Yesterday, I turned a year older, or rather wiser, so a friend gracefully quipped. It’s my 4th birthday here in London, and as usual I miss being with family and friends back home. It can get pretty lonely here, and I do get a little sniffly about not being able to spend my birthday with my family; before I moved to London, I used to celebrate the day with them. Every single year.
As with last year, M and dear friends have put in great efforts to make this aging business a little more bearable and a little less painful for me. Friends are like families when we are away from home, and M is the anchor of my life, what better way to grin and bear it than with the loveliest people in my life?
The Saturday before last, I was typing furiously at my laptop, trying to edit my first thesis draft and get the second draft ready for my supervisor. I was in the zone, if you know what I mean and I hate to be interrupted when I am there. It takes incredible effort to get back if I ever get out. And you know what I hate more than that? To be interrupted by people I can’t say no to. And as luck would have it, M was one of those people.
M walked into the study, looking rather stressed and peaky from his revision, and croaked, ‘Can we go out for dinner please? I really really need a break.’ I didn’t want to hear those words, because I wanted to finish up what I was doing and I really wanted to stay home. But I couldn’t say no to M and I stalled a little. A good 45 minutes later, I was happy to stop and quickly got dressed to go out with M.
We headed to Sedap, our current favourite place to grab Singaporean/Malaysian nosh, and M was unusually harried-looking. He marched straight into the little room at the corner of Sedap, where we usually sit, but I was extremely puzzled because the lights in the room were switched off. Clearly, it wasn’t opened for customers! I called out after M, telling him that we should probably ask the waiter where our reserved table was, but M ignored me and walked into the room anyway. Then all of a sudden, the lights came on in the room, and the entire roomful of people burst into a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. I was speechless and very, very, VERY surprised. My next thought? ‘Oh gosh, I look terrible!!!’ Ahhh….vanity.
We had such a nice time catching up, and I was buzzing throughout dinner with all the adrenaline rush from the surprise. Admittedly, I didn’t enjoy the meal very much because I was still stuffed from the food bloggers lunch meet-up at Pacific Plaza (where the only Asian foodcourt is in London), but I was really happy to be pampered and surrounded by friends. One of the girls, PS, got me a birthday cake that suited my preferences just fine because I love Kinder Bueno. She had asked a girl who sells cakes at Brick Lane to make a Kinder Bueno cheesecake for me. I LOVED it!!
I also received great pressies – home-made cheesecake with cute strawberry hearts on them, heartfelt cards that made me want to cry, my first ever Pierre Hermé recipe book, a Sophie Dahl cookbook, the delicious English Pear & Freesia fragrance from Jo Malone. I was very very spoilt with spot-on gift choices, I don’t know how they know that I would love these things, let’s just say I have great friends! Thanks peeps for the surprise!
As for my celebration with M, it started long ago, with him getting me my first blue box from Tiffany, and treating me to the meal at Arzak in San Sebastian. Just this Saturday, M took me out to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at Westfield, and I spent the midnight countdown to my birthday whilst watching my favourite story unfold. M whispered ‘Happy Birthday’ to me at the strike of 12.
Yesterday evening, M took me out for really good steak at Hix, I was a tad overdressed in a rather tight cheongsam-inspired dress as I didn’t know where we were going and I really really wanted to wear this new dress, but I managed to wolf the steak down anyway. It was a perfect night out! (review on food and outfit post to follow soon)
Also received sweet messages from friends back home, overseas, and a phonecall from Mummy dearest. Aunts also wished me well on Facetime (the best invention ever). I miss all of you!
Thanks to everyone, I had a very very Happy Birthday. =)