By Nasya Alcaide
2012 was a little different. I made a friend on one of the days when I took my son to the park. Until today she is still my best friend. On my birthday she came over with a cup of tiramisu with a candle and sang happy birthday. One of the best thing of having American best friend is that she is very understanding. There are times when I don?t respond to her text messages, or returned her phone calls, but she did not get mad or called me ?sombong? (arrogant). We are best friend but we didn?t have to see each other every day though she literally lived two blocks from me and that she also has a son who is 3 weeks younger than my son.
The year after I celebrated with my husband?s family again. We had barbeque party and eat a lot. My husband?s family is mostly Mexicans so I learned to eat Mexican food, listen to Mexican songs, and the best thing of all is Spanish dances: cumbia (read: koom-bee-ya), bachata (read: ba-cha-ta), merengue (read: meh-rang-geh), salsa (read: sal-sa). I could not believe how much have I missed in dancing. I love dancing! I felt like I was so behind, because Indonesians don?t really dance, when they do, it?s usually at a night club and female (mostly) will get a bad reputation for going to clubs. I remember my mother always wanted me to be home by 11 at night ? I mean, the nights were still very young! But I thanked her, because the type of dancing that they do in those clubs are erotic dances. Spanish dances on the other hand, are very beautiful. When I have the chance to visit one day, I?ll teach you how to. It?s very easy!
2014 was the year I broke 30. I had a big party themed ?Flirty Thirty? at a Latin Club called Rise, and left my son with his grandma. My birthday was on Saturday but we went there the night before knowing we wouldn?t have let the place at least at 2 PM. I was right, the club was filled with people! A few times the DJ called out my name ?Happy Birthday to Nash!? pointing a spotlight to me and people were cheering. I danced so much that night, and drank a lot of vodka cranberry, but it was one hell of a night. My husband?s friends from his Zumba class were there too, so the night was filled with professional dancers on the dance floor!
This year, 2015, I went to a Strip Club. Don?t judge me. I came from a country where it is very taboo to explore sensuality, so experiencing a Strip Club was one of the items in my bucket list. Yes I was worried, but I am married so I know my husband will protect me. I started my birthday by going to a racetrack, and no I don?t mean cars. There were horses! The place was really nice; we ate at a Sports Bar called Victory where we could see the race from the third floor. When it was closer to midnight, we head out to Satin Dolls. I knew this place from watching the movie The Sporano?s bada bing. Apparently it is only 1 mile from where I live, very close. It was a bit awkward but then I could see that not all the women were attractive and they keep asking for money! I didn?t stay for too long maybe for one hour and left feeling a bit disappointed. I guess my expectation to the place was much higher. Anyways, I?m glad I went to experience that although I didn?t like it.
Comparing Indonesian and American birthday, I could clearly see that there are many limitations in Indonesia for example, I can?t go to strip club to avoid public?s judgement; I can?t have barbeque because there?s no backyard (Jakarta is very cluttered ? who has a backyard nowadays) and it?s odd not to invite your neighbors (what are they going to say?), I couldn?t go places and my guests couldn?t go places because of the traffic, where can we get drinks, and so many other worries. In America you can do whatever you want to do. Small party, big party, everyone loves party and won?t feel bad if they?re not invited. The only thing I miss about having a birthday in America is my family and the prayers. Usually we will have a praying session for the birthday person. I guess one more comment if I can add to this story is that Indonesians are very religious and superstitious while Americans are very realistic.
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