Since going off to college, my birthday being so close to the beginning of the year has been hard to celebrate. Constantly amongst new people and in a new place, finding people to celebrate with has been difficult. Being in a completely new country for my 21st birthday definitely came with some nerves.
Despite the drinking age here in The Netherlands being 18, everyone still seems excited to celebrate the big 21. For this I was so thankful as 21st birthdays in the states are a big event. On the Thursday night before my birthday I invited my new friends over for a wine night. We all hung out and got to know some of my neighbors and as the clock struck midnight everyone broke out singing Happy Birthday. I’ve learned birthday parties in new places are an excuse to have a party and meet new people.
The morning of my birthday I woke up to a flower delivery of roses from my parents and a complete downpour, a downpour that was supposed to last the entire day, maybe even the whole weekend. I decided to treat myself to breakfast in bed by ordering food from one of the places that deliver via bike. I got myself an acai bowl, a croissant, and orange juice to enjoy while I FaceTimed with family back home who had all woken up extra early to call me and sing Happy Birthday 🙂 .
Being in a new country, meeting new people every day, I figured the best way to celebrate would be to invite everyone I knew to join. Originally, we had planned to bike to a brewery in an old windmill called Brouwerij’t IJ. The rain was coming down harder than I’ve ever seen with no signs of letting up so we decided to hop on the metro. We arrived at the brewery at the perfect time and were able to grab a table to fit the group of 12 of us. I was able to sample just about every beer on the menu thanks to my friends who each took turns buying me a drink. The table was under a sky light and above us we could look up through the rain to see the windmill. The warm and cozy brewery ended up being the perfect place to enjoy a rainy day! After spending a greater part of the afternoon at the brewery we walked next door to grab dinner at a vegetarian buffet that had great food for everyone to enjoy.
Later that night, the organization for international students in Amsterdam was hosting a party at a club called Panama. My friend Henriette got me a ticket as my birthday present so that we could all celebrate properly. The DJ was great and played tons of songs in English that were perfect to sing along to. They even had confetti falling from the ceiling the entire night! This ended up being one of the most funs nights I have had here so far. I along with all my new friends danced the entire night. The party started at 23:00 and went until 5:00. I had such a good time and I am so thankful to all my new friends who made my birthday so special.