By Nasya Alcaide
23 Indonesian Birthdays and 8 American birthdays; I am very fortunate to experience both cultures and therefore would like to share my birthday stories with you. I apologize in advance if there are some grammatical errors as I am typing this story very quickly over my lunch break at work.
My first American birthday was in Nashville, TN. At that time I was studying English at Belmont and lived in a dorm surrounded by International students from Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, and many more. My friends understood how lonely it is to be away from the family, especially the first year. They bought me a cake and cooked ?Kabsa?, a famous Saudi Arabian meal of chicken and rice, very delicious! After dinner we just listened to music and talked until midnight. My friends did ask if I wanted to go out and dance, but I was not big on dancing, so I said no.
My second American birthday was when I was living in Hackensack, NJ. I already made friends over the first semester and they took me out to New York City. We went to a bar that has a place to drink and dance. I was still not big on dancing, so I just sat there talking and drinking (alcohol that is). I learned something about drinking; I drank to have fun whereas in Indonesia people assume people drinking to get drunk. What a shame! There are so many delicious drinks that you can consume without completely getting wasted. I fell in love with Mojito, white rum mixed with mint leaves.
My third American birthday was in 2009. My boyfriend and his cousin came over to my apartment. He brought me gift and asked my sister and I to go out for a dinner. We went to Argentinean restaurant in East Side (New York City). I learned that New York City offers so many different types of cuisine: Greek, Turkish, Argentinean, Ethiopian, and many more. That year I spent so much money trying different food from different countries.
My next birthday was in 2010. I was married and at that time pregnant. My in-laws invited their family members, not my family because mine lives in Indonesia, to have a barbeque at their backyard. My birthday usually falls on a Memorial Day weekend, of which Americans celebrate on the last Monday in the month of May to remember their heroes, so it was a good time to get together. My vivid memory from this year was the mountain of burgers, chips, hotdogs, steaks, and so much food!
In 2011, I didn?t really remember anything. I was very exhausted from having a baby with very limited help. If I had the baby in Indonesia, I would have hired a maid, have my mom, sister, cousin helping me to watch the baby but it is very different in America. My baby was my responsibility. Maids or childcare service is very expensive so after my son was born, I stayed home caring for him.
TO BE CONTINUED
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