On My 26th Birthday

This weekend was perfect in every sense and I stopped every so often and acknowledged that I was incredibly happy at the present moment. I liked that I did that. It felt good and right.

Before I went to bed Thursday night I looked at myself in the mirror. The truth of the matter is I was looking for some sign of age or wisdom. No grey hairs for the time being but some faint wrinkles on corner of each eye do the job. What do we call them, Crow’s Feet? I don’t know about that but I do recognize as impressions of the change my face makes when I smile.

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I wake up to a very sweet guy wishing me a happy birthday. Before we start the day together I’m greeted with an outpouring of love from friends and family near and far, my mother’s rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song in my ear when I pick up the phone and a friend’s special letter to me on her very own blog that brings me to tears. And I cannot forget a mention of the photo that practically made my day from my favorite little person:

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We spend the morning walking a couple of miles hand in hand in the shining sun to our favorite breakfast spot in South Philly. I indulge in everything I can think of because it’s my day. From there we head to a café and find a perfect table outside where we pull out magazines and travels books and talk about everything and nothing for a few hours.  The heart of the day is filled with a bit of this and that- ending up at the Italian market where we grab the ingredients for steak frites as well as some very special treats at Isgro’s bakery, a pear tart and a chocolate ganache cake.

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After lounging and movies, and a bottle of bubbly, we devour my rendition of Anthony Bourdain’s Steak Frites recipe. The day was perfect, and I meant it when I told my sweet man that I’ll never forget it.

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The weekend brought my beautiful friend to town for a picnic lunch, during which conversation was so easy and free it was easy to forget that somehow a year had gone by and we hadn’t seen one another. Hours before, I Skyped with my friend all the way from France and we laughed our asses off for a good hour. A day later, following a day of trip preparation and anxiety (more on that later) I watched the UK premiere of my favorite British drama with a new friend who relocated to our fair city from Scotland.

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And because I wasn’t ready for it to end, we planned a late dinner at a beautiful restaurant not far from our home, Bibou. It deserves its own post and will get one in due time. But for now I’ll describe it as traditional French dinner in a perfect little living room of your Lyonnais friends’ Bella Vista row home. It also can be described as the best French I’ve had this side of the Atlantic and my new favorite.

It was a very happy birthday for me and I have so much gratitude for the people and experiences that make my life what it is at any given moment.

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