When it comes to counting age in Japanese, the only weird number is the one for 20 years old: “hatsuka” although in kanji it is still written the same way in Chinese. Nevertheless, this post will be one to reflect upon the day that was my 20th birthday party and on my thoughts and feelings of the things that led up and happened on the day.
I’ve never been one to care much about my birthday, let alone my birthday. It’s not really a day where I care about how I’ve turned a year older or about what type of presents I would be receiving that year, if I was receiving any. As such I guess I prefer letting my birthday just pass by silently, without anyone noticing and making any sort of fuss over it. I really do still wonder how it is that I eventually organised a birthday party for myself, and how so many people were invited and actually came. I suppose at the end of the day I should care about my birthday because it was a day where people showed that they cared about me.
In the morning I had organised LAN although I never forced any RSVP on it; and that was because there was no need to book for LAN, nor to find out exactly how many people were coming. After all, you can game with as many or as few people. However, at 11am I would never have expected no-one to come. Apart from Jacky who accompanied me to the city, there was only Andrew and William who was there. Jacky ran off with Brandon to organise my present while I camped in City Hunter for three hours playing games with the other two. I think it was a pretty fun 3 hours; I mean, these were two people I haven’t gamed with much and so it was good to spend some time with them. We played Left For Dead 2 for a while and then Team Fortress 2; yeah that took up 3 hours. I wanted to play Black Ops or Modern Warfare 2, but our cheap $2.50/hr computers didn’t have them haha!
After LAN the three of us went to Subway off George St because I was still suffering from a stomach virus, which I now don’t believe was food poisoning but in fact an illness I caught off my brother. It caused a very dismal Christmas for me. Soon after lunch, people started arriving for karaoke. But throughout the morning, I was already being spammed with a lot of text messages about where people were, and whether they were still coming or not. Honestly, it was very hard to keep track of where people were.
Many people were either late to karaoke, coming for dinner only, or weren’t able to make it at all. I guess that was a bit of a disappointment having people say they were going to come but in the end changing their minds and such. Nonetheless, there were still a fair number of people who came. The bad thing today was that there was a surcharge (stupid Christmas being on Saturday) of $2. But funnily enough, the 15% birthday discount reduced the price back down to $12 ($11.9166666) to be exact. Because people weren’t here at 3:30pm, they let us sing for half an hour and then coming back out to pay at 4pm. By then we had about enough people to fill our one whole room and maximise the discount. But at that time as well, many late people had also come and it was difficult for me to count the number of people who were now here. It was also hard for the staff to keep track of this number as well; and so when it came to paying I believe not everyone was charged. What none of you saw was that after I gathered $12 from everyone and paid, I actually had $16 left over. It was as if I didn’t pay my share AND made a $4 profit haha! Worry not, I kept that in mind for the rest of the evening.
The two karaoke rooms were split into high school friends in one, church in another, and CBS people constantly mixing around in both as we always do. Both rooms doubled up on songs, and I had to keep jumping back and forth between rooms to catch up with everyone that had come. Mandy at the last moment had decided to come to karaoke and of course I was especially fearful of what would probably happen at karaoke; dinner was a separate issue as well. Nevertheless, I think I took enough preventative measures to delay the inevitable, and I was glad the room she seized was the one with fewer people, and the one where nearly everyone knew what was going on. There were a still a couple of confused and worried faces but everyone did their best to provide support.
Presents had also begun to stream in and so I kind of just dumped them all over the place since I was more engaged with talking to people than securing my presents into a single pile. My voice was somewhat more dead than usual that day; it died before the three hours was up. Everyone made me sing Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” by myself, with my cracked voice. I do wonder whether people were laughing at me or with me the entire time. But yes, everyone sang happy birthday towards the end of the three hours, and I mustered the courage to stand and face my friends at that moment. I already said before I didn’t like making a fuss over my own birthday and I really do have difficulty accepting any sort of “special treatment” for that day. By this time most people had arrived; there were several late comers who were just early for dinner.
Again, I want to make clear that I refused to give a speech on that day for the reason that I had no words prepared and in order to give a proper speech regarding all my friends, I really do have to sit down and take time to think things through thoroughly.
Everyone went ahead after karaoke to go to dinner. The reason I trailed behind was to help Mandy, who struggled to walk. I would definitely have been a bad host and friend if I had just gone ahead and not waited for everyone; it’s definitely not my style to neglect even one person. The funny thing was that I had to keep relaying orders to the forward group to tell them to eat, even though by the time we got there (which was 15 mins later) my table was still the first one to order T.T”
We went to Kobow which isn’t too bad a place as a Korean restaurant, but there were many that were better, but perhaps not cheaper. Again because of my stomach virus, there was a restriction on what I could and could not eat. Rather there wasn’t anything I could eat, but I had hot pot anyway, it was probably the safest option. Halfway through dinner, people made me go around to each table to have them toast their drinks to me; this is definitely something I would never do by myself. The bad thing about the whole ordeal was that I had a shot glass with Korean shots poured into them at each table. I stopped at what I believed was the second shot, but everyone else said it was my third; definite signs of getting drunk there. So thank you guys for trying to get me drunk. There were many things I did which even I was aware was due to the influence of alcohol. I had about a third or more of a bottle of soju (funny, I played some guy on StarCraft with that name) which apparently approximated 3 standard drinks; that’s probably more than what I would have safely tried for my first time drinking (properly).
I went around talking with as many people as I could again and despite Mandy getting into trouble with the people around us, there was still a pretty good vibe amongst everyone. I was glad to have been able to catch up people I haven’t really had a chance to speak with for a long time, as well people I haven’t seen for ages as well. It turned into a pretty good night and we stayed for quite a while even after we had all finished eating.
Again my stomach was not in the mood for any sort of dessert; but luckily neither was anyone else. So instead, I took everyone to George St McDonald’s near Town Hall and I used the surplus I had obtained from karaoke, to buy a bunch of soft serve cones for everyone. And with the help of Leslie’s employee’s card, I saved 20% off for 22 soft serve cones. The staff were kind of puzzled at our order and it took them a while to churn out all 22 cones. Some people *ahem* Sharon were a bit impatient in waiting for their free soft serve cone but eventually everyone was satisfied. To be fair, even after buying everyone ice cream I still had a bit of a surplus; oh well.
We lingered outside McDonald’s for a while afterwards again, nearly blocking pedestrians as we normally do. Eventually people started going home, and I thanked everyone for coming.
All in all, I really enjoyed my birthday party that day, even though my self esteem kept from feeling up for it. I guess I’m still touched, though not emotionally as much as I should be, by everyone for their company and their kind thoughts. But this point will be further reflected in my proper reflection post coming soon. In the mean time, thank you to everyone who did come, or who tried to come. Though I haven’t pondered much on the presents I received, I am still very thankful for even the smallest of gifts. To close things off on a decent note, here is a picture of all your birthday cards to me sitting above my desk: