On September 17 this year, I was in New Zealand! I still am in New Zealand right now actually and I’ll be here a while because my sister is about to give birth in a few weeks! To twins! :D Everyone in the family is super excited, my dad’s already been here since August, my mom’s coming next week and my brother will come to visit in October. I arrived a few days ago and was really planning on just celebrating my birthday here, but of course my friends had other plans, er, requests.
They knew I was going to leave Manila for a while and before my birthday, too, so they asked if I could celebrate my birthday before I left. And though I normally don’t celebrate my birthday before the day itself, I figured this was a special circumstance and I could give in to their demands. :P
So plans were made, invitations sent, outfits picked out and viola! These are the things that happened:
A Coffee Afternoon
This is the year of specialty coffee! Or, perhaps it isn’t really, but to me it is as this is the year that I started to learn more about it and now of course, I’d like to share it with my friends. So I invited everyone for coffee and merienda at EDSA Beverage Design Group in Greenhills.
I know, I know, it’s a ways from us Southern girls, but I think it’s a cool place what with their handcrafted beverages and nice space. I have to admit that as much as I love the South, there are places elsewhere that are worth going to. And I’m extra touched that despite the distance, my friends made it! M even brought a cake from the South!
I think it was a nice change of scenery for us and I’m really grateful to X for sponsoring our cab ride to get here from ATC, and to M2 for driving us back to the South in the heavy rain.
Since we were all girls, we had a story-telling game of sorts. I wrote some questions that we each had to answer and I gave notebooks to the ones whom I thought had the most interesting answers. M2 and K won for their honesty and because they had the most benta stories. Hehe. I hope they like the notebooks I gave them.
Of course, we also enjoyed the coffee, cakes and other pastries and beverages that we ordered. What I like about EDSA-BDG is that they have drinks other than coffee so even non-coffee drinkers can have a good time, and I think we all discovered something new about how we like our drinks. You find out something more about a person when you find out how he/she takes his/her coffee, I think. And I’m really happy when I get to know more about my friends. :)
A Fancy Dinner Party
We left Edsa-BDG at 5:30 p.m. exactly as right after our coffee afternoon, I had to get ready for dinner! It was only my girl friends who were invited to coffee as my guy friends aren’t at all interested in that kind of thing and would much rather just be drinking alcohol. So I had a different celebration planned for them, and it really stared out as being not much different from our semi-usual Saturday night inuman at my house. Originally, I was just planning on ordering a case of San Mig Light from a tindahan in the village and getting food from the Mr. Liempo at the village entrance, but then I realized that if I just did that, then it would just be just like our semi-usual Saturday night and that it happened to fall a few days before my birthday wouldn’t have made a difference. So I thought that I should do something special to distinguish it from our other get-togethers and I thought of serving drinks other than San Mig Light.
I searched on the Internet for easy-to-make cocktails, preferably ones that had beer as the main ingredient so it wouldn’t be too expensive. But the Internet being the Internet, suddenly I found myself looking at sites that told you which wine to pair with your food and which glasses you should use for a particular kind of cocktail. I told my mom about it and she said that I could use our nice glasses that she received as a gift but never ever used since we never had dinner parties anyway, and then she got all excited about setting the table and using the nice plates and…
I have actually always wanted to have a fancy dinner party like this, but never thought I could pull it off. I thought my friends wouldn’t be up for it, or that maybe it would be too expensive, and I guess it was a bit more expensive than I’d hoped, but surprisingly, I didn’t have difficulty convincing my friends to come to my house in semi-formal attire. And with help from the right people and the right menu, I didn’t have too much difficulty setting up everything else either. :) Thanks to my ate and my mom and Ate E and Ate M who were all ever-so-supportive of my crazy ideas (and also gave me some of their own).
Because we started so late, we ended up eating most of the bruschetta after dinner, but I think we made a nice setup for a makeshift appetizer bar. Special thanks to K2 for slicing the cheeses and placing these ingredients on the plates. I was supposed to do it, but at the time I thought putting on make-up was more important. ;) And K2 likes doing these things anyway.
We took this photo just before dinner and unfortunately weren’t able to take more we started so late we were so hungry. But the experience was more important than the pictures anyway, and I think we were also able to take some nice ones during and after the dinner itself.
After dinner, we had cake for dessert. And because it was my birthday, the cake came with a candle and a song. :) I was only supposed to have the one cake, the Frozen Brazo de Mercedes I ordered, but I received one that afternoon from M, K and K3, and another one that evening from J and K4. So I had 3 cakes in all. Hooray!
Mama also wore a semi-formal dress for the occasion, which is good, so she didn’t look out-of-place in the pictures. Although she was just wearing her fuzzy slippers with the dress. I guess I shouldn’t have told you that. :P
Anyway, we had a Cranium-like game of sorts after dessert and it was so much fun my friends are crazy competitive. The winner’s prize was a chocolate bar from Japan. Well, it was a Japanese brand, but really I bought it in SM. Hehe.
Afterwards, we continued to stuff ourselves with food from the antipasto bar, drank the German beers I bought from S&R (on sale!), the wines that M and K2 brought, as well as the Black Velvet cocktail whose recipe I found on the Internet. We sang some songs as J played the guitar and the first people who left didn’t leave until 6 a.m. the next day, which I think is the sure indication of a great party. Yes?
And here’s another picture of us girls just because. :)
A Pasta Feast and a Show
The next day (but really, it was a few hours after the dinner party), my mom woke me up so we could go to Solaire and watch Singin’ in the Rain on stage! We got orchestra tickets at 50% off and it was my first time at Solaire and Singin’ in the Rain is, I think, my 2nd favorite musical (Fiddler on the Roof is first.) so I had a really nice time all the way until we met up with my brother and sis-in-law for dinner at Va Bene Pasta Deli at Bonifacio High Street.
We had black ink pasta, two kinds of ravioli, some soup and some gnocchi. They were all really good and I wouldn’t mind going there again in the future.
The next day, it was time for me to go to New Zealand! I didn’t sleep anymore as I still hadn’t packed my stuff at this point and I needed to leave the house at 6:30 a.m. to make it to my flight. Luckily M and her sister T came to the house at midnight to help me pack my things. Anyway, after making sure all the stuff I had didn’t go beyond my 20kg limit, we had breakfast and said goodbye and my mom and Ate E brought me to the airport!
A Lot of Ribs and a Free Dessert
I arrived at Wellington a little over 24 hours later and a little over 24 hours after that, it was my actual birthday and because my sister is the best sister in the world, she and her husband treated me (and Papa!) to a yummy restaurant dinner! Ribs!
We ate at Lone Star Restaurant in Petone and they have really big servings. We had so much leftover to take away! But it was all well and good because as it was my birthday, I got a free dessert! It was a kind of meringue cake with cream and passion fruit syrup. Yummy!
Now it’s September 18 and my 2015 birthday is officially over. I think it’s the best one yet because aside from celebrating it twice with my friends, I was able to celebrate it twice with my family! I should always go to New Zealand around this time so I can always celebrate my birthday with both my family in the Philippines and Ate and her husband. Haha. If only!