30: Happy Birthday!
This time last year I was piecing my life together on the Seoul Subway, during that November 2019 weekend I had boarded a flight from Beijing to Seoul, South Korea! That carefree birthday weekend for my 29th gave me life as I swigged Soju in Itaewon! Little did I know that twelve months on from that electric moment, I would be in England under 'lockdown' turning 30! Oh!
After being back in England for about 10 months, I had already prepared myself for my 30th birthday to be spent in the United Kingdom! 'Lockdown 2.0?' For the first time since 2014, I was about to spend my birthday in dreary old England! Was I dreaming? I wasn't in China! But more importantly, was I mad about this situation? No, I had originally planned a weekend that would be spent in Shanghai for my 30th birthday, along with my friend Chris we would be hitting the bars and getting into lots of mischief with those 很帅的中国男! That means 'Handsome Chinese Men!' Using the train wreck that has been 2020, I pulled myself together on the day my birthday came around. I wasn't expecting any presents, truthfully it was all about the day being spent with family because the silver-lining about being back, I could create great homegrown memories for that milestone celebration of life! Bilston might not be Beijing or Seoul, I appreciated the hometown settings, I could set new goals! 明年我的生日在上海! 也许东京? OK!
What did I get? I was all about those useful gifts! Appreciating the 'greca' stove coffee pot, I was lucky enough to get some ground Colombian coffee to make the perfect morning 'lockdown cup!' The dark chocolate was another nice gift that would be consumed sparingly, I also had some pork scratchings. A pair of joggers made my day, my 2020 'lockdown' wardrobe has been all about comfort! The hip-flask was also welcomed, as 'Ms. Kasha Davis' says 'there's always time for a cocktail!' Taking of a cocktail, I had my own mixing set with all the necessary utensils to make that perfect drink! Make mine a lovely 'Long Island Iced Tea', because hell I am missing that wonderful week that I spent in NYC, NJ & PA last December! Feeling like I needed a caffeine fix without breaking out my 'greca', I enjoyed the two Starbucks coffees that can be seen in the photo above. As those years past me by, I don't want the presents like I did when I was a kid or teen because as an adult, it has been about being abroad! 2020 wanted a reset! Oh, Rona!
Birthday Cake! The last memorable birthday cake that I had enjoyed was after a long day of teaching at my former Wuhan kindergarten when I had turned 26 years old. It was memorable because I was told I had to leave my then apartment, to be fair the cake symbolised a move to an apartment that was of a high quality. So cake held the key to a life-altering event? Maybe? Figuring that my birthday would be spent in England, I hadn't received any news regarding my return to China. Because of that lack of information I knew that my birthday had to be absolutely stunning! The extra time at home was just so, it gave me the opportunity to make my 'Puerto Rican' inspired 'rum and coconut' cake with my Nan. The morning spent together was nice, it was a moment to be cherished because I am usually not home for such an occasion! Leaving my cake to the rest, I had baked it the day before my birthday. I think I was and I'm dealing well considering my birthday month has been in lockdown. Yes, this birthday reset was meant to be!
With my cake baked, I had also been cooking up a storm the previous two Saturdays before my actual birthday fell! Taking the flavours from the 'enchanted island' I cooked up my own 'Pollo Guisado' that I served with 'Platanos Maduros', 'Arroz Blanco' and 'Habichuelas Dominicano!' So, I did borrow some 'Dominican' flavours! Busted! The following week, I went to town with my cooking endeavours because I put together the triple threat! The weekend before my birthday I cooked 'Picadillo Con Papas' with 'Carne Empanadas' on the side. That pre-birthday weekend meal saw me drinking a few 'Piña Coladas' that were all freshly made! That was just my luck, I needed that cocktail mixing set during that pre-birthday moment! On the night of my birthday on the 14th of November 2020, I cooked myself a Vietnamese feast for a change. Making my own type of 'Beef Pho', the handmade 'Summer Rolls' and 'Iced Coffee' recreated that December 2019 NYC Chinatown memory! It was my 'Special Day' and my 'Special Month!' That was in the style of 'Jimbo' from Canada's Drag Race! ¡La comida es cultura! ¡La cultura está en todas partes! ¡Si!
My gifts from my aunties were lovely! I loved my hamper that was filled with goodies, I had some more pork scratchings because one can never have too many! I appreciated those 'Peanut M&Ms' because they definitely weren't cheap! Both my aunties had made a montage of my life in video form, it was themed around 'Rupaul's Drag Race' with all the right 'Rupaul' anthems! I was half expecting a video cameo from one of my favourite queens but they wanted stupid amounts of money for a short clip! I loved my 'Baga Chipz' birthday card, this year hasn't been what I wanted it to be but I hope that 2021 will be 'Much Betta!' Enjoying more cake, I could definitely taste more of the coconut in the butter cream, the previous days slice tasted just as good but the cold of the conservatory had allowed the flavours to infuse further. Keeping to the guidelines, the cake was made in a safe setting because I have been in a close contact bubble with my Grandparents since the pandemic started. My 30th birthday in 'lockdown' wasn't bad at all! No!
As mentioned in the second segment of this post, I cooked up a storm on the evening of my birthday. Being that I couldn't go out on the town, I tucked into a few bottles of wine and put on my own music because no bars or clubs were open during that 'lockdown' birthday! Looking back on my 30th birthday in the here and now, I am not mad that I have found myself on the wrong side of the world this year. It wasn't what I had in mind for my milestone birthday but I did amazingly well in Seoul last year that closed my 20s. Throughout this year I have been able to gain maximum perspective and to enter my 30s with a clear state of mind. I know that next year I will be able to add something extra to my 31st birthday but the memories made this year won't be topped. I feel like this year has been a reset, after returning home from China I have had to rewrite the book of life. This birthday has taught to appreciate the things that are important first! My Niece and Nephew, I saw them in picture form on my birthday morning!
The 30s Club!