Happy belated birthday to COMS major and guest blogger An Mai!
“July 16—July 24, 2011: An’s ‘Mild’ Birthday Week
My birthday fell on a Tuesday this year. Since Tuesdays aren’t exactly convenient for celebration, I planned my festivities for the weekends before and after. Before you get too excited, let me share with you a snippet of a conversation I had with a friend back in high school, just so you can get a sense of who I am:
Fiona: An Mai! You should throw a wild party for graduation!
An: Um, I’m me.
Fiona: Then…throw a mild party!
That pretty much sums me up. I’m mild. (You can take a guess at what kind of salsa I have in the fridge.) I don’t do parties. Crowds already make me uncomfortable; I can’t even imagine how I’d feel in an uninhibited crowd. So, my 21st birthday week didn’t include a wild trip to Vegas or drinking copious amounts of moonshine. My 21st birthday week involved Harry Potter, baked goods, and musical theater. It was perfectly suited for me and I got to have some pretty terrific moments with my family and friends seeing and doing things that I love. Here’s what happened:
Saturday, July 16, 2011: ‘It All Ends’…Childhood Included
When the trailer for the final Harry Potter movie was released a few months ago, I jokingly said that the release of Deathly Hallows Part 2 was going to mark the end of my childhood. It got a few laughs, but it actually felt true. Half my life now I’ve been immersed and fascinated by this world that JK Rowling created. Here’s a nerdy little timeline for you:
- 1999: I read Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban; Age 9
- 2000: I read Goblet of Fire; Age 10
- 2001: The first movie is released; Age 11
- 2002: The second movie is released; Age 12
- 2003: I read Order of the Phoenix; Age 12
- 2004: The third movie is released; Age 14
- 2005: I read Half-Blood Prince; Age 14
- 2005: The fourth movie is released; Age 15
- 2007: The fifth movie is released; Age 16
- 2007: I read Deathly Hallows; Age 17
- 2009: The sixth movie is released; Age 18
- 2010: The seventh movie is released; Age 20
- 2011: The eighth movie is released 4 days before my 21st birthday
Almost every year for 12 years there was something to look forward to. I’ve had a few birthdays coincide with Harry Potter release dates before, but this last one was bittersweet. Before, I always knew that there was going to be another one in the works and it would just be a matter of time before it was time for me to get excited again. This time it was different. It wasn’t just that I was going to be legally regarded as an adult in the eyes of the government. With the end of the series, I was leaving behind this epic saga that taught me how to use my imagination and to see the value in friendship, loyalty, courage, and love.
I saw the movie the day after it premiered with one of my best friends at a really underrated theater in San Jose called Winchester 22. The floors are wooden, the screen is huge, and there was no crazy wait to get into the 7:00pm showing. I cried about 3 times, kind of fell in love with Neville Longbottom (I can’t help it; he’s got an English accent and he helps defeat evil while wearing a super cute cardigan!), laughed at the jokes, cheered for the victors, was sad to see it end, but satisfied with the way it did. I think I can say the same for my childhood: I’m sad to see it end but satisfied with the way it did. For that I feel lucky.
The object of An's affections... Neville Longbottom
Sunday, July 17, 2011
My little cousins came over to give me a birthday present.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011: Happy birthday, me!!
Saturday, July 23, 2011: Mai Mission: Bake Crawl (It’s like a pub crawl, but with bakeries)
Yes, you read that right. Bake Crawl. After doing some research on Yelp, it looked like the best bakeries in San Francisco are located in the Mission (Do you get the double pun in the title? I hope so because I was really proud of it.) I picked out 4 places, invited some friends, and checked with them about their tolerance for desserts. Here’s a link to the map I created: http://batchgeo.com/map/a1c6bf8107b4d09ada0a8b79d9572a2a
Since there were 5 of us, it was decided that it would be best for us to get one or two things at each place and share. That way, none of us would be breaking the bank or going home in a sugar coma. Our first destination was Mission Pie. We decided to split a small strawberry rhubarb pie and a slice of bacon cheese quiche (there ought to be at least one savory thing). The pie was delicious. They forgot our quiche, but once we reminded them, they offered us a free slice of anything to go along with the quiche. We went with mixed berry. It was a good decision.
We finished our pie and headed out to the next stop: Anthony’s Cookies. The flavors they have vary day to day, so here’s what we got:
- -1 toffee chip
- -1 classic chocolate chip
- -1 cookies and cream
- -1 cinnamon spice
- -2 German chocolate
6 cookies, 5 flavors, 5 very satisfied girls.
Next on the list was Tartine Bakery. We were hoping we might avoid the crowd because it was around 2pm by then, but no such luck; the line went out the door. We got in the queue (can you tell I’m still thinking about Harry Potter?), grabbed a menu, and tried to decide on what to get. We wanted to get something a little lighter after the sweetness of the cookies, so we agreed that the small lemon cream tart would be best. However, after getting to the dessert window, I impulsively added a chocolate éclair to our order. We took them over to Dolores Park and sat on the Twister mat I brought. We ate, hung out, people-watched, and waited for the food to settle before going to the last stop.
Seriously, it's 3:30 in the afternoon and I'm hungry...
...and uploading these pictures from An is torture!
Our final stop of the day was Bi-Rite Creamery. No, ice cream’s not a baked good, but so what? Sue me. The line for Bi-Rite was even longer than the one at Tartine’s! The wait was definitely worth it though as we each enjoyed our ice cream. My friend and I decided to share a cup with chocolate ice cream and cherry raspberry sorbet and split a mint chocolate cupcake. All in all, it was a fantastic day filled with good food and good friends. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again—there are still so many desserts out there to try!
Last destination on the Bakery Crawl
This looks way better than my pretzels.
Sunday, July 24, 2011: ‘I just want to dance the ballet!’
The Tony Award-winning musical Billy Elliot is in town! My friend and I had been looking forward to seeing it for awhile and were delighted when SHNSF added the show to the 2011 season. We were even more delighted when we saw that rush tickets were available for every performance! For those of you who don’t know what rush tickets are, they’re a number of tickets that the theater will sell 2 hours before a performance at a discounted price. Usually they’re for pretty good seats too. We were aiming for the 2pm matinee, so I got to the theater around 11:45 to line up. There was already quite a few people ahead of me, but luckily I got the rush tickets! As a result, we got to sit in the orchestra for $40 each. Not bad, considering the people in front of us probably paid $99 for their seats. Rush tickets: wallet saviors to theater-loving college students everywhere.
The show was amazing! If you’ve seen the movie, then you’ll know what the musical is about. Basically, a young boy from a working-class village in Northern England discovers his passion for dance at the height of Thatcherism in the 1980s. However, his coal-mining father and brother are on strike and much too proud to let Billy pursue his “middle-class” dreams. The actors are super talented (I’m jealous of their skills!), the dance sequences are awesome, and the music is by Elton John. What more could you ask for?
So, that was my ‘mild’ birthday week. Pass the chips, please!”
What a great birthday week, An! Thanks for sharing!