Birthday Shenanigans

Week 9

So this week I hit the grand old age of 20. The people out here really made it a birthday to remember!

Things started to get interesting on Tuesday. I ventured down to Denver with Giulia to see my first ever concert. At least I was still a teenager technically! Prior to the concert Giulia took me to a cupcake shop which had such a hip feel to it. People were encouraged to draw on the walls and there were various contemporary art pieces hanging off what seemed to be every available wall space. A group of hairy bikers came in which I did not expect for a cupcake shop, but it had that sort of bohemian feel to it. After this, things got even stranger. The concert was in a small theatre called Ogden. A really nice venue as it was small but not too small. We were very fortunate in that we got a spot right at the front of the balcony directly opposite the stage. The support act, Friends, were pretty shambolic. They were all very strange characters. For instance one guy’s role was literally to dance around in high heels and occasionally perform a semi striptease with a sparkly golden jacket. Crazy! Luckily, Two Door Cinema Club more and made up for these inadequacies. They have so many good tunes which were very easy to have a boogie too. Great vibe and I throughly enjoyed myself. Even the drive back was beautiful as it got really windy and consequently swirled all the golden leaves around. A great evening! I did however miss Bearcelona’s playoff game and unfortunately they lost 5-4 on penalties. Wish I could have been there.

The next day was the day I hit the big 2-0. I know this age isn’t especially significant but I think it makes you sound a lot older.  Unfortunately, I had a midterm but it wasn’t too bad in the end. I spent the rest of the day speaking to family which was of course lovely. In the evening, I joined some fellow internationals for a meal out at a sports bar. I tried corn bread which was really nice. Everyone else went out afterwards, but of course I couldn’t join them as I’m still not 21! So annoying, but I guess the law is the law. I kept the rest of the evening free under strict instruction from Giulia, who came around at gone 11, when I was almost giving up hope. Her plan of a surprise didn’t exactly work as she had to call me to let her in, but I guess it’s the thought that counts. She made me a lovely card and gave me loads of  sugary treats. We stayed up to 2am talking and laughing. Very different to what a birthday would have entailed back in Lancaster, which would have inevitably involved a copious amount of alcohol.

The next morning I certainly needed some coffee, especially as we were talking about Foucault in class. His thoughts are very challenging at the best of times! We had our last Model UN meeting before going to Washington DC. It really got me excited about the whole thing! On Friday, I had my first functional meeting for the AIESEC finance team. All the information learnt last week in Kansas was certainly very useful. Before coffee hour, I took advantage of some free food courtesy of the German Club. The strudel was to die for. Danke! Coffee hour was a bit chaotic as Giulia and her room-mate Mandy came along so I stayed with them, and I had to sort out things for setting up an indoor football team. Giulia and Mandy then took me to the supermarket to get provisions for my British Birthday Bash the next night. I was so grateful for this as it would have taken so many trips by bike! We then treated ourself to pumpkin cake (really big out here) but it wasn’t great. The rest of the evening I made strawberry trifles whilst watching multiple episodes of The Office. What a riveting Friday Night!

What a day Saturday was! I caught the bus in the morning to Denver to meet with Jodi and Chris (my host family). I had not been to Denver since my arrival then I went twice in a week! We met up and went out for lunch in a really nice Mexican restaurant. I will certainly miss the good quality Mexican food when I return to the UK. After this, we did a slightly random thing and went to Hammond’s Candy factory to have a free tour (and of course free samples)! It was very enjoyable. After they dropped me off back at the bus station, I had a quick wander up 16th Street to check out the “Zombie walk” that was going on. What a crazy sight that was! There must have been at least 2,000 people dressed up as zombies. What was striking was that they were not just teenagers but whole families, both young and old. The costumes were very good as well. This made me realise how much I have underestimated Halloween over here. On the bus journey back I had the misfortune of sitting next to possibly the craziest person I have ever met. He claimed to be an apostle/regent/bishop, who was a multi-billionaire and had absolute rule over 50 countries. Of course as soon as he heard I was British, he claimed he had direct contact with the Royal family and instigated William and Kate getting back together. Unfortunately, I’m too polite and British in these circumstances. After this interesting experience, I went back via the supermarket to start preparations for my party. Rather ambitiously, I had planned to cook for 14 people. Of course, I underestimated the preparation time, so when my first guests arrived at 7pm, I had only just scrambled everything together. Up until 7.30pm, there were only 2 guests and I was getting a bit worried, but then they all arrived at once! They made me a lovely birthday card and each wrote really nice messages in it. Ben and Saskia bought me some British food products and Saori made me a sumptuous birthday cake. I served the main course of Shepherds pie and toad in the hole a little late, but surprisingly they were good. Being mostly internationals the name Toad in the hole confused many of them. For dessert I served an apple crumble and my trifle. The vibe was so nice and of course the British music helped that. Later, the Japanese (Itaru, Saori & Yusuke) and Woosin summoned me to be blindfolded, which of course always spells trouble. They slipped on a garment that I thought would have been a comedy dress. Upon being untied, Yusuke threw a plate of whipped cream in my face!! Brilliant. Turns out the garment was a Japanese football shirt that they had bought me. They are such nice people. Luckily, the whipped cream throwing frenzy didn’t get too out of hand, even though we got Joe. When provisions ran out, we made our way to another international party. I was so tired, so I only made it to 12.30am, but I thoroughly enjoyed my day.

The cleanup operation on Sunday was not as time-consuming as first anticipated. Back to reality now and I had to do a load of work. As ever, played football in the afternoon and even met someone who not only knew where Devon was but had actually been there. Exiting stuff! Giulia came over for a study session in the evening and we successfully polished off most of the leftovers.

So that’s all for this week! I wonder what my twenties will hold for me. Very thought-provoking. Next week I’m off to Washington DC for the Model UN conference so check back next week for news on that….

Thanks for taking the time to read this and a big thank you for all those who made my birthday so memorable!

Some Photo’s courtesy of Saori.

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