So I turned 22 at the end of January, on Sunday the 29th. We started celebrating on Saturday, though, because some friends were going out of town on a ski trip, which means my week of birthday celebrations is coming to a close.
It has, without a doubt, been the absolute best birthday week of my short life.
Saturday the 28th, I got a text message from JA telling me not to make dinner plans. She and JC came to meet KS and I at the library where we’d been working and asked me where I wanted to dinner. I wanted to trek to a good Chinese place that was a little ways away and pick up a bottle of wine on the way, so after we met up with MM, that’s exactly what we did. When we stopped at the liquor store on the way to the Chinese food place–it’s BYOB–MM bought me a bottle of Ciroc as a birthday gift, and I picked up a good Moscato to have with dinner. MJP met us there. Dinner was great and we had ridiculous conversation as I always have with my good friends (even if there was an awkward moment when I blurted out that my mom has cancer…there’s never a good time to tell people that, but that was probably one of the worst times). They treated me to my meal, and I was glad that that whole group could get together again to celebrate me.
Sunday the 29th was my actual birthday. My mom and my Nana drove up to campus to bring me one of Nana’s famous homemade Great-Aunt-Mabel’s-secret-family-recipe birthday cakes and homemade pecan brittle, along with a giant bag of pecans straight from Georgia. They stayed and chatted for about an hour, then made excuses when I asked them to have lunch with me and headed home. I laid around for a little while in my bed doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING til that got boring and I headed to the house, where I read blogs and chilled for a few hours while my friend CB put together a dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant for me. A bunch of my Quad friends got together and took me to dinner, where ChoosingPancakes told the waitress it was my birthday and they brought me tiramisu with a candle in it. It was cute, and no one has ever really done that for me before–once we let it slip that it was my birthday when I was at home with my family and SH, but that we had cakes waiting at home, and the waiter brought me a tiny container of whipped cream with a candle in it, which was cute, but no one had ever intentionally notified the wait-staff that it was my birthday in order to surprise me with a birthday treat before. After dinner, we went back to the house and played Apples to Apples, which I am evidently terrible at because I didn’t get any cards, haha. Then some of my other (pre-Quad friends) started to show up. We had, of course, turned Apples to Apples into a drinking game, and when more people started to show up, we devolved into just drinking. Then BC wanted to go sleep, so we had cake before he left and more people started to show up, and RC surprised me with a bottle of Disaronno, an incredibly delicious Italian amaretto, while MH and KG gave me a collection of hair products that hadn’t worked for them but might for me. We were all sitting on the floor, talking and drinking, when ChoosingPancakes did the absolute cutest thing anyone has ever done for me on my birthday: she made everyone in the room share their favorite memory of me. Some of my friends were silly, but some of them (her included) were incredibly poignant, and I started to tear up a little. (Had I been sober, I would probably have started crying. +1 for alcohol’s ability to dull my senses.) A bunch of people were doing a thesis boot camp in the morning, so shortly after said sharing and caring, half of my party contingent left, and the rest of us moved downstairs for some beirut. I played two games of three-on-three, and won both games. It was all in all a fabulous night, slightly tainted only by the fact that someone who shall not be named tried to go home with me (I blogged about that already).
Monday passed fairly uneventfully, if I recall. On Tuesday, I got an email from the Package Room saying I had a package to pick up, and I knew I hadn’t purchased anything recently, so I was intrigued as to what it might be. I went to pick it up, and it was the entire line of Twisted Sista products, that I had won on a Brown Girl Gumbo giveaway! What a great birthday present!
On Wednesday, I got another mysterious email from the Package Room. I still hadn’t bought anything, so I excitedly went to the Student Center, wondering what this might be. Surprise, surprise–it was a present from my friend RG! He sent me three good CDs (Erykah Badu, Rafael Saadiq, and Marvin Gaye) and a picture of us from my birthday party last year. I had been surprised by RC’s gift, but this garnered genuine shock. I’m a simple girl; making me feel recognized is like, the highest honor anyone can bestow on me. Call me cheesy, but I was touched. It was like, the icing on this huge multi-tiered cake of love and appreciation my friends gave me this week—I can’t remember the last time I felt so deeply cared about.
On Thursday, TN came down from Rutgers to take me out to dinner, since she couldn’t make it down over the weekend. We went to Alchemist and Barrister, another restaurant in town that I’d never been to, and I had hot apple cider with butterscotch schnapps (omg) and a delicious chicken pot pie. I caught up on her life and she caught up on mine and it was weird how much we didn’t know about what was going on with each other. She’s another example of how I need to do better at maintaining my friendships. (Side note, I feel like she’s hardcore judging me for no-longer-recent exploits, but whatever.) When we got back to her car, she gave me my second present (besides dinner): an awesome framed piece of art with a bird outside of a birdcage, and it’s drawn or painted on a page from a dictionary. I’m not doing it justice—maybe I’ll upload a picture when I get back to campus—but it’s SO ME. So I guess she’s an example of how even when my deep friendships change on the surface, the degree to which my friends know or understand me doesn’t change even as we grow and develop and mature.
By Friday, I was like, okay, this week has to slow down. It has just been too awesome. I was wrong. So, so very wrong. There I was, chilling at work, pretending to write my thesis, when I get a phone call. It’s from a number I don’t know, and I was contemplating whether or not to pick it up when some part of my brain was like, wait, isn’t 202 the area code for D.C.? *picks up the phone immediately* It was the woman from Human Resources at Mathematica, calling to tell me that the interview team thought that I’d be a really great fit, and she’d like to offer me the position!
I wish I had a video of me jumping up and down in the basement lobby of Fine Hall.
Like, WHAT?! This much awesomeness can happen to me in one week? I’ve been told it’s important not to seem to eager, so I thanked her profusely and agreed to get back to her by the end of the following week about whether I’d like to accept. I then called my momma and my daddy and texted some important people and tweeted and Facebooked and couldn’t wait to get out of work and celebrate…
…which actually basically waited until the next night, when KS, JB, and I drove up to New Brunswick to go to Delta’s, this soul food place I discovered but failed to actually eat at over the summer, and which we’ve been telling ourselves we’ll explore for months. When we made our reservations—because they close to people without reservations on the weekends, as KS, TN, and I learned once in the Fall—they asked us if we were aware of their dress code: “casual chic,” meaning no baggy jeans, no workboots, etc. Toto, I don’t think we’re in the dining hall anymore, lol. I wore a dress from Shabby Apple
that I’d won on a Naturally Beautiful Hair
giveaway towards the end of last year and hadn’t found an occasion for yet, while KS wore a nice button up shirt and khakis and dress shoes, and I do say we looked pretty shnazzy (though he did still get carded, while our waitress like, turned down seeing JB’s and my IDs, bahaha). We started off with fried calamari and seafood gumbo as appetizers, with a pitcher of peach sangria to share between the three of us. The breading on the calamari was DIVINE, and my gumbo was spicy but rich enough that it just went down smoothly and deliciously. Then after lamenting about how we actually wanted to eat everything. on. the. menu., we finally settled on the following: for me, smothered pork chops with sides of mac and cheese and candied yams; for KS, ox tail with sides of black eyed peas and rice and collard greens; and for JB, a fried seafood medley including shrimp and catfish, with hush puppies and yams. Our plates were so full, and sweet Jesus the food was indescribably amazing. There was live jazz/R&B happening behind us and I wanted to die of satisfaction with every bite…I truly don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed an eating experience as much as I enjoyed Delta’s. We made the decision right then and there that the three of us are eating there at reunions indefinitely into the future, and that KS and I might bring our families there for graduation dinner.
…What is my life?