Just before my 16th birthday, my family moved to Belmont, MA. On my actual birthday, we closed on our new house, and so I spent my sweet sixteen supervising a moving crew while my parents took my younger brother to the hospital, where they were told he would need open-heart surgery. I knew no one in the Boston area then, and so the only person apart from my immediate family who wished me a happy birthday was a burly and surly moving guy, who grunted “happy birthday” and then told me that being sixteen sucked. At least he said happy birthday.
Just before my 20th birthday, my family moved to India. Though they had been in Utah with me for much of the summer, they needed to close on their new house on my birthday, and so left the States a mere four or five days before my birthday. On my actual birthday, I sat through four hours of Arabic class, and probably did as many crossword puzzles to stave off boredom. I probably spent the rest of the playing dominoes, where I'm sure my friends wished me a happy birthday.
Just before my 21st birthday, my family, who, again, had been in Utah with me most of the summer, left for India again. On my actual birthday, I sat through class, work, a meeting with a professor, and a long line at the DMV, where I chirpily informed everyone around me that I was turning 21, in the hopes that they’d tell me happy birthday.
Just before my 22nd birthday, I arrived in Indonesia, jet-lagged, confused, and alone. On my actual birthday, I sat through eight hours of TESOL training, wondering why those in education theory don’t wake up every morning, look in the mirror, and ask, “When did all the intelligent parts of you die?” Having been there only two days, I knew nobody, and so spent the evening running on the treadmill and reading Virginia Woolf, though not at the same time. Because I was twelve hours ahead, I didn't hear from anyone until the next day, but at least I got lots of birthday greetings then. Better late than never, right?
Today is my 23rd birthday. Just before my birthday, a few days ago, my family moved to Belmont, MA. On my actual birthday, they are closing on their new house. (History repeats itself.) I have just moved to California, and I know nobody here. (By now, that’s practically tradition.) I have no solid plans; I’ll maybe do something fun in San Francisco, maybe get myself a library card, maybe move into a new apartment, and maybe spend the day lying on the couch with a book. All of those options sound pleasant, and all of them sound far better than intensive Arabic, the DMV, or TESOL training. Now all I need for the day to be complete is people saying happy birthday to me. (Hint, hint.)
Happy birthday to me!