Archive for December, 2007

Il mio compleanno

December 12, 2007

Last week I grudgingly turned a year older, but so far this has been my best birthday yet, for numerous reasons. As was normal for me, I was totally dreading my birthday since almost all of my birthdays thus far have been so forgettable and catastrophic, and it would also be my first time to spend it overseas. Thus I hadn’t made any grand plans on celebrating since there wasn’t much cause to celebrate anyway.

The day itself was pretty much humdrum. I went to hear mass at St. Patrick’s before noon and had lunch with Julie and Louise at Glebe Point Road. Louise was flying back to Denmark the next day and so I wanted to see her one last time before she left. After lunch she took us to her unit at Unilodge and she gave me all her nearly unused pots and pans, plus a book, a bottle of lotion and sunscreen and other stuff she thought I might like to keep. My loot was a bit heavy though, and since I had to commute all the way to Hornsby I ended up leaving most of the pots in an empty trolley outside her apartment building. I hope some person in dire need of cooking paraphernalia would stumble upon them.

Originally I wanted to spend the whole day just wandering around the city on foot and visiting free museums, but I was just too tired to do it. So after leaving Unilodge I went with Julie to Broadway Shopping Centre and we just hung out for a bit. I then had to meet my roommie at Westfield Hornsby after she got off from work so we could do our grocery shopping for our intimate dinner. I was so exhausted that I fell soundly asleep on the train.

My roommie surprised me with a lovely bouquet of flowers at the mall. We had a look at the shops and she ended up buying a nice dress, among other things. Our last stop was the supermarket where we bought stuff for puttanesca and roast beef. We got to her boyfriend’s place quite late (we were house-sitting for his family) and I had to cook in a rush. I’m happy that both the pasta and the beef turned out delicious.

The day after was my birthday dinner. I booked a table for fifteen at Cantina Uno, a quaint little Italian place in the city. It had been a really warm day until it started to rain like mad early in the afternoon, and I mean torrential downpour proportions. The city even got flooded and I got a phone call from a friend saying that water got into his flat. Even the cars parked on his street were already submerged in water. I was seriously starting to panic and even toyed with the idea of cancelling the whole thing. I then decided to say a short prayer to ask for the rains to abate, and in a couple of hours it did stop raining completely.

I brought with me a couple of bottles of wine since the place was BYO. I had been waiting at the bus stop for almost an hour already but none of the buses to the city ever came. I called my roommie and she met up with me at the bus stop, and we started to strategise the fastest way to get to the city. We thought about catching the train instead even if it would take forever, but thankfully a bus did come. It was exploding with people and that meant that we had to stand while holding massive bags full of wine. We asked the bus driver what was was going on and according to him traffic was really bad in the city due to the rain. By some stroke of luck I saw a friend on the bus and told him that it was my birthday. I asked him if he could do me the favour of holding our heavy-ass bags for us since he was seated anyway, but he readily gave up his seat for me since it was my birthday. The situation reminded me of this Chasers episode where the guys were trying to see just how many freebies they could score by telling restaurant owners and bottle shops that it was their birthday, or that they were newlyweds.

After we got off the bus we were frantically hailing cabs, but Murphy’s Law dictates that when you are in the biggest hurry all cabs shall be taken. Some friends were starting to call to say that they were already in the restaurant waiting for me, and I found it so embarrassing to be late to my own birthday dinner. Eventually we got into a maxi taxi and arrived a bit past eight, which wasn’t too bad. Luck was still pretty much on my side that night, I suppose.

Dinner was fantastic. I had rag pasta with cuttlefish, chili and breadcrumbs, plus grilled eggplant, pesto and goat’s cheese pizza. It took quite a while for the food to be served so we downed a few bottles of wine before eating. To cap my hearty meal, I had a shot of my uber favourite limoncello, and this made me so nostalgic about Italy.

I only invited a handful of good friends and thankfully they all turned up. Some of my other friends already flew out a few days before my birthday, and I did feel slightly depressed that they couldn’t be there to party with me. Anyway, it was all good, I got lots of lovely presents, had an excellent meal and was in the company of very close friends.

After dinner, most of the pack had to leave cos they were tired from work/had work the next day, but a few of them did have drinks with me at this happening little Spanish bar called El Barrio. I had been there on a previous occasion with other friends and I did like the music and the place just gives off the vibe that everyone who sets foot here shall go home plastered. And we did. We finished several jugs of sangria and I shared a bottle of San Miguel with my roommie. It even reached a point where we were guzzling the sangria straight from the jug. The hot bartenders gave me a cake with a candle, and they kept pouring us free tequila shots. We took heaps of photos, and yes, photos don’t lie. They are the best form of evidence of a night of extreme debauchery and intoxication, let’s leave it at that.

My roommie and I did manage to get home at some stage early in the morning. When I got up most of the previous night’s events seemed so hazy and I found myself strangely wanting to swear off alcohol for life, but I did and still do remember that it had been, by far, my maddest birthday. Ever.

***To all those who wished me many happy returns and spent time with me on my birthday last week, thank you. You made my first birthday away from home a really fabulous one.


The past few days…

December 5, 2007

– A good friend gave us a cute white Christmas tree with extremely girly pastel-coloured trimmings, like pink and purple balls, ribbons, fairies and gay-looking Santas. I lurrrve it. It’s been getting raves from girlfriends.

– Slept over at my friend Coral’s place last Wednesday. She whipped up a delicious dinner and we bought el cheapo yet good quality wine and spumante. She also made us some coquitos, a Puerto Rican cocktail made with coconut and rhum. Our friend Julie from France baked a chocolate cake, and our Danish friend Louise also made us Danish cookies from scratch. We watched Donnie Darko (my second time to see it) and pigged out again on Doritos and Pringles.

– My friends also slept over at my place two nights in a row. Louise made me penne al forno as a birthday present. We chose to stay home because we were all broke. Since we were too poor to afford ridiculously priced drinks in the city, instead we bought 7 bottles of wine for cheap, bags of candy and chocolates and we saw 20 Centimetres on SBS and Mala Educacion on DVD. Natalie also brought a good stash of videos (Little Miss Sunshine, My Father’s Den), plus some rice crackers and a box of Lindt. Jose brought his laptop and speakers and put Bjork on. We also spent a good bit of the evening having good conversations and taking stupid-face-photos. Louise’s Down’s Syndrome face almost made me die of laughter. Yeah, it was a very mature way to spend the night.

– Had a job interview at uni Friday afternoon and I’m pretty sure I bombed it so I’m not too keen on talking about it. I’m really not expecting a call back from them so I guess I’ll just have to look for other jobs next year. It was raining like mad on my way to uni for the interview and even if I brought our massive umbrella to shield me from the rain I still got drenched and it was embarrassing. My Thai friend Molly invited me to her graduation photo shoot on the same day but it was raining so bad that I couldn’t go.

– Sunday I went to mass in Balmain and had a look at Julie’s lovely house. The view from her place is amazing. We also met up with Coral and her neighbour Sebastian at the local pub to get $5 cocktails and play pool. It was my first time to play pool in my life and suffice it to say that I was absolutely shit at it.

– Monday I went to the South Coast with the other AusAid people. Was fun, yet tiring. Learned about the aboriginal way of life in Botany Bay, had lunch at Thirroul Beach, passed through lovely Kiama and then went trekking at Minnamurra National Park. I got rained on on my way home.

– I’ll be house-sitting my roommie’s boyfriend’s house with my roommie for a couple of days this week. Yay, there’s cable and I could play with their fat cat Ziggy.

***My friends are flying out this week, and most have already left. I’m just a bit depressed that I went on extreme anti-social mode during the early part of the semester. I actually only started speaking to these friends on the last week of class, only to find out that they’re truly amazing people. Will definitely miss them heaps.