My 24th Birthday

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Looking back, my birthday’s in my twenties have so far been far from ordinary. My 20th birthday I spent at Corona del Mar beach in SoCal with friends, my 21st I was studying abroad in Grenoble and had a baguette and cheese picnic lunch at a castle, my 22nd birthday I spent in Marin County and took a bike tour through San Francisco and my 23rd I flew to London from Montpellier for the weekend with some friends. 

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Left to Right: 2016- Orange County, 2017- Grenoble, 2018- San Francisco, 2019- London birthday’s

This year, my birthday fell in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic which of course changed the course of my original plans. During this time, I was supposed to be starting my studies in Austria and celebrating my birthday European style whether it be in Linz or London. I couldn’t have imagined any of this would have changed the way it did nor that I would still be in Canada. However, I am quite content with my current situation since I’m not alone and live 10 minutes from the ocean. 

That being said, I am beyond blessed to have been utterly spoiled on my birthday due to a very incredible boyfriend. I am pretty sure I couldn’t have planned a better birthday myself given the circumstances. I’m still amazed at what this guy pulled off!

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The morning of April 13th, I woke up to a glittery, confetti surprise in my room wishing me a happy birthday which was entirely hilarious as this gold glitter got EVERYWHERE. I was then guided to the kitchen where a silver Happy Birthday sign was hung, a chocolate cake lit and presents surrounding it. It was so lovely and exciting! I preceded to blow out the candles (all at once I may add) and open my presents and card which were very thoughtful. The next surprise began with an impromptu mini Easter egg hunt where I was told I had to find 3 plastic eggs in the house. The first was filled with chocolate, but to my surprise, the second held inside a set of car keys! I was so overwhelmed and couldn’t believe this amazing gift. Basically, Yannick had rented a car for us for the day; we would do a mini road trip and stay overnight at an Airbnb. Fortunately, I absolutely love surprises so I was all in and didn’t mind having to pack with no notice. Funnily enough, apparently the last car available was this giant black Suburban, fit for a family of eight and which made quite a statement. It was not the fancy convertible he had preferered or even what he requested as a second option, but personally I love driving bigger cars since they have so much power and make me feel the safest anyways.

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After having a slice of decadent chocolate cake for breakfast, we hit the road! Victoria Island is beautiful and there’s so much nature to adorn outside of the car window. Snow peaked mountains, fresh lakes, bodies of water that flow into the sea and rich forests of large trees were seen which made me incredibly happy.

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We stopped at a few viewpoints and a lake for lunch which greatly added to the splendor. It was a delightful afternoon and I felt so fortunate to be able to enjoy the compelling scenery and great outdoors while most were forced to stay inside their homes. British Columbia has had fewer virus cases than many places around the world and we still kept to social distancing with our activities, not being in contact with others much at all, so I felt safe. 

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The Airbnb Yannick had chosen was fairly remote, beautiful and peaceful in Sooke. There was a long driveway with enclosures of horses around it that also went up a hill to get to the house. The owner greeted us in distance and gave us a warm welcome for our overnight stay. The views were very pretty and the apartment itself under the main house was quaint and perfect for our time there. I still couldn’t believe this was all part of my birthday surprise! We took a walk around the neighborhood, coming to a forest trail that led to a riverbed. It was so nice to feel the comfort of nature, appreciate the stillness and explore a new place. Afterward, we took advantage of their grill on the porch and I was treated to my favorite birthday meal of salmon, asparagus and sweet potatoes with a side of cranberry kale salad. This day was full of happiness for me and I owe it all to this great new person that came into my life only at the beginning of January. I’m so dumbfounded by his gesture to go above and beyond for me, someone as I who loves birthdays and holiday’s so much, to give me the most special day. 

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I really can’t imagine the amount of time and preparation that went into this day while dealing with the various constraints and limitations due to the Coronavirus. I know his plan changed multiple times because of our constantly changing environment. It’s rather impressive that he managed to do all he did with the little resources and opportunities available. Luckily, the open road and nature opened its doors for us to still enjoy and experience away from others. Trails may have been closed and big gatherings forbidden, but I wouldn’t have changed this day regardless! To spend it with someone who cares enough to go above and beyond was probably the greatest treasure. Thank you, Yannick, my amazing boyfriend, and to all my family, friends and acquaintances who wished me a happy birthday and made me feel so loved and appreciated on this day. It was truly a remarkable 24th birthday that I will never forget!

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