Day 24: Joining the 20-somethings

I’ve been 20 for about four hours and 20 minutes, and whatever maturity and sophistication I was supposed to feel has yet to set in. All I know is this day went by too quickly for my liking. How is it already Thursday?

Remember my sleeping-in plan? Well that went down the drain. I woke up for no reason at 7:40 a.m. (possibly from the excitement of it finally being my birthday), but I was still lying in bed relishing in it until my landline started ringing. My dad called to wish me a happy birthday … at 8 a.m. Luckily I was already awake so I didn’t sound like a zombie, and it was a nice way to start off the day. I took that as my cue to get a jump start on what I expected to be the perfect day.

I saw a Post-it note on the mirror in our bathroom, and on it was scrawled in Kitty’s writing: Hmmm … Wonder what goodies await new 20-year-olds in the fridge?

Naturally I had to go have a peep in the fridge, and it was a cake shaped like the Cookie Monster’s head, with actual cookies in his mouth! I can’t believe Kitty managed to make an entire cake in our kitchen without me noticing. (True, I was at swimming when it happened, but it’s still pretty impressive. Otherwise, I’m just very unobservant.) Its eyes were made of Oreos, and I found out later that Kitty had to make her own blue sprinkles. She only had rainbow sprinkles so she had to dye them all with blue food colouring. She also made her own frosting out of chocolate cake crumbs mixed with Nutella. It’s her own invention. I’ve never heard of anything like it, but by George I want to try it! I didn’t get a chance to eat the cake today, but I can’t wait to dig into it tomorrow!

I spent the day in the ByWard Market, revelling in the fact that I didn’t have school. On the bus downtown, I had a very proud moment. There was a Chinese man who didn’t speak very much English and he was trying to ask the bus driver for directions. I guess that conversation didn’t go over so well because he started scanning the bus passengers and fixed his eyes on me, the only other Chinese person on the bus.

He asked me if I spoke Chinese and before I could even answer, he started rattling off a huge speech in Mandarin. From what I gathered, he was looking for a “big library.” So I struggled through the little Mandarin I know and told him I’d ask the bus driver for him. The only problem is I don’t know which library he’s looking for, so I just asked the driver for directions to the closest one. I’m proud to say I sent him off in the right direction (I think). Bilingual citizen, party of one!

Of course that all disappeared when I went to Benny’s Bistro, a French restaurant that’s famous for its breakfasts and brunches. The waiter spoke French to me and it had a really thick Quebec accent. I think my blank stare was enough to make him switch to English before I could start scrambling for vocabulary in my dusty French section of my brain. At least the food was still good. I had a goat cheese frittata, and it was served with warm, crusty bread and arugala salad.

Mm ... everything's better with goat cheese.

Then I went to the nearby Chapters to get my free birthday drink from Starbucks. Being the good student I am, I did a little work on my b-e-a-utiful Mac while sipping on my peppermint mocha. Coffee and Macbooks make schoolwork much less painful.

After a reasonable amount of working time, I indulged a little and perused the wonderful world of Chapters. Time passes much too quickly in there. It’s like it has its own dimension. At around 2 p.m., I went to this place called Tea Party, and got one of their famous scones for my late lunch. It tasted pretty good, but it was huge! I always thought scones were supposed to be dainty and fit for a queen. Let me assure you, Queen Elizabeth II would certainly not be serving these monsters at her tea party.

The mother of all scones

Stuffed with tea and jam, I made my way back to Chapters to make my one birthday purchase, a present to myself. (If I don’t set a limit, I will come home with armfuls of books!) Hey, I had lots of gift cards burning a hole in my wallet and I rarely get time to go and put them to good use, so I decided a little impulse buying was allowed. I was in the mood for something a little “out there,” so my one purchase turned into three, but I’m very happy with all of them. I bought Philip K. Dick’s Blade Runner (a.k.a. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club and Guy Gavriel Kay’s Ysabel. It’s all very exciting. Notice the sci-fi (Dick) and fantasy (Kay) I’m adding to my collection!

Welcome to the family!

It was a very satisfying day downtown. By the time I started heading back to school, it was about 4 p.m. I stopped by my mailbox, as per Emily’s request and found a package waiting for me! It turns out Em had her present express-mailed to me. It was such a surprise! (I love snail mail, especially when it arrives on time!) It was an adorable notebook that I coincidentally had my eye on in the week before Christmas break. Great minds really do think alike!

I love this Snoopy notebook and the adorable elephant card! (Emily always somehow manages to find the best elephant cards.)

Natalie and Lindsay surprised me by announcing they were treating me to dinner at Kelsey’s. Kitty stayed behind for her Jiu Jitsu class (though she didn’t end up going because of a previous injury), but we took Doug along to be our DD. (We’re responsible drinkers!)

I was stuffed to bursting by the end of the meal. There was just so much food! I think it’s better to show this in pictures.

Cheers! A Pina Colada for Nat, a Long Island Iced-Tea for me and a Sour Apple for Lindsay.
Bring on the appetizers! Top: calamari. Bottom: popcorn shrimp.
Onion rings and sweet potato fries! Everything came with lots of different dipping sauces (which we all know is the best part!)
I barely had room for my entree, the pulled pork sandwich recommended (enthusiastically) by Lindsay and Doug.

And after all that, I even got a surprise dessert because Lindsay, Doug and Nat “subtly” dropped hints that it was my birthday. Fortunately, the waitress spared me and didn’t sing.

You might not be able to see it, but it's a molten lava chocolate cake with a big sparkler candle!

It was a great dinner, but I was so stuffed I could barely move by the end of it. I still have half my sandwich waiting for me to eat it tomorrow. We went back to school and congregated in Kitty and my room where I have no idea what we talked about for the next four hours. All I know is it was only 8 p.m. when we finished dinner and midnight by the time everyone left. Kitty’s friend from Jitsu, Sam, joined us partway through and there was lots of singing, laughing and general noise.

A great end to a great day, though I am definitely going to feel it all tomorrow when I have early class, and we have a field trip for journalism. (I say “field trip,” but I’m not exactly looking forward to it. We’re going to the Ottawa courthouse to learn about covering law and crime. The topic isn’t really the issue. It’s just the teacher makes me feel a little weird about that class. I’ll give it a chance and see how it goes.) It may be too soon to say, but it may be a coffee day tomorrow.

And so ends my 20th birthday. Wow. Bring on the twenties!

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