Last weekend we celebrated my birthday. I know, shock of shocks, I'm behind! Last Friday I turned 29, or as I have been saying here, " la precipice du trente." I've never been too big on birthdays for no other reason than I've never had a very good time when I was younger. It was always the same meal with the same cake and the same gift. It's not that I didn't appreciate what my parents and family did for me, but that, I just never really saw what the big deal was though.
So I went to college and I started having more fun. In other words, I started finding out how much more festive alcohol makes a birthday. (Save my 21st, as I was on antibiotics at the time for strep throat at the time. So that sucked.) It was nice doing something with friends, and having a great time. We had some great parties, and a lot of fun, but I always felt still a little ambivalent about how my birthday was celebrated.
Even after I started dating Partner, I never really was a huge fan of birthdays anyway. It was a bit of a hassle with our schedules, but I always got a gift and usually dinner out of the situation. Partner and I did take to the idea of celebrating on the weekend after birthdays at that point. That way we could celebrate together, and have a nice time. So birthdays came, and birthdays went.
It's a different situation in France with birthdays. It's not as if it's some sort of sweeping change or anything. We still wait for the weekend here, because it's just easier for Partner and I, and we still go out to a restaurant and celebrate. However; I think the main difference lies with family here. My mother would always call and I might talk to my father if he weren't at work. They'd put money into my account back in the US, and that would be the end of it. Brothers and sisters may wish some sort of birthday, but nothing was expected. Those who did, did, and those who didn't, didn't.
Here in France, I got a call from everyone. All three of my nieces, my mother in law, my sister and brother in law, and even Partner's 90 year old grandmother and aunt wished me a happy birthday. It was unexpected and a really nice feeling. I don't know how much of it was simply what was expected of family, but it was a great feeling.
Now as luck would have it, the youngest of my nieces was in Bretagne visiting family for her week of break from school. That meant that my sister in law would be coming up to take her back. Since we live right in Rennes, you can't get to Ploërmel without going through Rennes. So we decided we'd spend Saturday all together. Originally, it was just supposed to be My niece, mother in law, and sister in law and I going out together, because partner had to study. Happily, we were able to talk Partner into coming with!
Well, we had a wonderful day out. We went to a few different stores in town. My mother in law got me a really nice pair of sunglasses and a shirt, that I'm actually wearing right now, and my sister got me a shirt as well.
After that we went to a crêperie for dinner. I had a really good galette, and they had a crêpe that was called "la confiture de la sorcière" or in English, "Witches' Jam." It was like eating pumpkin pie, and oh yes, I could have eaten about three of them. I was quite satisfied.
Sunday was a quieter day as sister in law and niece needed to head back to Centre, but of course my niece had left her sweater here, so they'd stop by to pick it up and we'd have tea or something. Unfortunately, sister in law took the wrong exit, and ended up in Chantepie, so instead she swung by, we hung out for about 10 minutes, and they had to get going. It was good to get to see them before they left, but it would have been wonderful to spend more time with them.
I have to say that this was a great birthday, and may even be enough to make me rethink my general disinterest in birthdays.