I think I am officially in my late twenties now, which I find quite depressing! I sort of feel like since my accident the years have just been wasted… and I have probably missed out on so much potential fun. But I don’t like to dwell on that and this year I had some very unique but very special birthday celebrations to mark the big 2-7!!
I was told a few days before my birthday that Dr Zhu, the head of the Kunming Walking Programme, wanted to throw a small party in the gym for me. I said there really wasn’t a need, but she insisted, and so plans continued behind my back for a few days. I have picked up enough Chinese to know when people are talking about me, especially when it is right in front of me, so I knew that something was being planned, but I had no idea what the actual details were…I will cut to the chase, and just show you a picture of the incredible effort that all of the staff went to…
Birthdays are not really a big thing in the south of China. Emma, for example, didn’t tell me about her birthday until after it had occurred, and she said she hasn’t celebrated it since she was a child. So it was really touching that all of the Chinese went to such an effort for me. As my family weren’t with me, they wanted to make me feel special, and they definitely succeeded. I had a card, cake, presents, flowers and sooo much food. As you can see it was quite an impressive party.
The next day Ali and her dad Ralph took me out for lunch along with Emma and Jenny. We went to the InterContinental Hotel, which is our new discovery in Kunming and I think it is probably everyone’s favourite place now! It is less than 10 minutes away by taxi, which is amazing seeing as everywhere else is at least 30 minutes away. The hotel was only built about 9 months ago so is almost brand new, and it is absolutely gorgeous. It is also enormous, and accessibility is not an issue in the slightest (which is a first for Kunming!).
We ate in the Chinese restaurant within the hotel. Even ordering food from here is exciting as the menus are on iPads and each dish has a photo and description in English and Chinese. And then you just select what you want and the order goes through automatically. I was pretty impressed with this!
The food was delicious…I had been quite overwhelmed by the huge amount of choice, so Ali took charge and ordered a selection of dishes for the table. There was so much food and it was all presented so beautifully. And for dessert Jenny had bought be a cheesecake, which was probably the best cheesecake I have ever had. I thought the Chinese were pretty rubbish at sweet food, but I guess I was wrong!
For me the lunch was absolutely perfect… the hotel makes you forget that you are even in China and instead transports you to some luxury tropical paradise. It was just what I needed after a few very intense weeks in the gym.
I also managed to celebrate my birthday with my family over Skype… my mum and dad very kindly made a cake, lit the candles and sung happy birthday to me, along with my sister who was part of our 3-way conversation. My parents then ate the cake in front of me (they’re nice like that!)
So now I am a year older, and I would like to think wiser! I never imagined on my 26th birthday that I would be in China celebrating this year… so who knows where I will be next year and what I’ll be doing.