I’d always wanted a friend to either surprise me with or plan a bday get together. I thought it would’ve been done by a really close longtime friend but God had other plans. Instead, he had a girl from Suriname who I’d known for less than 2 months, arrange the most beautiful & emotional birthday celebration for me.
Date: April 2016
It was my first time celebrating my birthday away from family, friends & my Sweet Ste. Lici. I wasn’t down though, if anything, I welcomed it. Initially, the plan was to go to Florence for 2 days and witness their Easter Celebrations. Then Fa Lu suggested that we do something together. By that time, there were 5 of us, all females, in the same class & we had gotten really close and I had made wonderful connections with a few others. Despite that, I was in & out of whether it was worth having any celebration with anyone.
Maybe my fear was that they wouldn’t enjoy it, didn’t want to come or no one would really show up.
God bless Fa Lu’s soul for she never gave up on insisting that I have a celebration. Words can’t explain or show you how caring she is. Seeing how much she genuinely wanted me to be surrounded by love & laughter for my 24th bday finally made me agree to it!
Of all the evenings, on the day of the festa, was when the sky decided to cry, howl, wail & send down lightning. I walked from my residence to Fa Lu’s with my bright yellow umbrella sheltering me from the rain while in my other was the tuna sandwiches I made. I was determined not to let my St. Lucian-ness come out & cancel on them with the excuse - it’s raining, I can’t leave my home ! lol. After all, it was my dinner party & even more so, I was actually really excited. Why? For one, a friend planned it & two, all I had to do was show up!
I arrived late for my own dinner party obviously. Why not be late & fashionably dressed in a dress hand painted by a local designer? PS. I didn’t plan this. About 3 days before I left St. Lucia to travel to Italy, I saw Laura Bruce post a handpainted dress for sale. I didn't think twice, I instantly asked her to paint one up for me and maybe 2 days before I left, I collected it. Honestly, its one of the best clothing items that I've ever invested in. I was taking a piece of my homeland to Italy with me.
Menu: Tuna sandwiches, tomatoes with mozzarella topped with chocolate syrup, potatoes, corneto (croissant), cake, yogurt, snacks & wine!
I came to a dinner party filled with food made from love & with care; a chocolate cake & with females who enjoyed my company as much as I did theirs. Fa Lu bought me flowers which really made me emotional. Flowers are everywhere in Italy & I’d wanted to get some. But here’s the truth guys, when you’re a student living on a scholarship budget & trying to save as much money possible to feed your food fantasies, every cent counts.
Hugs & laughter surrounded me. While writing this, I think that it was a first for them as well – being able to celebrate with a new friend, in a foreign country. The entire night I felt as though I was living in a movie, everything was perfect. It’s really difficult to put into words what it is that I felt & the atmosphere. One thing I do know, is that had it not been for Fa Lu, I would have spent my 24th bday alone and had it not been for my friends who gave up their Saturday evening & wanted to show their admiration towards me, I probably would’ve spent the evening feeling lonely & sorry for myself.
Thank you to my friends who came out to spend the evening with me. Two were missing, Anita & Misato. Regardless, it's an evening that I will never forget & wouldn't mind reliving. Continue to be kind, beautiful & caring souls. I couldn't have asked for better friends to have celebrated this day with.
Most importantly, thank you Fa Lu for having a naturally caring, nurturing, loving & honest spirit. One will never be able to think of Siena & not think of you.
This part of my bday was great, the next part...not so much. On the next part of this journey I'll take you to a small town in Rome where I realized something very very profound yet obvious!