As a kid, I was blessed with having the first summer birthday in my class. This meant that mine was the first opportunity to run through sprinklers, have water balloon fights, eat hot dogs, and roast marshmallows. These were some of the best times.
More recently, notable birthday moments included trying to slurp up a rapidly melting ice cream cake with my sisters and friends in Elora Gorge, berry picking and roller skating in the GTA, and other moments surrounded by those I love, eating cheese cake, and getting lightly sunburned.
I was a little bit tentative approaching the big 3-0. I felt like I should be “more prepared” for this birthday, based on how many listicles exist on the internet, about “things you should do before you turn 30” and [more terrifyingly] “financial goals you should accomplish before 30” (I am pretty sure quitting your full-time job for a PhD student stipend probably didn’t make the list). The “bright side” of many of these articles discusses the joys of being 30, like there is a magic wand of wisdom that bonks you on the head when you stride across the threshold of this new decade, bequeathing you with all sorts of wisdom and knowledge.
While, my life is definitely what I thought it would be when I was playing with barbies when I was 7 and I desperately wished I had a cool name like “Stacy” or “Wendy”, when I thought 18 was pretty much the oldest age (which I assume came with standard issue pink stilettos and a babely boyfriend), and by the time the clock struck 30, I would be driving my dream car, with Ken at my side, and a few youngsters in the back (See? I did have hint of feminism burning in my pre-teen brain as I imagined driving my handsome man around).
But they say you can’t dream about the things you don’t know, and I think that was exactly the case. I have a phenomenal life, but one I could have never imagined when I was that kid playing Mall Madness because I never knew this was possible.
So, in light of that, I chose a 30th birthday that I never would have dreamed of – a solo trip to Germany – a day I could savour, perfectly tailored for me, celebrating this beautiful and strange adventure. So, while I didn’t get to spend the day with my favourite people, I had a collection of little moments that made a perfect day. So here is a snapshot of a few of those wonderful things.
- Breakfast of [travelling] champions: Big chunks of local cheese, some sort of gluten-free bread product, procured from the grocery store, black cherry yogurt, fruit, washed down with a generous glugg of apfelsaft (apple juice). I sat out on the little table on the cobble-stone street to watch the town wake up.
- Badass bicycle: The hostel I was staying at had this rad bike for rent. I was immediately enamoured and got to spend the rest of the day riding up and down the foothills of the alps on this badass 3-speed beauty.
- Blue skies and butterflies: (title inspired by the rad poem that my little sis wrote many many years ago). The weather was PERFECT. Clear blue skies, puffy white clouds, 22 degrees, and gentle puffs of wind.
- Bells on cows. I know this seems silly, but finding out the cows actually wear bells, and having the unique sound. I took a tiny video of it [here].Yes. I also loved that one cow looked directly at me and started peeing.
- First stop, Neuschwanstein Castle!: Legitimately, the castle of Disney princesses (will share more pics in coming post). Ever since I learned about this place in 10th grade german class with Mr. Evenden, I wanted see it for myself. And I am here! Unfortunately, my vague grasp of the language did not extend across the 15 year gap, and I was useless beyond danke und bitte.
- Coffee. At a castle! The coffee was not great, but I could not find a better setting!
- What? Another castle? Another stunner! Hohenschwangau Castle. Some people really knew how to build impressive homes.
- Swimming in Weißensee: Forgoing the beaches, I found my own private little spot. Look at this view! The water was so clear, you could see right down to the rocky bottom. I think the local people thought I was bonkers (it was a little chilly), but so invigorating!
- Solo uke jam session while I dried off.
- Lazing by the lake, spending a moment journalling, more coffee.
- Ice cream #1: Creamy chocolately goodness.
- Little bird friends. This little guy wandered up to me, eyed my towel, gave it a taste, seemed generally disappointed at the lack of tastiness and wandered off in search of more delicious treats.
- Making it to the top of a hill. The big kind. The kind they grown in the alps. The kind that makes my thigh muscles shed a little tear.
- The ruins. Again, more details to follow, but being one of the few people exploring the medieval ruins of Eisenberg and Hohen-Freyberg castles was pretty spectacular.
- Sometimes, it is the little things that make a day great, like getting a cool bottle when you stop at a mountainside pub for water.
- Free wine! No more explanation needed.
- Ice cream #2: Pistachio gelato. The best kind.
- So much Vietnamese food for 4 euros! Thanks Thuy Golden Stäbchen.
- Ice cream #3: Dutch cheese cake
- The love: The dozens of texts, Facebook messages, and emails from my best people all around the world, letting me know that no matter where life leads me, no matter how far from home, I have the best friends and family a girl could ever want. ❤
P.S. Sorry for so many selfies! It’s my party and I’ll [selfie] if I want to!
P.S.S. I know having a list of 30 for 30 would be so much more poetic, but, in the words of my bestie Lisa, “the only rule is no rules!” so hope you enjoyed my list of 20 things for my 30th. I am so excited to see what this next year has in store.