Good times. Good vibes. Good company.

24 November, 2015

Lily's 21st. Birthday Celebrations

Rushed straight home from work and started getting ready for the big celebration in Barnet!

Mind you, this was following the tragic events in Paris so after being a near zombie at work, bursting into tears watching the news alongside my colleague Sammy, a strong drink didn't seem like the worst idea...but it did feel strange, very, very strange going off to a party to celebrate and be merry, so soon after a tragedy hit so close to home.

I know we've got to carry on and live life, staying strong and brave in the face of such atrocities and seemingly near-danger, but it's difficult...especially when your mind takes you to the realisation that there are so many places in the world where these horrific things happen daily.  Needless to say, frightened, I convinced Mads that we'd be cabbing it and staying clear of the tubes...at least for this evening.  Thankfully, he didn't take much convincing.  We dolled ourselves up and headed out to celebrate our beautiful girl, Lily, on her big day!!

I couldn't get over Paris.  I was rambling for at least half of the hour drive to Totteridge...all of my thoughts, feelings, discussions needed to be let out some more even though the sadness, anger, and brokenness I felt, without even being directly effected, didn't seem to fade even as I spoke.  I expressed my fear that the human race was on its way to dilapidation as more and more anti-Muslim voices seemed to rise above those of peaceful confusion and sadness.  I have hope, and that's one of the strongest, most important things all of us need to hold onto, regardless of who and where we are in the world.  It may sound cliché, but spread love, not hate...peace, not war.  If not love, then acceptance, if not peace, then understanding.  All of these thoughts and feelings came to a whirring crash as we approached the Wembley arch, lit up in red, white and blue to show solidarity with Paris. It's a wonder I didn't show up at Lily's looking like a racoon as I couldn't hold the tears back as I whispered, "and that's how it should be" to Mads.  Thinking not just of France...but of the so many other countries who have and continue to face such ghastly hardships.

Being able to come together this night meant a lot to me as was as I'm constantly studying or working, really not living much of a life but just getting by for the time being, but even more so when realising that what I was able to so freely do--celebrate and be merry--alongside people I love and cherish, in the comfort of such a remarkable big city, was what so many in Paris also believed that they were able to do that night.  Take nothing for granted--your birthplace, your nationality, your education, your friends, your family, your freedom...because it can all be gone in an instant.  LIVE.

...and live we did.

We were first greeted by Lily's Papa in the driveway as he lit the Tiki-torches, providing a distinction amongst the ever-similar houses of suburbia.  Amidst a friendly hug, I took the chance to remind him that we kept our promise of "staying away" (jokes, all jokes guys) since the last we saw him and Tina was when we stayed with them to flat hunt over a year ago.  We teetered through the covered carpeting that led to a casino table in the dining room and outdoors to the newly-done garden where a large roast hung on a spit and a buffet was being setup.  Teetering across the tiling a little further, a massive black tent appeared.  Inside?  Nothing less than what we expected.  Sparkles and balloons everywhere, couches and long dining tables setup with live fish on the tables, fairy lights illuminating the rooms, giving the perfect atmosphere for a beautiful and crazy evening ahead.  Sweets and nuts placed on the tables alongside handmade lollies with Lily's name written on them in glitter, next to the array of sunglasses stamped "Lily's 21st." (this girl's never not wearing sunnies).  Giant letters spelling out her names were placed on the centre table, Moet bottles lining them as her big brother and Father rotated on bar-tending duty.  Throughout the night, I never had less than three drinks in my hand and was constantly being offered something new and delicious to eat as the DJ's tunes resounded through the tent.

A cake made entirely of donuts (KRISPY CREME YAASSSSSSSS) came out as the time came for birthday songs and a papparazzi-worthy amount of flashes shining down upon the evening's star. Alongside it, a minimum of another five different kinds of cakes, homemade liquour cupcakes, fresh fruit, and more champagne.

Her family has been and continues to be some of the absolutely most phenomenal hosts I've ever been so honoured to encounter.  The clear amount of time, effort, and sheer love that it took to come together and create such a magical night is as moving as it is deeply impressive.  I can say on behalf both Mads and myself, that we had an amazing time and oh yes, Tina has been informed that she'll definitely be on the wedding planning committee should that time ever roll around for us two!!

It was, as always, so, so wonderful to be able to see everyone as yet again, far too much time had gone by in between our meeting up.

All of my love to you Lily <3  I hope you had just as much fun on this beautiful night as we did and that you had a fantastic 21st. birthday.  I'm so happy we were able to celebrate it with you!!

xxEm






































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