hello, 27

Today, I woke up a later than usual. I took a leave for my birthday for the first time since I started working. I realized the best thing I want to give myself on this day is an extended, alarm-less sleep. The one that makes you linger under the cool sheets, the one that lets you unhurriedly drift off from your dreams to slowly opening your eyes to soft sunlight against the cool blue walls. It's one of the best feelings.

I turned my phone on and read greetings from friends and family. I love birthdays. I wanted to give them all a big bear hug each just because I want to.

And then... Coffee. That warm liquid that readies you for the rest of the day. Seriously. Whoever discovered this treasure—thank you. You comfort me everyday.

I watched The Little Prince as I ate my toast. I get a lump in the throat every time I watch it. I see so much of myself in the Little Girl and there was this scene that really had me tear up.

Little Girl: Wait, what do you mean, just in time?
Aviator: Well, everyone has to say goodbye, sooner or later.
Little Girl: You're leaving?
Aviator: What if I get that old plane running and what if it's time for me to, well you know, go be with the Little Prince?
Little Girl:

But, he already has his rose.. And I need you here.

Aviator: Hey, hey. You hungry? I know a great place where we can get free pancakes on your birthday.

I just finished the movie when a series of messages sprung up from my phone. Apparently I won something at work. It was a sales excellence program for the region and I was the runner up to the winner. I didn't know there was such a thing and so I leapt from where I was sitting, pacing back and forth with my phone on hand, reading from app to app while my head started to spin. All I know is that I love the people that I work with everyday, and that I like what I do everyday. I wouldn't have made it alone. It's the guys at work that really have done it. I shared the news to my former boss who was back in Amsterdam, and I thanked him of course because it was his direction from the start that made it possible. And he said, "Well done!" just like a true dad.

It is a Friday so I said goodbye to my little sister as she went to school. I took a quick shower and headed off to the gym. This is one thing that I'm really proud of—that I actually, finally, took a step into being healthy. I've been doing it for just a month but I've fallen in love with running already.

I met Mama at the appliance center where we got a new electric fan. The mall is just in front of our village so I carried the big brown box all the way to the trike station to get to home. I took my second shower after that.

Mama, Yana, and I went out again to order our cake for tomorrow's mini celebration with the family. It always fascinates me that my baby sister was born a day before my birthday and that from then on, I will always have someone to celebrate with. 17 years apart and yet no gap in our hearts. I intend to keep it that way.

Yana and I got burgers because we were just really hungry. Us grownup ladies got our manicures while waiting for Dad who was coming from work. He arrived just in time and we borrowed plastic tables and chairs from our favorite neighbor for the mini celebration.

We were so tired from all the errands and the walking, the carrying, the talking—everything—that we just sat on the living room and fell quiet. I shared the work news to my parents and they looked at me the way they always do whenever I do something good—proud. They ate dinner and I got my third shower.

Now I'm writing in bed, waiting for the clock to strike 10:45. It will be 27 years since I had my first breath, my first cry. Of course I can't remember that, but I'm very grateful that I was a baby born in my family.

I still feel like I'm 16 or 18, young and wide-eyed. Still asking the hard questions and telling the hard things like a child to an adult. But I feel older too, like I always have. I feel like I matured too early in my teens and it is ingrained in me. I am a mix up of time, and I wouldn't want to change it.

26 was crazy beautiful. It brought the best surprises I've ever received. But I'm putting it into perspective that it's not always happy and exciting. Most days are like this, as normal as it gets on your birthday. But I'm nothing but thankful to the Dream-Maker.

So hello, 27. Let's run the world wild!

Photos by Monica Padillo