Three days have passed but I still can’t stop thinking about it. It was the best day I’ve had this year so far and I can’t express just how happy I’ve been since then. Seriously though, I think I cried at least 3 times that day … just out of pure happiness.
10.16.13 | My 21st Birthday
My birthday morning started out with my roommates surprising me with my favorite dessert, chocolate molten cake, from Starbucks and a bottle of sparkling apple cider. After wishing me a happy birthday, my roommates directed my attention to another surprise by Hannah – my door decorated with a picture collage and a birthday sign. Although I was half awake, I was already so happy and overwhelmed by the thoughtful and loving birthday gifts given to me by my roommates and Hannah.
As soon as I logged into my Facebook that morning, a shower of “happy birthday” posts greeted me from my friends here in Singapore. Within a few hours - as it got closer to mid-morning and then late evening in the States - my Facebook wall filled up with even more birthday posts from friends back home and at school. I attempted to “like” every post but got lazy along the way so I thought I would take this chance to say THANK YOU to every single one of you who posted on my wall. And as cheesy as this may sound, I appreciate the thought and time every single one of you took to acknowledge my birthday - no matter what level of friendship we have with one another. However, I would like to especially thank those of you who took the extra effort (1) to dig through your albums to make a collage of us and (2) to write and send me a personal message. Reading all of your heartfelt messages and comments brought me both tears and smiles. Although many of you complimented me and described what I meant to you, I believe every single word you paid me is a reflection of the type of person you are – caring, beautiful, loving, genuine, and then some. I am honestly so honored and blessed to have friends like you guys.
I have to give a big shout-out to my friends who sent me flowers from continents away. At first, I was a little caught off guard when I received a call saying that I had flowers waiting for me. Who could it be from? But one look at the message and I knew it was from you guys. Thank you so much for thinking about me and for going through the trouble to send me the sweetest gift on my birthday.
My biggest thanks, however, has to go to my friends here at NUS. Thank you for everything… I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends to share my 21st with. Heck I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends to share my entire study abroad experience with. For those of you who weren’t here… this is how my birthday celebration went down…
From what I knew, my birthday celebration consisted of a small girls’ dinner followed by a night out in the town with the rest of our friends. Much to my (and Goda’s) surprise, the girls’ dinner wasn’t a girls’ dinner after all. When we reached the restaurant, Lucha Loco, Goda and I were surprised by all of our closest girl AND GUY friends. Personally, I was so oblivious to it all that I almost walked right past the 23 people waiting for us at a huge table. When I finally realized what was going on, I couldn’t believe it. Goda and I were greeted with flowers, kisses, hugs, and just so much love. My favorite part: the boys were all dressed up with their little bow ties. I didn’t have much time before the first round of tequila shots came around… and then the second. But don’t worry, I made sure to eat a delicious chicken quesadilla in between shots. The celebration continued with an amazing birthday cheesecake that Belicia made for us. It was so delicious and beautifully decorated…idk how she does it. Thank you Beli! (Note: while chatting at the bar with Bethany and Caroline, I also ended up casually meeting Paul Digiovanni from Boys Like Girls! Hah what are the chances… so random)
Anyways, after dinner, we all prepared to move the party to Club Kyo where our other friends were waiting to join us. However, before leaving, I realized that there was a bit of a problem with the bill. The bill was figured out eventually but I want to recognize that some friends had to put in a lot more than they needed to to cover the bill. Many people didn’t include the cost of service charges and shared drinks/food (shots and extra tacos) that were included in the bill, which led to the significant shortage of money. I really appreciate those of you who put in extra and I hope that I can repay you at some point because that really wasn’t fair. Nonetheless, thanks to these guys… we were able to make our way to Kyo where my roommates and other guests I had invited to the celebration greeted me. Within a few hours, I think everyone and anyone from NUS was there. Whether to congratulate our birthdays or not, it was so fun having so many people be there with us! It was truly an unforgettable and fun night.
Here’s the deep part…
Sometimes we forget how much we have and especially how much we are loved in this world. Whether it is by one person or thousands of people, I think it is important to realize that everyone matters to someone in this world. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget this myself, especially when things get tough and I am left alone… however, its moments like this that I recognize just how lucky and blessed I have been to be where I am and with the people I am with. Its days like this when you are reminded of the impact you have made (and continue to make) in this world and to the people around you. Whether it is winning a Nobel Peace Prize or just being a loyal friend, its not about the level of success or type of action you take… rather it is about understanding that everything and anything you do (of any magnitude) is valuable and influential in defining how others - but especially how you - see you. Over the course of 48 hours, I have not only turned 21 but have found out that the type of person I’ve become in 21 years is pretty decent… Thanks you all for reminding me that.