This year I spent my birthday 9000 kilometres away from home, in a tropical paradise with the amazing new mates I made. If you had told me last year at this time that this would be my reality I would have said duh, I’m planning for the trip over right now, you nincompoop. But if you had told me that this would be one of the happiest and most memorable moments and statements I would make in 2017, I wouldn’t have been sure.
Birthdays have always been an odd obsession of mine and I’d explain why this is so if the origin story wasn’t so dark. Essentially I rate people should be very grateful to be alive and to have been birthed (if this is what they wish of course). And every year, I come together with the people I hold dear to me – my female friends – and spend the day that I came out of my mom, jaundiced and cute as all hell. This year I asked my mother what time I was born, I figured she’d told me before and I’d just forgotten. She also doesn’t remember because how was she supposed to keep track of the time while enduring labour pains? Her words. But it was apparently any time between eight and ten, and I’ll take that. This explains my preference for sunsets over a sunrise. I’m a night queen (GoT wink).
My good friend Wendy invited me over to Phuket – to a less populated beach on Nai Harn and it was like something out of an actual dream. We started the day off at We Café for lunch where all of the produce is fresh and in-house. The rest of the day was spent on a beautiful blue water beach with cold beers in our hands and the sun gently embracing us, the water was cool enough and the beach was empty enough and my stomach and heart were full enough. In the afternoon we drove our scooter up a beautiful winding road, hugged by palm trees and other greenery on both sides, to the viewpoint overlooking the rest of Nai Harn and some islets off the gulf – I can still feel the breeze from up there right now.
Christina came in from our town in the evening and we sat down for a quiet al fresco meal at a Mexican style restaurant on the side of a busy road before heading to Patong for a more rowdy end to the night. We sang and danced and drank the night away – Grey Goose and Rihanna spurring us on – and returned to the hotel at the 3 in the morning. A fitting end to a wonderful birthday weekend. It sure felt really good to turn twenty eight.
When the holiday season rolled round and we all found ourselves missing our respective homes our friend Jack decided that Friendsgiving would be a great idea to get us all together from our different towns and cities all over Thailand to celebrate the holiday and to see each other and wish each other a Merry Christmas as well. What followed was nothing like any of us had experienced during the holidays. The Americans had no snow and no turkey, the South Africans had no braai and Reconciliation Day, and we all had no family and no regular Christmas. What we had was Krabi and parties. IN ABUNDANCE. My friend Gage was cool enough to document most of what we got up to. Watch:
As a person who takes birthdays fairly seriously, because you’re alive another year goddamit, I’ve made sure my special days are always that; very bloody special. But even for the name day enthusiast, 27 is a lot of years, and 7 years of cool/awesome/significant birthday themes/places is a hell of a lot. When I was thinking about what terribly amazing thing my friends and I would be doing this year, I was honestly stumped. It had to be something really fun but not too rowdy, because we’re adults okay. We had done the comedy club, the beer and wine tasting, the theme park, the expo and the night club (eek), concerts and fests. So what could we do, that we haven’t done that was hip and fun but wouldn’t give us extreme social anxiety? Pub Crawl!
It came to me in a dream. No, it did’t. I was surfing the internets randomly for chilled stuff to do during the weekend in Johannesburg and stumbled upon one of those ‘100 things to do in Jozi’ lists. I was already bored because I’d done some of that stuff and most of it was shite I would never do. Like, the zoo? Respect me and respect animals. And then, like a gorgeous message from the god of alcohol, the Curiocity Backpackers Pub Crawl popped up and I was sold. Because, well… it’s me we’re talking about here. Seven historic pubs, bars and taverns in the city centre for a few randelas with some good friends sounded like the best way to enter my late twenties. So we did it. On my birthday, which was on a Friday because I’m fabulous, we all knocked off of our jobs and headed to Lisa’s – because sleepovers mos – and then off to start the night. Seeing that side of Johannesburg was as exciting as it was scary. The first few bars and pubs were your usual hipster establishments but the last few were actual taverns and I feared for my life a little under the adrenaline rush. It was a great night with my favourite ladies and I was smiling and laughing and happy the whole time. And birthdays should be like that.
I don’t usually go to an event where I’m sure I know A LOT of people, especially people from uni. There are too many ghosts. ‘Ghosts’ are people who knew you before you got an actual fashion sense, got a job and started making good dating decisions, actually ghosts are mainly the bad dating decisions you made in your naive varsity past. Homecoming Picnic is the best/worst place for these kinds of run-ins to happen because it is generally a jump (definition: really awesome soshe) and if there’s one thing all those bad dating decisions have in common, it’s knowing how to party. So regardless of the cons, the one big pro – plus my best friend Phiwee emotionally blackmailing me – sealed my HCP fate and I found myself at the Centurion Rugby club with a cooler bag and even cooler clothes on my back.
The event was well attended, and I might be understating that, with a nice little popular line-up featuring Pretoria’s beloved Kuli Chana, who I think I’ve only seen twice before. The host person, I think it’s called MC and I honestly don’t care, was Nomuzi from Mtv or whatevs and she was awesome because she did quite a bit of mc-ing coupled with quite a bit of ‘soft-twerking’ – a term coined by my other friend Juliet. I’ve been hearing about Homecoming Picnic for a while now but it was my first time going, because why not? I’m almost too old to go and nothing could have said that better than all the post-teen bad b*tches in twerking pants/printed leggings I was drowning in. True to form, I was also kinda drowning in ghost related things. I shall not dwell. Reason was really good, as usual. I mean, the dude really just makes me wanna watch and not walk around looking for alcohol or an ex, which is the best!
I came across the Cognac Conjure for the first time, very ‘ballin out of control’ and very not my thing, but it tastes fine enough. Night time came and it became a bit out of control. Male hormones and steroids took control, possible grinding babies, I got lost, everyone got lost… It was like a mosh pit of epic proportions, and I have those Malatji boys and their peoples to thank for all of that unorthodox fun. I might be bullied into going again next year… 😉
Kitcheners for Comedy. See what I did there? Alliteration, baby 😉 For phase II of my birthday, my psycho friend Flav took us to Braamfontein, to a little place where all the little cool, ‘worldly’ children hang out on Tuesdays for laughs. I’ve been to Kitcheners before and it was a good time. Thandiswa Mazwai gave me a hug, so yeah. This time I was looking forward to seeing the resident comics, whom I’d heard of and seen on the twitter streets – well, I’d actually seen one in action on tv – Mojak Lehoko so I was amped. None of the guys shown on the internet were there :(. It was a bit disappointing but I wasn’t hacked because I don’t have any comedic bond with them or anything – so I chinned up and looked forward to meeting some new funny people.
Lo and behold, Simmi Areff. Funny, inappropriate, fearless, blush-inducing… did I mention funny? This tall, exotic and hilarious man was the night’s host (I use exotic loosely here. I’m using it because to me it refers to anyone I find cute, whose race I am not entirely sure of and because it doesn’t really matter what race they are in the end, because cuteness and global villageness – I do think he’s South African-Indian though). Anyhoo, I also got to finally see Joao Matthews in action (partially, because it was open-micish.) And even his short, half-hearted and slightly uncomfortably sexual 10 minutes was pretty cool. Now, him I’m very familiar with all thanks to the mighty social networking platform we call Twitter. He’s one of those well known guys and stuff – not because he’s always tweeting or asking people stuff or putting up sexy images of himself but because he’s genuinely funny. I like that sh*t. There were a few other people with a few laughs here and there. But not like ‘Ha-ha-ha!’, but more like ‘Ha… I get that. That’s pretty cool’. Then there was Gavin Kelly, who I’ve actually known for a couple of years. Now my only complaint is… How on earth did I not know Gav was that friggin funny?! When I met him he was a laid back Journalism student who liked eating the burnt bits from the bottom of a pot of pap. Now he’s a comedian, who’s apparently so good he got to be on Comedy Central… How did I miss it? Alas! I was and still am pleasantly surprised because I LMFAOed during his set and that’s awesome!
The Comedy night was a great idea – to say the least. I have the bestest friends in the world and I’m so thrilled with how awesome comedy in SA is becoming.
Phase III was a weekend with my mom – it was great and I gained 3kgs. That is all. 🙂
Just a P.S, The following sub-title is not a Lana Del Ray song. It’s just a list of stuff that featured on my birthday. But I understand the confusion if there is any – it’s totally the same formula Lana uses to name her songs. Let’s proceed.
Pizza. Wine. Beyonce. Coldplay.
For the past 100 years my birthing day has always fallen on a weekend or on a cool day like Thursday. ‘The past hundred years’ refers to my favourite years, the only ones that matter – UNI YEARS! This year my beloved day of birth decided on Sunday Junior without even consulting me. Of all the years to have a birthday on a Monday… really? I’m like, ‘Dude, 24th, I could’ve partied on any day in uni. Not now! I work now, dummy – I need the weekend more than ever now!’. Even the knowledge that Lionel Messi is going through the same thing (because we share a birthday 😀 ) didn’t make me feel better, probably because he’ll get to party all he wants after practice. He’s Lionel Messi, duh.
So this year to make the most of my predicament, I decided to have a three-phase birthday week. I know it sounds excessive. It isn’t. The first day – my official birthday – was actually quite chilled. I invited my oldest and closest girlfriends (geographically and life-ically – also because they were free on friggin Monday!) and we all had a disgusting amount of pizza. There was cake, I got prezzies and it was magical, essentially. But we’re alcoholics so… yes, it happened. You know those really cool scenes in movies where the bffs get tipsy and dance around their apartment, like in Something Borrowed? You know how you feel all nostalgic for that kinda movie life stuff that doesn’t go down like that in real life? Well, I had that!
We danced around, hopping about (maybe even booty hopping… cringe) to some Beyonce. Alright, the chances of us booty hopping are pretty high when that woman and her music are in the mix. It was a whole lot of fun, or as they say – since I’m already on the ratchet boat, it was hella fun. And as you would expect, as the night died down and the wine bottles were starting to run dry (some now even drinking from them as is), Coldplay decided to join our party. And we sang along and put our lighters up in a really weird icky mooshy way. Thank god the wine ran out and we all remembered we had work the following day. Phew.
The sleepover pizza party was awesome, all in all.