Happy Birthday: The Day

I forget the first year that I decided my dream birthday would be spent in London.  Last week, I mentioned to my mother that I didn’t know that I wanted to do on my birthday.  Nothing in Bristol seemed special enough.

She suggested London. Yes, mom, that was exactly what I wanted to do.  The idea was already lying latently in my mind, I just needed to hear it to realize.

I didn’t plan for the day as thoroughly as I usually do.  Classes, essays and reading got in the way.  Yet, everything worked out beautifully.  I got to do more than I thought I could and I walked more than I expected.  The sun actually came out and it was pleasantly warm.

There are a million reasons I love London and there are a million reasons why I think I might prefer New York.  London is pleasantly busy and still manages to feel small.  Once you venture outside of the tourist areas, which you really must do, you understand that London is simply a collection of little villages.

Case in point?  St. Johns Wood.

I went there to have a spot of lunch (and I do mean spot) on Saturday.  At that point in the day it was slightly drizzly and chilly, though not unpleasantly so.  I walked the wrong direction for a bit, but didn’t mind.  The area was so beautiful, tree-laden and peaceful.  Once I found my way, I realized my destination (Gail’s Bread) was tucked away on a gorgeous little high street.

The cafe was smaller and more crowded than I expected.  I stood around for a while, getting my bearings before tucking myself on the end of a table and ordering a yogurt parfait.  Yes, it sounds like an astonishingly simple meal to order, but this was truly the best parfait I’ve had.  The compote was a perfect cherry flavor and the granola had a full flavor balanced between sweet and wholesome.

I sat on the end of a table with some girls from New Zealand.  Later a family getting ready for a day at the zoo took their place.  I read my book and tried to absorb the atmosphere.  The cramped room, the rain outside, the neighborhood people coming in.  I so wanted it to be perfect, it should have been perfect.  But it wasn’t.

The room was that bit too small.  The chairs were a bit too tiny.  While Gail’s encouraged lingering, you couldn’t truly linger.

But that was okay for me, because I had more of London to see.  And see I did.  I walked and I looked and I breathed in the city.

And then I turned twenty somewhere between Selfridges and Pierre Herme. okay technically i turned twenty sometime on may 6th, but my birthday is may 5th…time zones aren’t important.

It was a glorious day and a dream-come-true Birthday.

What is your dream birthday?  Have you ever had a dream come true birthday?

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