So, in scary old lady news, I’m now twenty three. I’m just waiting for the grey hairs to pop up and the purchase of an expensive anti-wrinkle face cream to be necessary. But despite the whole being a third of way through my twenties thing, this birthday was different from normal as I wasn’t at home, with my dogs, my mum or any of my friends. Oh.
They say humans are creatures of habit, and when it comes to my birthday, I definitely am. For the last few years, birthdays for me have involved Parma ham and melon to start, cheddar cheese risotto, and strawberry and cream meringue with my family and [insert current boyfriend here]. And then the weekend nearest to my birthday involves a night out at either Newport or Ryde, if I’m feeling particularly unique. Except last year, when I was so hooked on the new Stephen King book, I cried it off with a ‘sore throat’ (sorry guys!).
But this year I was in… Bali. Yep, plot twist for anyone who reads this on the regular, I’m not in either of the places I set off to travel to. Nope, I was lucky enough to find a job au pairing (like a nanny that lives in) with an amazing family who just happened to be going to Bali over my birthday, and said I could come. And, surprise surprise, I was on a plane to Bali before you could say happy birthday.
Being a human sloth, and knowing approximately no one in Bali, I decided the best plan was to check into a spa and be pampered for the day… For £39. As fellow spa lovers will know, in the UK a massage alone could easily set you back £50 for an hour. But for my £39 I got a hot stone massage, a body scrub, a flower bath, a facial, a hair treatment and a mani/pedi. Bargain? I think so. I don’t think it’s possible to feel as relaxed as I did this April 9th.
Despite the beaut of a day spent at the spa, I still felt a bit meh for some of the day. I missed my family, my friends and my dogs more than the risotto (and I love that cheese risotto!). However, it’s pretty hard not to feel special when you awake to three children under six singing you happy birthday with that enthusiasm that only little people have, and a perfect brew made by their parents. And then there was the fancy Italian restaurant I was treated to in the evening and the (brilliant) hideous moment when a cake was bought out for me, with candles, singing waitresses and all. I really felt like part of a family for the day, even if it wasn’t my own family.
Not that they forgot about me, of course. I received a million and one messages and embarrassing baby pictures from my mum and dad, and a slightly panicky phone call from my poor mum when she realised she wouldn’t have time to make me a cake whilst it was still my birthday here. Yep, even on the other side of the world I still got a cake with candles. Pampered princess? I think so.
Having a birthday abroad is a weird thing, but if you surround yourself with the right people (and have a great family at home, like me), it can be one hell of a experience. As my mum aptly put it, ‘If you were at home right now, you’d be cold, still working at the same place, doing the same thing as you do every birthday. But instead, you’re in Bali, having an amazing time!’. Still missing that risotto though…