Saturday, December 15, 2007

My 21st Birthday!

I celebrated my 21st birthday in St. louis this year. I documented almost the whole day in photos... At the university, there is a tradition where the birthday person gets woken up at 12 midnight on their birthday and all their friends and neighbors throw buckets of water on them. My friends woke me up and cracked eggs on my head and threw 21 buckets of water on me. It was a little chilly.


My luxurious birthday breakfast of Chai tea (thanks mom!) and an orange. Oh baby!


All dressed up for my 21st. Also, because I had an exam that day and I always dress up for exams...

Nervous for my exam to start. It was my first one in my history of Africa class. Like a blue book exam all in French. Funny story: the teacher didnt have enough copies of the question sheet for all the students so he asked us to share, and the students practically started a riot. They were yelling and pounding and standing up to walk out. Claire and I were slighly afraid, but it died down eventually.

Claire cooked me eggs for my birthday luncheon, and took my photo to remember how happy these past 20 years have been.


Then we negotiated a riot in the street in order to get off campus to go downtown.


We walked around downtown and then all went to dinner at this gorgeous hotel called La Maison Rose on the river. I ate a tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad and flan on the rooftop terrace. My friends bought me wine and some tequilla-bissap mix.

My friend Magueye stopped by that night to make sure that I laughed enough on my birthday. I went over to my friend Lamine's restaurant on campus and he made me a special drink from the fruit of the baobab tree. Steve Canada bought me a beautiful silver necklace with a cross and Sandra got me a gris-gris bracelet from the Artisan's village. Katarina gave me some tea and Jill and Ryan gave me chocolate and wine and a cool Kenyan instrument and a conga- a huge piece of beautiful cloth. Oh, and one of my other friends gave me a joint as a gift. Its the thought that counts.
After all the downtown shenanigans, Jill, Ryan, Claire and I returned home and drank wine and ate chocolate until the wee hours of the morning. It was really sweet. I was so grateful to have spent such a beautiful day in such a beautiful country with such beautiful friends. I wish I could have spent more time with my senegalese friends, however. And I was certainly missing my friends from home.
This morning I woke up and just felt kind of...anticlimatic. I took my roomate to the bus stop and she took off early this morning. After that, I went into our computer room and just got so so sad. I dont know why- it is unexplainable and selfish, I know. I just feel like Ive disappointed many of my (high) expecations for myself. Looking back on year 20, I was just amazed at all I was able to do and all the traveling that was made possible and all the love I got to share. Man, am I blessed. 20 was a good year. I'd buy it's wine. In the computer room, in the rosy red light of the African sunrise, I just sat and wallowed in self pity for a little bit, then decided that year 21 is going to be full of growth and experiences and joy and peace and love and lots and lots of laughter. Im not going to expect too much, and Im not going to worry about having all my ducks in a row at all times. I have a grand purpose. Now I have a good feeling about 21.

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