Birthdays in Shu-lin

I celebrated my 32nd birthday on January 18th.  It’s truly amazing that every year for the last four years, I’ve celebrated my birthday in a different country.  Each year has been special and unique in its own way.   This year proved to be no exception.  I spent a wonderful day with my friends and co-workers at school.  They surprised me with a birthday cake and I was overwhelmed with good wishes, special gifts and cards.  I’m not even sure who told my students that it was my birthday.  I had kids showing up to spread birthday cheers on their days off! 

When I arrived at school, there was a package from home on my desk.  My family had mailed all sorts of goodies, including some Canadian cosmetics, some new clothes and a gorgeous handmade scarf from my mother.  In addition to these lovely gifts, I also received a pair of jade earrings from my boss, Carol.  My friend, Queenie, proved how well she knows me with a bottle of Dior body lotion.  My students brought me chocolates and made some beautiful birthday cards for me.  And John blew my breath away with a gorgeous rose colored Anna Sui wallet adorned with tiny crystals and an enamel butterfly.  It truly is a work of art and something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.  Needless to say, I was completely spoiled!

I spent the afternoon with my friend, Sandy.  She and I work together and she’s a very inspiring and dedicated teacher.  I’ve learned a lot from her this year.  She’s a lovely person and is someone that I am proud to call a friend.  Sandy took me to a sweet little hair salon in Banciao where I was treated like a princess for the afternoon.  We chatted all afternoon about teaching, students, boys, fashion and all the other mundane things that make true girl talk extra special. 

I had been looking forward to seeing our good friends and fellow WordPress bloggers, Jo and Ranjit all week.  They made special plans to come to our home in Shu-lin.  They are extra busy with work and apartment hunting these days and are also in the process of applying to university here in Taiwan, so I was extra-appreciative of the effort and time that they took to come and spend the evening with us.  We spent a great afternoon catching up on each other’s latest news.  I was finally able to show off our photo album from last year’s trip!  I know this probably doesn’t sound like much to you, but I’m quite fond of scrapbooking and it was nice to relive and share our travels with good friends who will be embarking on similar journeys of their own this year.

They gave me a gorgeous Dior eyeshadow kit.  Geez, my friends know me so well!  I guess you could say that I collect make-up.   I’m a die-hard Sephora fan and have been known to spend hours oohing and ahhing over their website.  Make-up and Lonely Planet guides are my addictions.  I collect like they’re going out of style. 

We had a quick meal at our local hot pot restaurant.  John and I had really wanted to take them somewhere special for dinner, but Ranjit was lucky enough to get a job interview later on in the evening.  So, we thought we’d leave a special dinner for another day.  It gives us another reason to get together as far as I’m concerned.  Joanna stayed with us and I can’t tell you how lovely it was to spend some extra time with her.  Jo took the opportunity to turn our small apartment into her own private studio and snapped several pictures of me, which you can view here

We made our way into Taipei around 8pm after a few drinks at our place and made our way to The Cellar, where we were joined with some friends and fellow Reach To Teach teachers.  John and I had met Amy the week before.  She was waiting for us when we arrived.  Druvha and Anna also showed up, despite being sick.  We really enjoy their company as well and hope to be able to do more with them over the next few months before our contract ends.  

Our evening ended rather abruptly at the Velvet Underground in the basement of the Mitsukoshi Building across from Taipei Main Station.  Originally, we had made plans to go to Luxy, but a friend had told me that there was going to be a big party at Velvet Underground.  I figured that with a name like Velvet Underground, it had to be a pretty good party.  I was really excited for some all out dancing and partying, but the party turned out to be a total bust.  What a disappointment!  I felt like a heel after dragging Jo and Ranjit there.  It was really bad.  Ah well, you live and learn.  We won’t go back.  Nevertheless, we still had a fabulous time with good friends and that’s what’s most important to me.  There will be other times and other places.  And I have to admit, today I was feeling my age.  After being up since 6:30am and on the go for the entire day, my bed was calling me home. 

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Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian who has been living in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. I'm an experienced businesswoman and have worked in many leadership positions in Asia. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. I started writing about my health journey in 2009 after being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, which came with other massive health issues. These diagnoses were the start of my journey as a health advocate and patient leader. Since then, My Several Worlds has been recognized worldwide as a top site for AS, fibromyalgia, and chronic illness by WEGO Health and Healthline.

1 thought on “Birthdays in Shu-lin


    (February 8, 2007 - 6:13 pm)

    Wow Carrie! This is such a touching and heartfelt post. It was a pleasure to see you for your birthday and meet your friends. Looking forward to seeing you and John soon…

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