To me, birthdays are one of the most important events of the year along with Christmas. I absolutely LOVE birthdays, both others and my own but for the very first time in my life, I was going to be away on my own. Sure, I have had many a birthday in Sweden but they have always included family or at least my parents. This year I had to face my 23rd birthday in London, which fortunately isn’t one of the worst places to be if you want to celebrate. Another advantage of being split between two countries is the fact that I ended up celebrating my birthday about 4 times!
When I was home in Denmark a week before the actual day, I got my best friends together and had dinner at a Chinese restaurant in my hometown. As always it was absolutely great seeing them again, as I do miss them an awful lot and I will take any opportunity to eat Chinese food (being it my birthday, I got to choose where to eat).
I also cheated a bit and celebrated in traditional Danish style at home a week before the actual thing, doing all the things we normally do on birthdays in my family. I woke up to a beautifully set breakfast table that includedDanish pastries (and a sneaky French croissant or two), Danish flags and of course, presents)!! Later that day my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew came over for Danish fødselsdagsboller, lagkage og varm kakao (birthday buns, layer cake and hot chocolate). It was so great being with my family with all of us there together. I do sometimes get homesick and miss Denmark but the thing I miss the most about home is my family and my friends.
The day after my-pretend-birthday I headed back to London and had to wait another week until the actual thing. On Sunday the 2nd of March me and the boyfriend woke up for presents and breakfast in bed. After a delicious breakfast which consisted of croissants, strawberrys and *gasp* whitegold jewellery, we turned to the window to see what the weather was like. Sadly but very typically for London it turned out to be a gloomy, overcast and cold day, so we had to cancel our plans of going on a boat trip on the Regent’s Canal (and also plan B: a trip in the London Eye. Really there is no point when you can’t see a thing for clouds). The boyfriend quickly came up with a plan C and so we headed for Piccadilly Street and Hatchards (the oldest bookshop in UK apparently), to spoil ourselves with some (more!) books. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed, not with the stock but the fact that it looked like any other Waterstones. I got Iréne Nemirovsky’s Le Bal, The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen and The Spectre of Alexander Wolf by Gaito Gasdanov. Weighed down by books we went for a warming cup of hot chocolate and lunch to warm up from the chill on the street before we headed back home.
The Monday after was the last of my birthday celebrations. I threw a party in the kitchen and invited some of my favourite people in London, to show them how a Danish birthday is celebrated. I baked fødselsdagsboller with the help of a housemate, decorated the table with Danish flags, put plenty of traditional Danish sweets on the table and threw a “shoe-lace” eating competition – basically everyone has to eat their strings of liquorice as fast as possible without using their hands. It was so much fun and a nice break from studying. And one of the girls had made me the most delicious French Chocolate Cake!
Really, I don’t think I could have asked anything more of my birthday. After all, I was being rather spoiled having 4 of them! With all of that celebration I think I won’t have any problem waiting another year for the next one. *