One of the hardest parts of expat life for me is the isolation and silence of unshared milestones. Yes, birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and more still exist and take place, but without much celebration or, for lack of a better word, fanfare. There have been 10 Halloweens here, only one with trick-or-treating. A few Thanksgivings I ate alone while my husband had to work late. Even a couple birthdays alone.
I’ve learned that making sure milestones do not pass silent and unshared is key to making the years count, whether you are an expat or anyone your moments deserve to be celebrated.
Two major successes recently as I’ve learned how to make the moments special.
1) This summer, my second son’s first birthday was very close to when we were in the States so we had a little birthday party for him. Whoever could come for cake on a Saturday afternoon. We literally had cheese puffs and cake – and it was fabulous. It has been harder for me here as years add up.
2) For a big birthday a couple years ago, a handful of friends went out for dinner with me for steak. It was simple, but perfect.
One of these years I will have a proper birthday party though. I had a few friends over one year when I did not have the energy or health to do more then another year we did a brunch for all our December birthdays, but no grand night out. Perhaps because I’m not a drinker. I long for a night out like we used to do back in the States, but then we drank in moderation and were home at 2am. Here, it is all drink and home at dawn. That has never been my modus operandi or style, so if that ever happens I must perfect my Irish goodbye and slip out when no one notices.
Here are pics from a few moments the past decade in Ireland…
This cake is one I baked myself for my 30-somethingth birthday. Two expats joined me for cake because I was otherwise on my own that weekend.
Almost every birthday week since I moved here, I pop into Idaho Cafe for a hot chocolate. Sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend.
More than one of our birthday cakes have come from the English Market.