally came back to bite me in the ass. At the beginning of this month, my odometer hit 30 years old. Eeeek!
One of the great things about being in Australia is that I now have a summer birthday – no more Seattle rain to gray out my big day. Furthermore, I sort of have two birthdays. I was born on February 1st, but if you go down to the minute, the 18-hour time change between Sydney and my birth state of New Mexico meant that my odometer didn’t actually tick over until early afternoon on February 2nd. So I did what any reasonable person would do: I celebrated both days.
Friday night – my American birthday – was spent with my close circle of friends. One by one they braved the pouring rain (so much for a sunny summer birthday) and showed up at my apartment to indulge in two bottles of 10-year old Semillon that I had been saving for a special occasion.
They came bearing inappropriate birthday cards and fantastic gifts of fancy coffee mugs, a credit on my car share membership, a bottle of wine from my favourite winery, lots of American delicacies, and more!
Another bottle or two later, and our little group was off to Food Society, a delicious Modern Eastern European restaurant situated less than two blocks from my apartment.
We had a feast of cheeses, meats, amazingly delicious cauliflower (who knew?), substantial main dishes, and of course, desserts!
Being Eastern European, the restaurant also has an extensive selection of vodkas, and once we spotted the Peanut Butter & Jelly Vodka, we knew we had to do a shot. Or two.
Dear lord it was amazing. I seriously need to find this PB&J vodka in stores.
Then on Saturday – my Australian birthday – I rented out the big back room of a local trendy pizza joint not too far down the road.
Mad Pizza played host to me and 50 of my closest friends in Australia. It’s amazing to me that I’ve been here just a smidge over three years and had 50 people at a party. What’s even more amazing is that I had invited just over 60 people. And even more amazing is that those 60 people were the short list – weeded down from a larger group of people that I’ve become friendly with in this country.
The group included the gays, the Jews, the gay Jews, some co-workers, a handful of Americans, and a cluster of others that I’ve met randomly along the way and have grown quite fond of since arriving down under. Salads and pizzas and drinks and tiramisu and a super cute waiter to look at and a sneaky tequila shot later, the night was over and I went home to slumber in my old age. I said no gifts, but a few cheeky friends refused to show up empty handed. The majority of the gifts involved chocolate in some form or another, and I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that the stash didn’t last too long.
So, what’s on the agenda for 30? Well, now that I’m getting old, I think bread with more fiber is in order, as is shampoo for thinning hair. But on a more positive note, travel will be the big focus this trip around the sun. I plan to cross at least 7 items off my list of 103 things. As birthday gifts to myself, I booked flights up to Cairns – home of the Great Barrier Reef – for a week with my sister when she comes out to visit, and a bigger, longer, and more expensive flight to Helsinki toward the end of the year. I’ve always had a fascination with Scandinavia, and I couldn’t be more stoked to be spending a few days in Finland. After a stop in Estonia, I’ll be heading to Russia to meet up with my high school friend Lenora. We’ll ride the Trans-Siberian Railway across from St Petersburg to Moscow and on to Irkutsk before turning south for a few days in Mongolia. And, just for good measure, I think I’ll book in an extra-long layover in Seoul for the way back. Long weekend trips to Canberra, Brisbane, and maybe even Singapore are in the works, and I’ve had my eye on New Zealand for some time now too.
Aside from my extensive travel, thirty will hopefully be filled with more friends, more fun, and probably more pizza. A lottery win wouldn't hurt either (all this travel is breaking the bank!) And maybe a little bit of dirty too.
But only because it rhymes. I like rhymes.