I love my birthday–always have, always will.
So, I was pretty sad this year when Jean Philippe and I couldn’t celebrate it together.
I turned 21 this past weekend and instead of going out to the bars in Davis, I wanted to go home.
I’m sure I could have had a nice time celebrating in Davis, but to be honest, I wasn’t super comfortable with the idea of partying around town. Before Bordeaux, I did my fair share of going out. I was involved with Greek life (which I have since deactivated…I’ll have to get into that later) where “themed gatherings” were scheduled three times a week. Once I got to Bordeaux, the whole taboo of partying and drinking went away.
The way the French drink is very different than the way Americans are taught to drink. In France, the legal drinking age is 18, but most people begin drinking in their home at family dinners earlier on. The biggest difference seems to be that the French drink for taste rather than to…well get drunk. So, my relationship with alcohol became a lot different when I got to France– a lot healthier.
Don’t get me wrong, I still did my fair share of going out and exploring Bordeaux’s nightlife. But there was something very different about getting a drink out in town rather than chugging vodka in a frat house.
I had questioned what I was getting out of my sorority for some time. There were times I loved being a part of it–I had met some great women and was given the opportunity for some leadership roles. And then there were a lot of times I felt like all it was giving me was access to parties. Being in a sorority is expensive—fees totaled up to about a thousand dollars a year. Within the first couple of weeks of being in France, I seriously questioned the value of being in a sorority. I knew some people who loved it, who felt so connected to each other and to this organization. And I just didn’t feel that way anymore.
So, I deactivated.
When I told my friends who were in my sorority, most of them were understanding and supportive. A couple didn’t take the news as well, but it eventually blowed over. Coming back to Davis, I wasn’t very close with the people I had been good friends with before I left. Part of this was my fault and another part just seemed to be a lack of common interests.
I do still talk to some friends every now and then, but since I no longer saw them at weekly meetings, we just didn’t spend much time together anymore.
I haven’t been to a single party since coming back to Davis–and I’m completely okay with that. I guess part of me doesn’t want to be reminded of the party girl I was before leaving…and the other part just has no interest in being put in that environment again.
I’d rather spend the evening drinking a glass of wine with my roommates than spend the night pre-gaming for a party in a dirty fraternity house.
This isn’t supposed to be a pretentious “I’m above alcohol and Greek life” kind of post. And I hope it doesn’t come off that way. But I want to be honest. And the truth of the matter is I don’t really feel comfortable going out and partying in Davis anymore, at least not the way I used to. So, I certainly didn’t feel comfortable going out to the bar scene in Davis for my birthday.
I also didn’t really like the idea of me going out and getting crazy in Davis while my husband was in Melbourne. I’m sure he wouldn’t have had a problem with it, but truth be told I don’t feel very comfortable going out and drinking without him. I just have more fun when I’m with JP. I know he’s always looking out for me and we can have a good time together. While I am an adult, not having that sense of security while being at a bar in Davis made me a little bit nervous. I didn’t want to have people encouraging me to take shots just because it was my birthday and I didn’t want to deal with any possible peer pressure.
So, I decided to go home! And I’m so glad I did. I got to spend the time relaxing with my family, hearing countless verses of “Happy Birthday” by my little brother and sister and being endlessly spoiled by my mom.
I got to open a special present from my wonderful husband at the stroke of midnight via Skype.
I got to eat Princess cake–my favorite kind (my mom drove 20 miles to find it).
I got to drink champagne with my mom and stepdad.
And I got to relax.
So, that’s why I decided to go home for my birthday! It may not be everyone’s first choice, but it was the one that made me the happiest and most comfortable 🙂
Photo by Jean Philippe Smith