Scary stories from a lovely place
My dad and I share a curious but fairly inane talent, and that is of recalling lots of details. I’m not as good as him. He doesn’t bother learning how to store phone numbers in his mobile because he can remember them all in his head. One thing I like to do, and I like to get him to do, is track back activities over a period of years. So I will say to dad, what were you doing this day for the last 10 years? He can generally remember every one. I can really only do that with big events, like Christmas Day or a birthday.
It was my birthday last weekend. I turned 27. Pretty scary. I know I have a husband and a kid and those are boxes people get stressed about not ticking as they get old. I’ve ticked them. But I haven’t ticked lots of other boxes I would have like to. Career. Published author (a blog doesn’t count, no matter how cool it is). Extensive travel. Accomplished knitter. Noteworthy chef.
In the spirit of remembering, and also of selectively blocking out bad memories, here is what I did on my birthday for the last 10 years.
This year – Church in the morning. Dad preached on contentment. Stephen and dad played tennis afterwards while Silas and I sat on the edge of Kingston Frost and enjoyed the view. Lunch at Lucky Bean with dad, Stephen and Silas. Desert at Service Station, they have the best almond and chocolate tart which goes well with earl grey tea. Rest in the afternoon. Stephen and I watched an episode of ‘People Like Us’; a strange BBC show. Dinner and World Cup final at Stan and Lesley’s house with some of our other neighbours and their friends. We ate delicious paella, for Spain, and dutch pastries for the Netherlands. I fell asleep during the first half which was more a reflection on my tiredness and the warm fire, than the quality of the game, which I understand was snooze-worthy anyway. Silas was a bit crazy when we got home, it had been a big day. Went to bed with him in my arms. Bliss.
2009 – Spent the day traveling to Cape Vidal with Kylie, Vicky and Ellie. It was a long trip. We left at noon, so Stephen cooked breakfast for us all, with the exception of Vicky who was doing her driver’s test if I remember correctly. I got good presents. Lots of cool bits from Kylie. Probably something knittingy from Ellie. Lovely pearl earrings and an Atlas from Stephen. He was a bit offended because I gave a better reaction to the Atlas than the earrings which were undoubtedly more expensive. The earrings are awesome, no doubt about that, but the Atlas was sentimental, I had often said how I enjoyed reading them. He remembered. He’s good at that.
2008 – My first year living in South Africa. Kylie and I organised a braai which took place on a very cold Winter’s day. I don’t think the braai was on my actual birthday. From memory it was pretty cool. Lots of nice guests. Good food. Though I do remember braaing a banana which wasn’t so nice. I was trying to be creative, or showing off. On my actual birthday we went out for supper with my parents, Stephen, Kylie, Trevor and Fifi. We went to Moyo at Zoo Lake. I was still quite fresh to living in Joburg and hadn’t yet learned that Moyo touts overpriced, poor quality food and mass tourist paraphenalia. It’s not where I would choose to celebrate my birthday again. Before supper Stephen took me up the Carlton Centre. That was very exciting because it was night time and I had always wanted to do that but Stephen said it was too dangerous in the dark. I loved seeing the view at night. Jozi really is just like New York. He gave me his present – a swiss army knife – which he was a bit apologetic about, but I thought it was very cool. Another sweet thing was Stephen really had to pee but was too nervous to leave me alone (he’s so nice and protective) so when we got to Moyo to meet the others he was pretty desperate.
2007 – I was on Mid Year Conference in Kurrajong in Sydney’s north west. MYC is a Christian conference for university students packed to the gills with bible teaching, bible exposition, bible discovery and cold weather. It’s awesome though. This year I was on staff with the Christian student group at my university. I actually found it more relaxed being on staff than a student. I could sit back and chill while all the students fought with the bible. I remember crying in the morning with Kim and Ali because I was really scared about going to live in South Africa. After MYC I celebrated by having breakfast at my parents house in Wombarra the day after MYC. I’m not sure who came, but I do remember Corinne, Brad and Megan were there, and maybe my brother. We ate good breakfast food overlooking the ocean.
2006 – I was on MYC again, this time as a student. I was pretty new to the group so when they sang me Happy Birthday it was a bit weird because only about 5 people knew me. To celebrate I had friends over for dinner at my parents flat in the city. Lots of people came – Kylie Farrugia, Ali and Tony, Sally, Kate, Tez, Jess, Rosie, Choppa, Kate Hudson, Ray, Brad, Amanda, maybe others. We ate spaghetti bolognaise which Kylie cooked. She got annoyed at me because there weren’t enough plates and I was disorganised. Parties are fun. I remember Tez and Kate maybe, or someone else were trying to get me to flirt with one of the guys and were giving me instructions through the little kitchen window thing. Embarrassing. And I had really black hair.
2005 – I seriously can’t recall. Maybe I had a bonfire at 509, the dodgy share house I was living in with Mick, Nathan, Bec and Amy maybe? Can’t exactly remember who was there at the time, or even if that’s how I celebrated. If it was the evening I am thinking of there was a funny mixture of people again. I remember Jo had just come back from a trip around Europe and had cool stories to tell. We burnt lots of old furniture from the garage. No other details need be shared. It was all a bit crazy.
2004 – It was my 21st. Had a big party at my friends Mark and Miriam’s house in Austinmer. Awesome beach outlook. Good food. Good presents. Silly, long speeches. I can’t remember if it was on my actual birthday or not.
2003 – I celebrated at the Thai Rose restaurant in Sutherland. It was pretty low-key, but good. It was a funny mixture of people – Alex from school, Liv and Cassie from church, Jen and Phil from St John’s, Sally and I remember Jo came late and brought chocolate. That’s the only present I remember getting, can’t even remember the one from Phil. Chocolate is clearly such a good gift. During the day I was at work at Word Bookstore. Phil came at lunchtime and brought me a nice sandwich I think. The work people gave me a funny card with men in swimwear perched atop a cake as the candles. It was a bit risque for a Christian bookstore.
2002 – Had a party at my house. It wasn’t very good. Can’t really remember who was there except Tez, Sally, Amanda, Kylie F, probably St John’s people and I’m sure others. I remember enjoying hanging out with Tez. He fell asleep on the lounge room floor watching Sense and Sensibility. What a cool guy.
2001 – Had a party at my house. It was a breakfast thing. Mum cooked lots of awesome food and there was an awful lot of fruit platters. Guests were mainly school friends from my year and a year or two below me. Also Tim, Lyndel and Sarah, my old friends from primary school in Kiama and Wollongong came. That was cool.
2000 – The details are pretty hazy but I think I had a small party with Kate Hudson. She was turning 16 and I was 17. It was a ‘K’ theme dress up. I can’t remember what I went as. Kylie F came as the Karate Kid. Her costume was awesome. We had ice-cream sandwiches for desert – mum’s specialty.
That’s it. 10 years of birthday’s. Here’s to the next 10. And maybe I will have some more of those boxes ticked.