Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 24, 2016: 27th birthday

Sunday, April 24 was my 27th birthday. 

Before the move, I hadn't been overly excited to have my birthday fall just 10 days after moving to a new city (Montpellier), but it ended up being a really great Sunday. And that's what it felt like too—a good Sunday—not necessarily a birthday (and that's a-okay). I was lucky enough to cross out all the major elements of a solid birthday:

[x] Receive snail mail

As soon as I had my Montpellier AirBnb address back when I was in London, I emailed out my new address to some friends and family who had been asking for it. I loved anxiously checking what had arrived every day this past week, when the postman sent the mail through the slot in the front door (which falls directly into the house).

I saved everything that arrived that week and opened the mail on Sunday evening. I even received some e-cards/emails to boot!

[x] Enjoy beautiful weather

Sunday ended up being a lovely, sunny day in Montpellier. I got to spend the morning playing ultimate frisbee with a really nice group of people who play at a park each Sunday morning. It was my second week playing with them, so the familiar faces and fun physical activity were an awesome way to start my day.

[xx] Blow out candles

This one gets two check marks, because my last night in London a few weeks earlier, while out to dinner at a Japanese restaurant with Hannah and Herm, all of a sudden Hannah whips out mini-brownies (gluten free!) with lit candles on top, and the two started singing to me. *Heart swells* 

Our group selfie before we all went to bed after dinner that last night:

And then on the actual day of, I left ultimate just before the final "golden" point to catch a tram out to Damien's parents' house. He'd graciously invited me to a family lunch with his parents, sister, and grandpa—which quickly turned into what I'd call a birthday lunch:

After a delicious lunch (ratatouille, potatoes, sausages, turkey, wine, and later the cheese course), we had an amazing chocolate pastry and strawberries with champagne. His mom works for a daycare, but the kids (ages 1-3) come to their home every day, so she'd had a huge candle of the number "2" which she put on the cake/pastry.

There was no singing for this candle, but it was an excellent lunch, and great to spend the afternoon with the people with whom I've spent the most time in France since arriving in October. Afterwards we played dominoes for a while with Damien's mom and grandpa (while his dad napped on the sofa).

After returning back to Montpellier that evening, I was even able to briefly chat on the phone with both of my parents—as they were about to watch my younger brother play piano in a musical in La Crosse.

And, as I started doing four years ago, I continued the tradition of donating my age in dollars to Ultimate Peace, an incredible organization that uses ultimate frisbee to create peace. In case it's your first time hearing me gush about Ultimate Peace, here's their mission:
Ultimate Peace builds bridges of friendship, trust, and leadership between youth who live in communities divided by conflict, using the values-based sport of Ultimate as its tool.
Here's the same 4-minute video I shared last year, to give any newbies a peek at what great things UP has done and continues to do:

Peace in the Air from The Telling Well on Vimeo.

And as always, you are more than welcome to help celebrate my birthday by making a donation to UP.

Thanks to all who helped celebrate my 27th!

Past birthdays:
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