21 and In Paris: La Vie est Belle!

October 19, 2009

Last Thursday was my birthday, which I know many of you were aware of, judging by the extraordinary birthday messages that I received! Thank you all for your wishes and love, I was a bit homesick, but I promise that my birthday weekend was fantastic, thanks in no small part to the tidal wave of “happy birthdays” here and on facebook!!!!

I told mom I feel a bit like Julie from “Julie and Julia” because the only way I can know who is reading my blog is from the comments people leave me and from what Mom and Dad tell me! But it is always exciting to get comments, and especially a comment from someone I didn’t know was reading!

I should start describing what I know you all (Megan especially) want to hear about though, which is my birthday!

I decided that I wanted to spend my birthday evening with all of my friends in Paris, and I chose Mexican for dinner and Medieval dancing for after, since it was my birthday and my friends couldn’t say no! I had made the dinner reservation earlier in the week, and all was well until the day of my birthday. Due to evening classes, the metro, and generally just poor time management on my part, I realized at about 6:30 that I was not going to be to the restaurant by 7:00, and I began to panic!

I quickly decided that I would delegate, and I realized that Nathalie and Pierre would be perfect for the job. I knew that they would be on time, so I told them the information for the reservation, and asked them to start the party and be the hosts until I arrived! While this went on, I was frantically texting messages to Andy, Aisha, Alanna, and Adam as we tried to figure out where exactly the restaurant was, since all of us (and others) were getting lost! Nobody could remember more than “Rue St. Jacques” which was less than helpful, since it is a very large street. Aisha actually had to come find Colbert and I so she could lead us to the restaurant, though both of us had been to El Sol Y La Luna just two weeks before!

It worked out perfectly though, as I finally arrived to smiles and kisses from everyone, and a “happy 21st” margarita already poured for me! There ended up being 14 of us at dinner, which is a large group for a Parisian restaurant, and I felt incredibly blessed to be spending the evening with such a lovely mix of old and new friends. Colbert was in town from Germany, Nathalie and Pierre came just for dinner though they had another party to attend, Gaspard and Loïc were in good spirits despite the fact that we spoke mostly in English, and of course the table was full of friends from my program; Caroline (with her new haircut!), Andy, Aisha (the leader of various search and rescue missions), Alanna, Annie, Lees and Amadi (even later than I was!!!), and Jane (my housemate from Tours!).   We spoke in 4 different languages, we came from 3 different countries, and everyone was there to celebrate with me for my birthday! I felt so incredibly loved, and on top of the marvellous company, the food was fantastic too! Everyone laughed and talked, and we ate and ate and ate! Nathalie and Pierre both speak Spanish so they ordered drinks and appetizers for everyone! Pitchers of margaritas and sangria  were passed around the table, mass quantities of guacamole were consumed, and we all happily burned our tastebuds on the spicy main courses! At the end of dinner they split the bill amongst everyone, and they refused to let me pay, citing a “French Tradition” as reason for dividing my bill amongst them. And then in spite of requesting no presents, I recieved many cards, a beautiful box of chocolates, and even a red rose that Colbert bought from a man on the street!

(left to right) Annie, Andy, Amadi, Lees, Alanna, and Caroline caught during a candid moment!

(left to right) Annie, Andy, Amadi, Lees, Alanna, and Caroline caught during a candid moment!

Loïc and Aisha

Loïc and Aisha

Gaspard with his meal

Gaspard with his meal

Jane

Jane not liking something someone said!

Nathalie!

Nathalie!

Another right side of the table shot, with Pierre this time!

Another right side of the table shot, with Pierre this time!

I unfortunately didn’t take many photographs during the night, which is sad for posterity, but it meant that we were all having such a lovely time that the distraction of a camera wasn’t necessary.  And of course I ended up with pictures of everyone at dinner except for me and Colbert, but that’s okay, because the memories are better anyways!

Not everyone could go to medieval dancing, but France, who couldn’t come to dinner, was able to join us for dancing, which was lovely! Nobody other than the 4 of us who had gone before knew what to expect, but everyone actually had a really nice time! We wore our pageboy costumes, drank spiced wine out of real horns, and danced and danced and DANCED! It was so lovely, and such a funny way to spend my 21st birthday! There’s no way this could have happened in the states!

We make a lovely set of serfs!

We make a lovely set of serfs!

:)

🙂

A toast with our drinking horns!

A toast with our drinking horns!

Colbert playing chess with the bartender

Colbert playing chess with the bartender

France and Gaspard looking serious

France and Gaspard looking serious

Colbert and I trying to promenade!

Colbert and I trying to promenade!

It was a lovely evening, that made me realize once again how fortunate I am. The weekend was completed with trips to all 3 major art museums in Paris (Louvre, Orsay, Centre Pompidou) with Colbert and a birthday celebration with my entire host family on Sunday! My host father is in town from New Caldonia, and my other two host brothers were home from the weekend as well, which meant that 7 of us sat around the beautifully decorated table eating mussels (Madame knows that they are my favorite) and eating homemade cake with candles and even presents. Ariane picked out beautiful earrings for me on behalf of all of my host siblings, and Madame and Monsieur gave me magnets for my board, a bilingual book on medieval architecture in Paris (since I worry about my medieval art history course a lot) and a really beautiful scarf. I was so touched, and so thankful to have a family celebration of my birthday, even if it wasn’t with my real family back home. The meal and gifts were incredibly thoughtful, and they made me realize that all of them really do care for me.

It seems that I have wonderful friends wherever I go, whether it be friends from childhood, high school, college, or now from France. I am blessed to be surrounded by lovely people no matter where I go, and that is something that I intend to do always, no matter how old I am! I am sending love to all of you reading this, whether you are family, friend, someone combining the two or somebody in between, and even to the strangers who happen to come across this, since you are just friends I haven’t met yet. Gros Bisous, and Much Love, I will update again soon with pictures from other parts of the weekend! A bientôt!

Ps. I’m 21!!!!!!!! I feel OLD!

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2 Responses to “21 and In Paris: La Vie est Belle!”

  1. Diana Lucey said

    Hope you are having fun.
    I haven’t been able to get on the internet or else I would have wished you a happy borthday. So I guess I will do it now. Happy Birhtday! Hope you are having fun in France.
    From Colbert’s little sister,
    Diana

  2. Aunt Terri said

    I really think you topped anyone elses 21 birthday celebration more than I’m sure you can imagine. Seriously..turning 21 with so many new and old friends in a different country? How does 1 top that party? I love you

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