i’m 21! (Explaining Everything part 2/2)

On Tuesday May 21st, I turned 21! I felt so spoiled and special; people showered me with greetings and messages and it was the BEST. I always have trouble handling birthdays, like I don’t want to come off as obnoxious but it’s been a while since I felt good about celebrating my birthday so – you’ll see soon – I kind of just did more this year. I didn’t do anything special in particular that day BUT my mom packed me spaghetti for lunch and I was proud I didn’t skip any classes and I even went to the gym with my Visions pals like we had planned (cheers for not flaking even though I was really really really really close to doing so). By the time I got home, everyone had already eaten dinner but it was still delicious: thai food and cheese wontons and pad see ew, plus Sam made me brownies with ice cream and Ethan drew a card of me with BTS. What more could I ask for honestly

Friday the 24th was karaoke night! So if you didn’t know (and you shouldn’t because I haven’t told you yet LOL), I had been wanting to go karaoke-ing for the longest time and I also wanted to go all out for a birthday just once, to feel unashamed of saying “it’s my birthday!” and not be so afraid of looking narcissistic and obnoxious and EXTRA. A couple reasons why I tried to play it different this year: first, it’s my golden birthday! Turning 21 on the 21st! I’d been waiting for this since fourth grade, when I discovered “golden birthdays” were a thing (shoutout to Ms. Blume who celebrated the whole week turning 29 on January 29). Second, I hated that I was waiting for other people to throw a party for me and the only way to combat this privileged anticipation was to just take it up in my own hands and do it myself. So I planned this on my own, which makes me proud because I haaaaaaaaaate planning things, I haaaaaate big events….and I haaaaaaate planning big events dedicated to ME HAHAH. 

Originally, I had wanted to invite as many people as I could. Trust me, if I could gather a bunch of my favorite people in one room singing all night, I would have, but then the venue expense and availability of guests became an issue and I eventually settled to keep it small and comfortable. One of the dilemmas of being a floater with no solid friend circle is that everyone is from different spheres and even if you and your friend get along, there’s no promising that your friend will get along with your other friend, ya know? So yes, small group. Eight of us, total.

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My favorite thing, though? The THEME *sparkle* *sparkle* *sparkle*

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I made a Pinterest board here: https://pin.it/ecdbqwvckjkapg and it’s probably one of the funnest things to look back on. Basically, I wanted everyone to channel their “Fairy Goddess/Spring Day/Cherry Blossom” alter-egos for no good reason except for the fact that I wanted to be a cherry blossom fairy goddess ready to welcome any sign of blooming spring days (should they decide to come my way lol).

The day of, I would say I was feeling the stress and what was it…anxiety (?) of having a big event. I finished class early and went home to take a nap I couldn’t afford. You’d think i’d jump to action as soon as I realized that I woke up an hour late, but instead I lounged on the couch and ate chips for a good thirty minutes until my contacts readjusted. And then I showered and got ready and again, I tried my best to slip into a suit of confidence – pink sparkly makeup, new necklace, new shirt, good-fitting jeans, straightened hair,  but with same old earrings, same old rings, same old perfume too just to keep some of the comfort with me. Compared to previous dark-lip disaster at the exhibit, I felt MUCH better and much more confident and ready to handle the rest of the night. 

Once we got there, I walked up to the only employee and said, “Hi we have a reservation for 5:30” (mind you, the reservation was originally at 5 and my sister had already asked to push the time down since we were all running late) and the Korean man – very unamused – said “You’re too late. I cancelled your reservation.” And in all my sparkling, hair-straightened, shiny shirt glory, I just blinked back and said, “What?” He held up his phone screen and said, “It’s 5:35. I told you to come on time at 5:30. I gave the room to another group.” and by this time, i was like ok what else can i do now? I asked “Well is there any other room we can book right now then?” and he clicked his pen twice before saying “I can switch you. I give you the party room even though you signed up for the large room.” At first, I didn’t understand, but apparently, we got upgraded for the price of a smaller room which was great in retrospect but I also don’t like thinking about my interaction with the worker over there. He was mean and it took me a lot to kind of stand up for what I was there for and not concede in defeat.

The karaoke room itself was nice; lights and bongos and one stand mic and two TV screens and it was really fun. Good thing Shawn was with me because she understood all the instructions that the guy was giving, so she knew how to work the system the whole night. I was also VERY appreciative because she just dove right into singing (I was afraid that it would take a while for all of us to warm up to singing in front of each other) but within seconds, bruno mars was booming through the speakers and we were belting ‘if you ever leave me baybeH…’ and from there, it was like the time went by in zooming minutes. Two hours is definitely not enough for karaoke – there was no time for us to digest all the fun we were having because we knew we needed to make the best of our two hours; we were constantly scrambling over the books and the touch screen just to make sure we had another song queued up asap LOL and I kept asking “What time is it ahh what time is it oh man how bout now what time is it?” We ended the night with Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September” and then took pictures in the room. Bless my friends (specifically Sabrina) who literally had to position my limbs in a way that’d maximize my “coolness” and “badassery”, as per my request. It was a night of alter egos after all.

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And then after that, we took pictures in front of this blue wall which is when I get to say -again – how much I appreciate my friends for willing to pose and be patient enough for pictures. There were a lot of times when cars would be passing through and I was very very very very very embarrassed but good thing nobody else felt shy or ashamed that we were being extra and taking pictures in this plaza where ‘facial and waxing’ was stamped on windows behind us.

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Aside from sips of wine in Europe and the accidental taste test I took in the Philippines of this fruit smoothie (it was not a fruit smoothie), this really is my first time drinking alcohol intentionally. And honestly, it wasn’t much HAHA. It took me several tries to take my first (and only) shot of soju; the first time, as I was drinking the milk soda to sandwich the alcohol in between the chase, I missed my mouth and it spilled all over my chin because I was so nervous. It felt like drinking medicine with EVERYONE looking at you. But again, my friends were super patient and helpful and they taught me how to take it step by step. I will learn how to drink properly one day….hopefully. 

There was a point when I went to the bathroom and when I walked out, it was all dark and they started singing happy birthday and when the lights finally came on, Shawn was holding a dead 3-wick candle from Bath and Body Works. As soon as I knew it, it was midnight and Patty drove me home which was also one of my favorite parts because i got to wind down and talk for a little bit like old times.

Needless to say, it was very nice and I am very glad I got to celebrate.

This whole week was filled with clusters of unforgettable experiences peppered with moments of insecurity and doubt – I don’t want you to think that it’s a one-dimensional period of bliss – because it wasn’t. I’ve tried to detail some of the meh moments that grounded me but also looking back at these photos, I’d like to think that I tried to enjoy in the present as much as I could. 

Woohoo! I hope the update sufficed!

*again, header photo isn’t mine! found on the pinterest board that I linked above hehe*

2 thoughts on “i’m 21! (Explaining Everything part 2/2)

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