The Old Black Rum Got Ahold of Me
I had the best intentions of adding to my last post, but the school day on Thursday was super busy, then it was Parent's Night, then Eve convinced us that we should meet her at the bar in the City for a few drinks, so when I stumbled in the door at 11:30pm, I called my mom and then went to sleep (i.e. passed out).
I think the title of this post explains it all, actually.
My birthday was a pretty good day - the kids kept saying "Miss! It's your birthday!" to me (as though I could forget being 2 years closer to 30!), and behaved good as gold for the entire day. They even sang to me in the morning - it was so sweet, I had to struggle not to get teary-eyed. It was a very busy day, as I got ready for Parent Night, and had a hundred other little things to do (as usual). I guess if you have to work on your birthday, it should at least be on a job you love. Lucky me got to do exactly that.
My favourite memory of my birthday night wasn't the drinking, dancing or making fun of the horrible Abba cover "band" that came on during our second bottle of wine. It was something that happened to me while I was in the Tube.
I was on my way to meet Eve and Jeremy at Digress, to start the bday celebrations. I had to switch trains at Euston to get on the Northern Line, and made my way through the crowds to my platform while enjoying the live music from one of the many buskers who plays in the station. Just as the train was pulling away, a man carrying a guitar jumped on and asked if I wouldn't mind moving over a spot so he could sit.
Turns out, he was the musician that had been playing, so I told him how much I had enjoyed listening to him. He asked me where I was from, and where I was going. As soon as I mentioned it was my birthday, he said "well you need a song then!"
And he played his own version of Happy Birthday (complete with 70's style funk licks and James Brown style scat) right on the train.
I stood there, thinking to myself that this is something I'll never forget, as people on our carriage looked on and smiled at me (if you've ever been in a Big City, you know how rare it is for people to even look at each other on public transportation, let alone smile). They all clapped when he finished, and I blushingly thanked him for making my birthday even more special.
When I got off the train at my stop, I could hear the sounds of his guitar as the train pulled away.
How many people get to say that they were serenaded by a stranger on a subway train in London on their birthday? It was truly unforgettable...
6am Friday morning was NOT fun - I felt like my head was being clobbered with a lemon wrapped around a gold brick (if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about read "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"), and all I could think about was jumping in a cold lake, then drinking it.
Friday was Red Nose Day here in Britain; Comedy Relief Day, where people buy red noses to wear and all sorts of other things, and the proceeds all go to charity. There were events all over the city, and our school decided that the children could be out of uniform if they paid 50p to wear red clothes. They could also pay 50p to have "mad hair" (basically crazy hair with red spray on it, although one little girl came to school in a crimson wig), and another 50p to partake in a treasure hunt, where they ran around the schoolyard to find a hidden red nose.
All of the teachers wore red too, and I would up with pinkish hair spray covering my ponytail. It was fun to take part though, and I'm proud to say that our year two classes brought in over 50 pounds for charity on Friday. Not bad for a bunch of 6-7 year olds...
There were prizes for the best hair, best clothes, and the treasure hunt, with an outdoor fashion show with music and American Idol-style judges. The weather was sunny and 16 degrees, and everybody was having a fantastic time - the kids were all excited and hyper - it was one of those Really Good Days.
The only downfall was that I wore my red coat to school that day and forgot the key to my cabinet where my camera was locked. So I didn't get any pictures. Thankfully, I can close my eyes and remember the feeling of the day and remember the excitement in the kids' eyes.
After school, I got a birthday card signed by a bunch of teachers, packed up the little gifts some of the kids had given me, and made my way to the King's Ford Pub, where a few of us would have some drinks to celebrate my birthday. We had a great time, as usual, and I once again had to ride the train home in a not-so-sober state.
So my first birthday spent overseas was a pretty good one. I'm looking forward to spending the next one with my family and friends, but I will always remember the sound of my little British schoolchildren singing Happy Birthday and the Underground Musician.
And the fact that there was no snow, 16 degrees, and flowers everywhere. Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day.
Thanks to all of you who sent birthday messages, cards, emails, phone calls, etc. My 28 years on this planet would not be nearly as happy without you.
Cheers & Happy St. Patrick's Day!! (i'm off to try and drink some more. Oh the hardship of being part-Irish!)