Happy Birthday to me!

I’m not really a birthday person. I suppose I could attribute this to (blame this on) my little sister whose birthday is the day before mine. Ok so technically it wasn’t her fault she was born then but two year and 364 day old me didn’t see it that way. All I saw was a new baby who threatened to keep my mum away from my very important third birthday! And every year since as a child, the excitement and anticipation of my birthday was severely dampened when merely 24 hours before my big day, my little sister was showered with presents and attention. Yes I was a brat! Sorry Molly, Mum and Dad for the years of June 7th hell.

I grew out of my jealous, spoilt, greedy mentality (eventually) but I have never celebrated my birthday in a big way. For almost ten years this was because my birthday fell in the middle of exam season and I never had time to stop revision and party! At university, my delayed celebration usually morphed into an end of exam party anyway. Which was fine, I don’t like the pressure of a party being solely for me. My biggest birthday party to date was my 21st, the year of which coincided with my sister’s 18th. This was the first time I realised the benefit having our birthdays so close together. Two milestone birthdays meant we convinced our parents to host a massive party, attended by all our friends and family. It was put back until July (because of exams) but that day was one of the best of my life and I’m so glad we celebrated together.

Me and Molly at our 21st and 18th birthday party

Me and Molly at our 21st and 18th birthday party

This year I was in the company of two birthday advocates. Both my flatmates, Hallie and Rachel, were adamant I was to have a party and it would be awesome. I was somewhat reluctant but they persuaded me to do something eventually. Well, they were right! Last Saturday we hosted our first house party in our apartment. Turns out it’s the perfect space for such an event! The theme: “R”. Not as in rated, as in “come dressed as something beginning with the letter”. I didn’t have a costume idea until a few days before when my gecko tattoo inspired me. No, gecko doesn’t start with an “R”, but reptile does. Yes it was a bit of a stretch but I had a new green dress I really wanted to wear. I made my gecko (reptile) head with paper maché and a balloon. Well, let’s just say my little, birthday thunder stealing sister got the artistic genes. Plus I only finished painting it the morning of the party so it was a little tacky and I ended up with green paint everywhere!

Turnout to the party was great and some people’s costumes were amazing! Special props to Hilde’s phenomenal Rubik’s Cube, which doubled as a drinks stand. And I was super impressed Rachel’s “riding cowgirl” (yet another “R” word stretch), which was hilarious. Hallie was particularly artistic with her decoration of “Riel”, the Cambodian currency. Phaline had printed out huge numbers of pictures of my face and she and her friends came as “Ruth”. Creepy!

Steph, Mark, Rachel, Me, and Hilde

Steph, Mark, Rachel, Me, and Hilde

Rubik's Hilde!

Rubik’s Hilde!

Keeping it Riel - Steph and Hallie

Keeping it Riel – Steph and Hallie


Me and my Cambodian Ruths!

The party was fuelled with punch made to a secret recipe perfected at university by myself, Jenny and Maudie, and was a big success again that night. I also filled the fridge with beers to use for drinking games. I think everyone had a good time (they said they did anyway), and I am certainly glad Rachel and Hallie bullied me into having the party! At midnight, we figured the landlords might want some sleep so headed on to our staple Saturday locations of Pontoon and Katy Peri pizza. A perfect birthday celebration.

Except Saturday wasn’t my birthday. Monday was. The morning started off well when birthday advocate Rachel forgot it was my birthday and shouted it up from the courtyard before she cycled to school (don’t worry Rach, I forgot when I woke up too!). I hadn’t told my Grade 3 class but my Grade 4 knew so just before their class was due to start, I was banished from my classroom to allow them to set up. Ten minutes later I was ushered into the darkened room where I was greeted with a birthday cake and “25” candles (I decided to let the fact they had a lighter in school slide). They were so excited and enthusiastically sang happy birthday … and then sprayed silly string all over me and the cake. They had sparklers too and I recorded a little of their playing and singing which can be viewed here. I blew out the candles and divided the cake between us. I then had presents to open from the kids, including a new bag, an apple shaped alarm clock, and one of those pens you get on bank desks with a coiled wire to stop people stealing it. One of the girls then asked if we had to learn anything that day. I decided they could have the first hour eating and drinking sugar and then we’d study. The lesson never really started to be honest! It’s almost the end of term and I have very little to finish with them so one day of watching YouTube videos and emailing Jo (a past intern who has her own blog post dedicated to her here) didn’t seem too disruptive.

My Grade 4 class with my cake

My Grade 4 class with my cake

My birthday continued when I got home with a Skype to my parents, complete with reading my own cards through the webcam (I love technology). Then my dear friend Jess arrived and together with Rachel, Hallie, and Hallie’s parents (who arrived the previous evening) we headed to one of my favourite pizza restaurants around the corner from my house. And of course because it was my birthday, I could totally justify a tiramisu for desert. After I said goodbye to Jess, my lovely flatmates presented me with some beautiful earrings and a gift certificate to my favourite street food stand. They don’t actually do gift vouchers usually but because we are all such worryingly frequent customers, they made an exception. I feel very special (and have already used half of the gift card!)

My friends literally adore me! Hallie, Jess, Me, and Rachel

My friends literally adore me! Hallie, Jess, Me, and Rachel

Thank you to all who celebrated my birthday with me this year. I had a truly unforgettable few days in this marvellous country. And happy 22nd birthday to my little sister – all is forgiven for your mistimed birth. Here’s to entering the second quarter century of my life.

Categories: Birthday, Cambodia, Dress Up, Expat, Friends, partying, phnom penh | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Happy Birthday to me!

  1. What a great way and place to spend your birthday. Happy belated birthday. Glad you finally celebrated it.


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