1992 in the house! (Or, in the pool.)
I was fortunate to have really great birthday parties during pretty my whole childhood, to the point where it became ingrained in me that birthdays were important, my birthday was important, and parties should be expected. Throughout the years, I have thrown birthday parties for a bunch of my friends because BIRTHDAYS ARE IMPORTANT! And obviously I have tried to give my kid memorable birthdays as well, whether it’s in the form of a party or a destination birthday (it will be hard to beat his Disney surprise!).
Because my birthday is in July, I almost always had pool parties at my Pappap’s house, only deviating from that two or three times when I opted to have my party at VIP in South Park because they had, wait for it, a pool and an outdoor skating rink. I requested T’Pau’s Heart & Soul as my birthday skate song every time.
And because I was a spoiled rich girl, there were also several occasions when I aged a year in Europe. (*blows on fingertips* lol) Henry LOVES when I bring up those birthdays. I had a very golden childhood, OK? I can’t help it!
But the best birthday memories were definitely the ones I had my Pappap’s house because he loved playing the role of Grillmaster and would brag to all of my friends about how great his grill-skills were. He was the best and while some girls would be embarrassed if their dad or whoever had the audacity to speak to their friends, I was always so proud because everyone loved my Pappap!
He died in the winter of 1996. My 16th birthday was that summer and while, if things had been different, I probably would have had the big blowout co-ed (omg lol) bash that we had been talking about, I fell into a depression and shoved away any attempt of acknowledging my birthday. Lisa tried to have a small dinner for me at Houlihan’s and I just couldn’t bring myself to it because it was my first birthday without my Pappap and I WANTED TO BE ALONE. #Chapter16ofErinsSobStory
I have a vague recollection of allowing Lisa and Christy to come over and eat birthday cake for my 17th birthday while standing in the kitchen and my brothers running around being jerks.
My 18th birthday was spent in Psycho Mike’s piece of shit 1980-something Omni with no A/C, driving around looking for places that was selling the new Bone Thugs-n-Harmony CD that came with the commemorative coin. We eventually found it but I’m pretty sure we also had a huge fight and I cried a lot, so happy 18th birthday to me.
(No, I don’t still have that coin.)
My royal 19th.
By the time I was about to turn 19, I was ready to give parties another go. I threw myself this ridiculous three-day long birthday party marathon, each night bringing different people to my townhouse in Payne Hill, and while it was incredibly fun in the moment, it culminated in a bipolar breakdown which saw me leaving my own party on the last night, in the wee hours of the morning, and driving with no direction while scream-crying to Foo Fighter’s Everlong.
So, that was that…
I spent my 21st birthday in the hospital because I was suicidal and some of my friends dragged me there kicking and screaming.
I spent my 30th birthday helping a friend move into a new apartment and need I remind you that my birthday is in July so yay heatstroke. I think Henry made me a grilled cheese for dinner that night. Happy 30th birthday to me.
And now my 40th birthday is coming up. Another milestone and I really didn’t want this to pass by with no celebration. However, I am tired of throwing myself parties and I’m not going to expect that any of my friends will do it–they’re busy and have their own shit to think about! And trust me, I’m lucky if I even get a fucking birthday CARD from Henry, hahahakillme. I know this is probably shocking, but I am a SUPER DRAMATIC LEO, especially when it comes to birthdays. I’m like, what did Prince say about his mother that one time – never satisfied.
So I decided last year that I was going to take matters in my own hands and that was when I declared that I would be spending my 40th birthday in Korea like I’m still that little spoiled brat who grew up in Jefferson Hills and not an only-just-barely-not-poor adult living in shitty Brookline.
I didn’t want to go into this with dread, like, “OMG I’m officially so old now” because 40 isn’t old, just like 30 wasn’t old. And now, after working hard to make this happen (thank you, tax refund, for all your help), I get to be in my favorite place, with my favorite people (Henry and Chooch, in case it wasn’t clear, lol), doing all kinds of fun things for like 12 days!
So far, the definitive set-in-stone required-a-reservation already-booked plans we have are:
- attending a live recording of a Kpop countdown show on my actual birthday (SBS MTV’s The Show.)
- visiting the DMZ/Joint Security Area
- spending a night in the VIP room of G-Dragon’s Dolce Bita pension in Pocheon!
Other things we will be doing:
- Lotte World amusement park!
- A day trip to Jeonju, birthplace of bibimbap
- Spending some time in Incheon, which is home to Korea’s largest Chinatown and a little boardwalk park called Wolmido (it has one of those crazy Disco Pang Pang rides)
- Eating as much bingsu as possible
- Getting giddy over the subway jingles
And so much more! I want to be more relaxed this time. Our first time there, I feel like all we did was run around like crazy people, trying to figure things out and see everything on my list, and of course we had fun, but wow – the stress levels were high on that one.
We’re staying in Hongdae this time, which is my absolute favorite neighborhood of Seoul. Buskers galore! It’s near Hongik University and there is a lot of youth and vibrancy in this area so hopefully some of it will get absorbed into my soon-to-be 40-year-old hag-skin, haha.
Yesterday in the work kitchen, Sandy asked me if we’re going to Korea every year now. Don’t I wish! This was an exception. We are not rich people!
So basically, my 40th birthday will only suck if I let it!