Another year older (and wiser)

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…

birthday 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!).

The entrance is impressive enough...

The entrance is impressive enough…

2014-04-26 11.02.41

2014-04-26 11.03.382014-04-26 11.17.22We 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!

More Than We Could Eat

Birthday Reflections

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!)

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 11.41.43

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.

7 thoughts on “Another year older (and wiser)

  1. Good morning to you Suzanne. I really look forward to reading about what you are doing in China. I too have broke my neck and back along with other injuries in an accident and I can relate so much to what you are going through. You really are a true inspiration and I admire so much the true grit and determination you have to push your body and mind so that you can have a better life in the future, and doing it alone in a foreign country is absolutely a testament to the courage you have found. I worked in Hong Kong many years ago and if you get chance to stop off there on your transit flight it is well worth the time.

    I look forward to receiving further news of your time in China.

    Kind regards.

    Adam Pearce


  2. What memories you will hold of your Chinese birthday! Everyone obviously loves you out there – I’m so pleased they made it special. By the way you look fabulous. God Bless Love Celia

  3. Dear Suzanne. I have been trying for some time to contact you and your family who I once knew when we lived in Surrey. Life has a habit of throwing some surprising challenges and I have smiled with very fond memories of your parents, and what is a familiar Edwards resilience and determination to challenge this particular challenge in these words on your blog. You were all always succeeders in whatever you faced. Please send my love to all the family and of course, to you. If Sam is getting married – she was my very special bridesmaid! Much love. Louise Black.

    • Thank you Louise, and so lovely to hear from you! I have passed on your email address to mum as she said she would love to hear about how you all are. Yes, Sam is getting married this summer, as is Pip (and Nicky got married last summer)…I’m the last Edwards girl left now! Much love to you and the rest of the family, and hopefully see you at some point in the near future xx

  4. Just to say I think you write beautifully and are such a courageous, inspiring, uplifting person. I lived in China for a while and love hearing about it. Please continue to blog!

  5. I like the helpful information youu provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog andd check again here frequently.
    I’mquite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

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