I have been here for 6 weeks now and we have already had 6 birthdays in my family back home including my own. These are times that you want to be with your family and celebrate it with people you love. Today is actually my aunt’s birthday which inspired this post so, Happy Birthday!
Presents for your family back home…
As I was saying I have been here 6 weeks and I left before the big birthday chaos started in my family back home in the Netherlands. Because I left so close I was able to sort out most of the presents before hand. I knew who I could trust to keep the presents and that they would be able to give them on time. This is a big must! You are unable to give the present so make sure that someone else can.
Extra things you can do…
I know in The Netherlands thay have it, and probably every other country, but I ordered a personalized card for my mom with our picture on it and a note inside it – also came with a balloon. It reminds them that you are thinking of them on their special day, also it is cheaper to ship cards nationally than it is internationally. Through these websites you can also get flowers delivered, and personalized pretty much anything.
I put that in parenthesis because unless you are flying home you can’t actually be there… I facetimed my mom/ brother etc when they were opening their presents (including mine) so I got to see their reactions and it felt almost like I was there. Although in corona times there were more people on the call and it wasn’t just me that was far away. But it is a nice way to have that interaction with them on birthdays. Try to set up a time so you can still do your thing but be there for them as well. They (hopefully) miss you as much as you miss them so take the time to do that for them. Plus if you call on their birthday they are probably more likely to call you on yours as well.
On my birthday I had 2 celebrations, well actually 3, but two on the day itself.
My mom got in touch with my host mom and sent, through Amazon mostly, presents to my new address here in Raleigh. My host parents took care of them and wrapped them and on my birthday they out them all out really nicely on the table for me to see when I woke up. It was really cute. At 14:00 my time my mom, dad, brother and aunt video called me so that I could open my presents. Yes I had to stare at the presents for half a day, but I didn’t take a peek, promise! They know me so well, most of my presents were revolved around Friends (the TV show) and wine… pretty much all I need in my life 😅
My host family
It started when I woke my oldest host kid up, the first thing he said to me was ‘happy birthday’ it was so cute! We had a little morning snuggle like we always do when he is drinking his milk and continued on with our morning routine. Which was a little more chaotic than usual because of the presents and balloons on the table. Oh well, I got them to school on time and I guess that is what counts.
When I picked them up from school I took them to the playground before taking them home. After dinner my host family surprised me with a mini chocolate cake… I say mini, it was still too big for us to finish. And they sang happy birthday to me. They also got me some presents, which I didn’t expect, they gave me an apron that says ‘best chef in the house’ and I don’t want to be mean but that’s probably true haha. I also received a 23andme kit which I have wanted to do! It’s a genealogy testing kit to see exactly where you are from and what percentage etc, I haven’t seen my results yet but I am very curious.
My host parents took me out to dinner the Sunday before my birthday which was amazing… definitely going back there! It was an Indian restaurant, and that is probably my favorite type of food so it was perfect.
On the Friday after my birthday I went out for a little birthday meal with 3 of my friends here (Thanks T for telling the waiters). We went to the Cheesecake Factory and I was sang to. If anyone wants an American birthday experience THIS IS IT! It was hilarious and cringeworthy at the same time. It was such a nice time though and they gave me a special cheesecake happy birthday plate.
Although it might be hard to celebrate your birthday in a way that you don’t usually, away from your family think of all the positives. You are in the middle of this amazing experience and this just adds to it!
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