January 20, 2016

Party Like It's 1986

The last time I had a birthday party with more than five people invited, I was sixteen.

It was a good party with the friends I thought I was supposed to have as the person I thought I was supposed to be. Not many days after my party full of food and charades, my best friend died in a car accident.

I guess I wasn't really up for party planning in January for a while.

My last truly memorable birthday was my twenty-first, spent at a dance club and Denny's with my college best friend and two random acquaintances who happened to be in town during the winter vacation. We didn't even have any
alcohol, but that's probably why it's so easy to remember now.

For whatever reason, turning thirty inspired the comeback to a real birthday party. I had some really big plans that included karaoke and a potluck, but a location was difficult to secure. Instead, my German teammates called every Asian restaurant within an hour drive to see if they had sushi and a place to have a birthday party.

Ultimately, I really only wanted one thing.

I wanted it to be an 80s party.

This birthday party was so important to me. In the past, I've downplayed my planning and expectations for events in order to not be disappointed or frustrated. But I couldn't help but have high hopes and expectations for this party. I didn't exactly know what to expect from all my new friends, but they all looked incredible!!! (Especially after we started cracking into the glow sticks!)

I was completely thrilled with the result, the sushi restaurant my friends found was awesome, and we were having a really great time. We had even won both of our matches this weekend, and, of course, that made everyone even happier.

Then my sneaky friends called me to the front of the group.

"We know you didn't want any gifts, but open it."

"It" was an enormous box. I had no idea what could possibly be inside, and was actually afraid it would be a puppy or something else that I really, REALLY did not want.

I cautiously lifted back the cardboard flaps. It took a second to register what I was looking at, then I went into shock and surprise tears.

They got me a piñata.

If you have a winter birthday, you might understand. All the spring and summer birthday parties I went to were outside, and usually had a huge piñata hanging on a tree. My indoor parties never included swinging for candy, and it had always made me a little bit sad.

So why was I so surprised? First of all, I've only known these people not even five months. Secondly, my invitations specifically said "no gifts." And finally, after thirteen, I think even the summer birthday people give up hoping for a piñata at their party.

I didn't realize how much I'd always wanted a piñata. I talk about never having one at my childhood birthdays, but I also talk about never getting a mini motorized car or a pony. I did get a kitten when I was ten (thanks, parents!), and little Bandit was probably my favorite childhood gift I ever received (plus, he was still cool sixteen years later!).

It is incredible that a foreigner can move to a place and have such an awesome birthday experience not even half a year later. I will never forget my thirtieth birthday party because my friends made it so perfect. They literally blew my mind with the gifts of their hilarious 80s outfits and the piñata that I didn't even know was so important to me until I opened that giant box.

Thank you for loving sushi, enjoying looking ridiculous, and making all of my childhood birthday party dreams come true.

Linking up with Practical Mondays!