>My birthday TOTALLY counts as a holiday

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This post is part of a group blogging organized by Clare.

I agreed to do this group post before I realized: I’ve never spent a major holiday away from home. I have always been with my family or at home (usually both) for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I consider myself very lucky, but I realize it will make it even harder when I spend Thanksgiving (and maybe Christmas) in Chile next year.

Because of this I thought “Oh, I just won’t post” but then I cheated and read Clare’s post first and I realized I could post about my birthday because I consider it a holiday.

I turned 21 in Chile. Turning 21 in the US is usually a huge deal, involving copious amounts of alcohol and celebration. Despite not being a huge “partier” (as I once commented on Leigh’s blog) I was still kind of disappointed about turning 21 in a country where the drinking age is 18. But I was ready to party hardy regardless. However, my plans were halted when on April 1st, 4 days before my birthday, I became violently ill and had to go to the Urgencia (Happy April Fool’s Day to me!). I was severely dehydrated and had to receive three bags of liquid intravenously. I have never been thirstier in my life, but I wasn’t allowed to drink water because they were afraid it would make me vomit even more. It was not fun. When I was finally released, the doctor told me I coudn’t drink alcohol for 10 days and had to follow a very bland diet. So my birthday plans went out the window and I was pretty depressed, convinced that my birthday was going to suck.

On the night of April 4th I was on MSN chatting with J. and F. and we made plans to go ice skating at Cero Grado (in Parque Arauco) to celebrate my birthday. So that made me pretty happy. I was about to say goodbye to them around 11:30 to go to bed, but they insisited that I stay around (we were group chatting). I didn’t really understand why until at exactly midnight they both simultaneously sent me huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY and FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS messages which totally surprised me and made me so happy.

I can honestly say that the next day was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. First we went skating, then we went to the now defunct New York Bagels in Las Condes for lunch (I was craving some gringo food) and then to Bravissimo afterward. When I got back to my house my host mom had prepared a delicious once and we all sat around the table until late singing and chatting. Here’s a video that we took at Bravissimo that day:

From Chile Videos
It made me realize that even though I wasn’t at home and far away from most of my friends and all of my family, I was still able to enjoy myself. I’m so grateful to F., J. and my host family for making it a special day despite the fact that I couldn’t go out and get shwasty at a bar for my 21st. In fact, I’m sort of glad I couldn’t drink on my 21st…I can remember it all as if it were yesterday, something that wouldn’t have happened had I gotten really wasted in the US-style.
And to top it all off, we did end up having an asado (BBQ) the next weekend to “really” celebrate my birthday, complete with copete (drinks for all you non-Chilean speaking readers).

Check out some other group blogging participants:
Clare
Lydia
Leigh
Lauren
Emily

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