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Birthday weekend in Paris

Birthday weekend in Paris

Exactly a week ago, I had my 30th birthday. I must say, for someone who is not so much into celebrating birthdays, this year has been pretty much…epic!

I’ve always been curious on what I would feel on my 30th birthday. For others, leaving the 20s is a dreadful moment – I guess when you’re at your 30’s you can’t blame on your age anymore on some bad decisions or indecision you make in life. Or, I guess it is also because some people think that you’re supposed to figure out life by 30 (now that can be a scary thought!). For others, 30 is finally an age they’ve been waiting for – it is the age when people start looking at you as a real adult in your workplace, not some striving young professional trying to make it in the business. In my case, I was excited to celebrate my 30th birthday simply because I know I am entering a new season in my life. I know that sounds vague but that’s not why I’m writing this, to expound that would be like writing a book.

The Celebrations

I think it is only fair to say that for my birthday this year, I celebrated friendship. I would not have had a memorable birthday if it were not for my friends. The truth is, Geneva would have been such a lonely place if it were not for my friends. Yes, my top 3 secrets to enjoying to Geneva have been:

  1. Invest on friendships
  2. Enjoy travelling
  3. Appreciate alone time

Triple Birthday and A Farewell Celebration

(My family in Geneva) L-R: Abel, Bhabes, Nenette, Me, and Godi

(My family in Geneva) L-R: Abel, Bhabes, Nenette, Me, and Godi

On the 6th of April, we had a fiesta at the Gray’s to celebrate 3 birthdays (Mike, Nenette, and mine’s) and to say see-you-again to one of my families in Geneva, Bill and Bhabes. It was an Asian-themed feast… we even had a lechon! I always enjoy these get-togethers even though this one was bitter-sweet.

Birthday Lunch, An Anonymous Gift, and We Were Off to Paris

It was particularly more-than-the-ordinary busy at work the week of my birthday. But as early as Monday, I already started receiving birthday cards and greetings from friends.

On my actual birthday, I was greeted with a birthday card on my desk from my boss and his wife (with a PS saying they have a gift for me but he forgot to bring it). Before turning on my laptop, I quickly went to the area in our floor where we put food that we would like to share to everyone. On that day, I brought special pain au chocolat. As I didn’t want the attention, I tried to sneak the pain au chocolat but someone eventually caught me… and usually, if someone brings that much food that means it is his/her birthday. So, at early morning, half of the people in our floor have already greeted me.

Lunch was truly a treat! First, my boss treated me to lunch at Café du Soleil. Second, it was a double birthday lunch because it was also the birthday of one of our security colleagues from another agency. Now, at least I know 2 people with the same birthday as mine.

After lunch, as I came back to my office, I saw a gift on my chair without a tag. I thought it was from Nenette who earlier called to greet me and told me she’ll drop by my office to give a gift. Since I was trying to finish everything at work by 5 pm (our train to Paris was at 5:45 pm), I only called Nenette after an hour of seeing the gift. When Nenette picked up the phone, I thanked her for the gift. She replied “you’re welcome. Sorry, I’m quite busy at the moment, is it okay if you get your gift here in my office? “. So, apparently it wasn’t from her. I asked around whom the gift was from or who left it in my office… no one knew. To whomever it was from, thank you! It’s a really nice scarf.

At 5 pm, I left the office to catch the 5:45 pm train to Paris with my friends Nicol, Sarah, another Sarah, Kaisa, and Jordan (Tara and Tya took the later train). The train ride was beautiful! You see, we’ve been having some crappy weather in Geneva the whole week. So, when the sun shone at 7 pm (at one point, I had to wear my sun glasses because it was too bright), I couldn’t help but appreciate God’s little birthday treat. After everyone has arrived in Paris, Yann took us to a bar for a little drink before calling it a night.

The Big Weekend in Paris

Birthday dinner in Paris organized by Nicol and Yann :)

Birthday dinner in Paris organized by Nicol and Yann 🙂

On Saturday, we did a sight-seeing/shop-seeing walk from Notre Dame to Champs Elysee. We also discovered a cheap but really good Japanese restaurant close to the Louvre.

At night, Yann took us to this French restaurant for my birthday dinner. The food was awesome (at least based on what I had)! Having dinner in Paris with these girls and guys made me realized how much blessed I am to have these nice people around me.

After dinner, we went to Barrio Latino, a salsa club in Paris. As I said to my friends, I don’t remember the last time I had to line up to get in a club… with that alone, I knew it was going to be a fun night! Barrio Latino is a 5-floor club (they serve dinner on the upper floors). Although it’s a salsa club, they played quite a variety of music genre that night – which I appreciated since I’m not exactly a salsa dancer. Overall, it was one of the best nights ever since I moved to Europe almost 3 years ago.

Surprisingly, everyone got up pretty early the following day. On that Sunday, the weather was fantastic! It was so warm that we didn’t need to put a sweater on. It was the perfect weather to end the weekend in Paris. To enjoy this rare opportunity, we decided to have a picnic at a park by the Eiffel Tower. For me, it was a perfect, relaxing day with friends. At 2 pm, Jordan and I had to leave the group since we were both catching the earlier train back to Geneva.

Wrapping up the Paris weekend with a picnic

Wrapping up the Paris weekend with a picnic

In Conclusion

As I reflected on my birthday last week, I asked myself what made me want to celebrate my birthday this year. I realized it’s not because 30 is a milestone – it was merely an excuse for the big celebrations. I celebrated my birthday this year because my friends made sure of it. And this is why I dedicate my birthday this year to celebrate friendship.

With this, I sincerely thank all my friends in Geneva (especial mention to Nicol and Yann)… I appreciate you all so much!

 

Hugs,

~I

PS. Guys, thank you for the cool gift! hahaha!

PS. Guys, thank you for the cool gift! hahaha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You!

TripAdvisor's Top 18% Most-Read Reviews of All Time

I recently received a message from TripAdvisor that I’m among their top 18% most-read reviewers of all time! Wow, thank you!

When I decided to start a blog about Geneva and travelling Europe, I didn’t think it would become more of a travel review blog. To be honest, I just wanted to document my trips in case I come back to the same place again or if a friend asks for recommendations. However, after travelling for a while, I realized how good, honest reviews in TripAdvisor really helped me maximized the things I should enjoy when travelling – good restaurants, excellent hotels, places to see, etc. Though I’ve seen really helpful reviews on travel blogs or sites, I sometimes find a couple of details that are missing (details that may not necessarily be important to others but necessary to me). Thus, I started writing my blog in a review format.

I have to admit, I’m not really good in updating this blog regularly… working in the field of security for a humanitarian organization is not exactly a walk-in-the-park. Nevertheless, I really appreciate the messages I’ve been receiving from the readers. So once again, thank you!

Have a great Easter weekend everyone! I’ll be celebrating Easter in my top-most favorite city in Europe and I’ll tell you about it soon!

Ciao!

~I.