I’ve been 21 for 18 days already and I’m only now getting the chance to post about my celebrations. I’ll start off by saying I honestly can’t remember the last good birthday I’ve had. I think it was probably when I turned 13. Every birthday since then has been marred by something. Although this birthday was no exception- it was seriously marred in ways- it ended up being really, truly, perfect and so memorable.
My friend Barbara was going to be out of town on my birthday so she and Maire took me out to dinner a few nights before the 16th. It ended up being one of the absolute best evenings I’ve spent in my entire time here! They let me choose the restaurant, so I picked a place that I’d walked by a hundred times and was always curious about. The vibe of the restaurant was like a cross between the library in an old mansion and a bar. It was really vraiment branché. We had a funny flustered waiter and men at the table next to us trying to catch our eye but the food was so good!! It was the first real burger I’ve had in a year. I swear they must have imported the buns from the states. They even had sesame seeds on them! SESAME SEEDS! After dinner (which was like a 3 or 4 hour experience) we went to this wine bar off of Place Ste Anne that we’d also never been to before. All of our exploration and curiosity paid off that night because we stumbled into a really cool little place. We had a few glasses of wine before going home, but not before drawing the attention of a few strange people sitting in the corner haha. The evening went so well that it made me feel better about all the issues I’d been having with planning my party and it made me so thankful for having good friends who care about me.
The issues that I was having planning my party that made me feel so crumby were caused by a huge percentage of my friends deciding to go out of town the day of my party. Although some people couldn’t help it, others could have and that really hurt my feelings to know so many people that I considered my friends didn’t mind skipping my party. For awhile I thought about changing the date, but in the end I made peace with the fact that humans are selfish by nature. In addition, the day was supposed to be about celebrating my birthday, not accommodating anyone else’s schedules. So I didn’t change the date after all because I knew that I would have fun no matter who showed up.
Like I knew it would be, my party ended up being small and humble but sort of surprisingly it ended up being so much fun! Some of my friends came for a little bit and then had to go and so by the time we left Fiona’s apartment for the center, there were only three of us, we met up with my Australian friend Annie and a few of her friends and had a blast.
We went to a boîte that I’d never been to before that was off the main street of bars. I’m pretty sure we were the only non-French people there which was fun and different compared to the student bars that are usually full of Erasmus students. One of Annie’s friends knew the bartender and was getting us free drinks and then when we left the night bar we went down the street to the restaurant where another one of Annie’s friends worked. The owner of the restaurant had been at the bar with us and let us in and so we suddenly had a private party in a closed restaurant at like 4am! We opened wine and drank out these big, beautiful glasses, and talked and just seriously enjoyed everyone’s company. It was wonderful <3
Fiona, Hélène and I left around 5:30 and took the 6am night bus home. Like I said earlier, despite all the negativity that led up to my birthday, It ended up being the best one I’ve had in a really long time.
Big big love to EVERYONE that made it so special (that’s you Maire, Barbara, Fiona, Hélène, Annie and friends, Maxime, Sam, Derek, Louisa, Trixie, Imogen, and Rosie).
This is about the middle-aged (+) women that work in the café at the Ereve. Joy is the most bitter, mean, and downright scary woman that has ever served coffee and Hope is her colleague and partner in crime. We gave them these nicknames out of sheer irony; I can’t count the number of times I have been scolded by her because I didn’t have exact change, or didn’t grab a tray for my coffee, or stayed at a table too long. Anyway, she has become someone to fear.
The other day, I went to the counter to order a coffee and was incorporated into their conversation, as though we were friends!!! I can’t tell you how strange it was. It went something like this (all in French obviously):
HOPE: Oh no! It looks like your necklace is bleeding onto your sweatshirt!
JOY: What? (French guttural noise) I can’t believe it!
HOPE (to me): What do you think?
ME (bewildered): Oh no, yes I think the red cord is bleeding onto your sweatshirt.
HOPE: Was it expensive?
JOY (while taking off the necklace): It was six euros poorly spent.
HOPE (nodding towards me): Thats too bad
ME: Yes, its really too bad.
JOY: Well I’ll just put it in my pocket.
HOPE: But it might dye your pocket red.
JOY: Well, it doesn’t matter if the inside of my pocket is red, does it?! No one will see it!
Since this encounter, she has smiled at me (TWICE!) and wished me two “bonne après-midi (have a nice afternoon!)” and one “bon week-end (have a nice weekend!).”
Things have really changed for the better between Joy and I. This looks like the start of a beautiful friendship… lol
By the way, I’ve been meaning to show you all a picture of the “to-go cups” here. This is exactly what they look like, no joke! Aren’t they presh?! :D