Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mon Anniversaire

It finally happened.  I am officially twenty-one.  And I have to say, Paris is a pretty cool place to turn twenty one. I'm not going to lie, it would have been incredibly fun to have all of my friends from SB surrounding me while I took my first sip of alcohol, but I am happy with how my night turned out for me.

On Thursday night, I had a friend from LCHS come and stay with me.  Katie Hale is studying in Florence, Italy this semester from NYU, so when I told her she should come over to Paris for my birthday she looked for flights and found a decent one.  Unfortunately, she couldn't get a good price home on Sunday so she had to leave Saturday.  But she still came, which meant a lot.

I had another friend come and visit.  I saw Amara in Spain, and she knew that she would be coming to Paris for my birthday since about November.  She got here on Friday morning and left Monday afternoon, so she was able to be here for my full day.

So now to the actual birthday part.  Weather.com said it would be raining all day on Sunday, so I had been praying to the powers that be for it not to.  Somehow I think they heard me.  Well, sort of.

I feel kind of unique in that I got to choose where I wanted to have my first drink.  I chose to have it at the Trocadero, which is the museum that is just across the river from the Eiffel Tower.  So the crew was me, my roommate, and some friends from SciencesPo, plus Amara and a guy that Aliya's friends introduced us to back in September who we have become friends with, named Xavier.  So the group all left my house to head down to the Eiffel Tower.

I also knew I wanted my first drink to be champagne.  Earlier that night Amara and I had gone to the store to buy stuff to make dinner.  On that same trip, I had bought my first alcohol.  We just let it chill in the fridge while we were waiting to go out.  Then we took the metro to the place.

The Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour on the hour for about five minutes.  I didn't trust my phone, so I decided I was going to let the sparkling lights tell me when it was 12:00AM on March, 13 2011.  As soon as that tower lit up I popped the cork and took my first sip.

It tasted terrible.

Luckily my friends knew it would taste terrible to me, so they bought be a palatable alcohol which I drank instead.  It was a fun night.  But I did say that the powers that be only sort of stopped the rain.  When we left the apartment it was barely drizzling.  When we got down to the tower it was more than a little drizzling.  But that didn't stop me.  I was going to have that experience so help me God, so we powered through.  What was a little strange is that the rain seemed to stop a few minutes after my birthday started.

After the tower, some of us headed to a bar.  The only thing that wasn't perfect about my birthday is that literally half the people we were with just left without saying goodbye.  No texts.  No calls.  Nothing.  I had already gone into the bar and they just bounced.  But c'est la vie.  I was feeling too good to really care.  Plus I really really loved the people that stuck around.  I almost think it was better that there wasn't a big number of us, because it meant that there were fewer people to take into account if we wanted to do anything.

Also, something really strange happened to me on the way to the Eiffel Tower.  I couldn't put any pressure on my right shin.  I was walking like a cripple.  Right before we started up the stairs at the Trocadero though, it stopped hurting. It was a birthday miracle!  I can't quite describe what it felt like.  It was like I had a bruise but it was on the bone itself.  It had happened before, but never for that long or that intense.

So that was the actual first drink story.  Champagne under a sparkling Eiffel Tower with some pretty amazing people.

Then there was the next day.  I didn't really know what I wanted to do during the day, so I took Amara around and we saw some stuff.  We went to a really good restaurant close to the Louvre, then into the Louvre.  I saw the Egyptian stuff (I go there every time I go to the Louvre) and we also saw the required sites (Winged Victory, Liberty Leading the People, The Mona Lisa, that kind of stuff).  Then we headed over to the Eiffel Tower so Amara could see it during the day.  Unfortunately the clouds didn't make for a pretty sky, but the cherry trees were blooming so we still got some good pictures.  Then we headed home.

I had made a reservation at a restaurant called Refuge de Fondue.  It is pretty famous for serving wine in baby bottles.  Yes, actual baby bottles, nipple and all.  I still don't have a refined pallete so the red wine I got tasted gross, and I couldn't finish it.  Thankfully my friend Owen was there to do that for me.  Again, I had a great time, except for the fact that so many people canceled last minute.  But those that did come I really appreciated.  I had five different nationalities eating with me, including French.  The fondue was delicious too!

Looking back, this may not be the best birthday I have ever had, but it will be one of the most memorable in my life.  I don't think I would change anything about either of my birthday nights.  

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