November 16, 2016

22nd at Redwood

I think I have found the exact formula for the best birthday. This is my second year following the same structure for my plans and I wholeheartedly intend to continue to do so for every birthday for as long as I possibly can. So for those of you looking to get some inspiration for your next birthday, let me recap for you how I spent the 11th of November celebrating my 22nd birthday.


When I was younger, I always made it a point to try and stay up til midnight for my birthdays. However, as I've grown older, being awake at that time is just so inherently natural. Considering that my bedtimes range from 2am-4am as of late, it is no feat to watch the clock strike 12 at midnight. And though most nights, the reason why I'm up so late is because I'm a university student struggling with my workload, on my birthday, schoolwork was pushed to the back of my mind. 

I spent the night eating red velvet cupcakes, singing along to songs I haven't heard in over 10 years, and opening presents with my family. The day hadn't even started yet and I was already overwhelmed with happiness.


Just like last year, I had every intention of spending my morning outdoors. Just like last year, I wanted to be surrounded by some of my favorite human beings on this planet. This time around, we ventured to an actual forest, in Redwood Park. I had never been prior but as soon as I stepped onto the trails, I knew then and there that this would quickly become my one of my favorite places. 

Close to 20 of us walked through the trail while incessantly stopping every half step to take pictures. In the relatively short amount of distance we covered, we saw so many different landscapes. It was pretty unreal. One moment we were by a massive treehouse, the next we were by a Conjuring-esque tree. Then we passed through fields and lush trees. At one point, we were even amidst a mass of small wooden fairy homes scattered throughout a part of the forest. It was enchanting to say the least, and I felt giddy. 

Towards the end of the trail, there was this picture perfect fall landscape that we walked through. The entirety of the area was silent, barring our occasional sounds of excitement. At one point, I remembered looking up and seeing the leaves falling slowly from the trees. In all honesty, if I could bottle that moment up, I would. In that exact moment, I felt contentment and gratitude deep in my bones.


Then came brunch at our local pub. More people came to join us as we crammed into a long table at midday. I tried something new off the menu, and loved it (chicken pot pie), and also got a pull-tab (thanks, Brandon!). Amidst all the food, I had discussions that ranged from funny laughs, future Groupon goals, and passion projects. Although the long table meant that we were having separate conversations in smaller groups, the fact that I could hear the buzz of everyone around me was more than enough to make me realize how blessed I am to be in their midst. 


When I got home, I took a nap. Anyone who knows me at all knows how happy that nap made me. Especially because this was the kind of nap that didn't have an alarm ringing at the end of it telling me to get back to work.

Picture by: Colleen Umali


For dinner, the family and I went to Milestones so that I could satisfy my long-term craving for fish tacos. Although Tacofino remains as my favorite taco place, the ones at Milestones come a close second. I'm so glad that I'm at the stage in life where my siblings and I predominantly get along. Despite the fact that we still get on each other's nerves, I'm glad that we've gotten past the incessant bickering that ends with someone crying (aka me as a kid, all the time). Naturally, we spent dinnertime talking about non-dinnertime appropriate topics (i.e. would you rather be trapped in a box filled with spiders or just a snake). 
 Picture by: Colleen Umali
 All in all, the day goes down as one of my favorite days in the history of my existence. It was pretty stellar in that I got to spend it with so many of the people that I love. Who cares about the fact that it was my birthday? I just really wanted to do great things with great people. 

So to sum it all up in a mind-numbingly cheesy alliteration, the formula is pretty much just this: 


As a last note, to everyone who was part of that day — whether you ate cupcakes with me at midnight / or if we were exploring fields, forests, and treehouses together / whether you were sitting at that crowded table at the pub / or if you were playing fear-factor would you rather over dinner / Or, if I didn't see you at all but you found a way to say hey — thank you. You have made a newly turned 22 year old feel so incredibly loved. 

I leave you all now with the vlog I made with clips from throuhgout our adventure.

Stay gold,