I guess today we are celebrating 2 things here: my birthday (yes, I am growing old and eventually growing up, along the way...) and reaching 660 blog posts (I thought that celebrating 666 would be a bit too dark/morbid/hipster/ordinary/obvious - you pick the one that fits better, according to your view ;) ) ... 660 letters to you, lovely people :) and for my 660th letter I also get to share with you my opinions in regards to being an expat and celebrating birthdays home away from home.
I love autumn and I cannot imagine a better season to be born in. I cannot imagine the season without October's - when the weather is still a bit warm and the color of the trees gradually change... the smell of apple pie and freshly squeezed grape juice, along with the crispy sound of the leaves on the ground. In October I would already be in school and for my birthday I would bring candies. The teacher would make everyone stand up and sing happy birthday and I would pass by and give them candies. My Granny would bake glorious cookies and Grandpa would be all smiles and pinch my checks. Mum and Dad would bring presents and the whole house would be full of laughter and song...
I love autumn and ever since I came to Poland I realise more and more what growing up really means. Being an expat is not all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. It's true you get to travel and see different places and meet people, buy sometimes, especially at big holidays - like Easter and Christmas - and at birthdays - especially yours! - it will get tough. Especially if you were really really close to your family. We try to go home, to Romania, either at Christmas or Easter each year but I never manage to get there for my birthday, and maybe that is why I never wish to make a big fuss out of it...
My first birthday in Poland was crazy, I had just turned 25! Now 25 is quite a fancy number and so I said I should do a big party. I cleaned and I cooked and I bought goodies... and then I got hammered and I cannot remember almost half of the party :/ to my shame! This was the second time in my life when I got drunk (the first was on my 18th birthday). Since then I tend to keep it low profile and celebrate with my lovely other half.
As you grow old or grow up - you pick one! - you have other dream and expectations. Other plans. Maybe drinking the night away is not the best option - what will you gain out of this? Plus, you will see that once you get further in time people change, people separate and some relations get dry... you keep watering them, hoping they will live, but one day you wake up and all you can see is a dead plant. You will figure out that the best thing you can do - and you should do it, as fast as you can! - is invest in yourself and the ones who truly care about you.
Last year I was telling you about 10 things I have learned by the time I turned 28 years old. I am continuously learning that the best thing to do is collect memories rather then things. Collect dreams and experiences rather than physical objects. I would love to be able to fit my wardrobe in one suitcase - I still need to work on that! Build up your Bucket List and stick to doing the things that make you happy. That will also make your family and friends - the ones that truly care! - happy as well. It is true, in days like this - on my birthday, I would love to have my Mum & Dad, Granny & Big Sister next to me, munching on some homemade cake with 29 candles on it... but I chose to be an expat, and I chose to love an amazing Polish lad that makes me happy and makes me smile each day :) so don't worry! Life in 2 is perfect - sure it has ups and downs - and I am happy being an expat. Else, trust me, I would run away home. But hey! Here, in Kraków - Poland, this is my home away from home :)
Complaints are part of the Polish patrimonium ;)) and I think that quite rubbed on me as well... now I must admit life is not bad being an expat. People who care keep closer to you and you can tell that even from the Facebook "Happy birthday!" Posts ;) in time you learn to see things even through the writing of someone... it's a gift you develop in time ;) But I should not complain :) I already received the best gift for my 29th birthday - crossing off another city I wished to visit, off the list: Prague :) we went on a short city break - 23-25 October. Posts will come soon (hopefully!). Did I also mention that both me, and my awesome other half, are unable to withhold presents from one another and we need to give them as soon as we get them? Well... my first gift came at the very first week of October ;)) our first vinyl with Queen - yes, we bought a pickup ;) we are turning more and more old fashioned. So hipster of us! :o
To all the lovely expats out there... how do you celebrate your birthday home away from home? Does you significant other help you as well pass through the day? To tell you the truth, I could not imagine celebrating my bday without Marek :) and I guess that says a lot. Kocham cie kotek :* What are your tips & tricks? Huh! I just realised that next year I will be turning 30, changing the prefix! Any wild ideas on how to celebrate that? And don't say parachute jumping, as we have already done that for our first church wedding anniversary ;) Be creative and pop an idea in the comments section below!
The Twisted Red LadyBug that turns 29 today ;)