30th birthday

Back in January, I turned 30 and, thanks to Dustin, it was a celebration the likes of which I would have never even imagined. You see, I have always wanted a surprise party but I never thought it was something that would happen for me. At the very least, I thought that even if someone tried to plan one for me, that I would figure it out and end up just feigning surprise. December for us, and particularly for Dustin, was very busy. We visited his family in Edmonton and he spent the last week of December and first 2 weeks of January pretty sick. On top of that, when it comes to planning things, i’ve known him to be pretty last minute. For example, when we went to England in 2018, he booked his hotel room and exchanged money on the morning of our flight. With all of these things in mind, I didn’t think he’d have had the time or energy to plan an extravagant birthday for me but boy was I wrong…

About a week or so before my birthday, he casually asked me how I wanted to celebrate. I was kind of annoyed by this as he knows I hate planning things so I sassed back, telling him that what I want is to not have to decide what we do. He pointed out that there was a new exhibit at Science World doing a pre-opening adults night on the day of my birthday, featuring Lego architecture. Knowing that I like Lego and have a civil engineering background, he suggested that we do that and “all my drinks would be on him”. I grumbled and said “mehhhhh”, reminding him that “it’s not my 29th birthday and it’s not my 31st birthday; it’s my 30th birthday!”. I spent the rest of the night kind of annoyed but was over it by morning.

One of our friends had been hit by the car while biking and spent 27 days in the hospital so we had been trying to visit him as often as we could. The hospital he was at was downtown so we had been taking the SkyTrain and walking there. During one of our visits, we saw an ad at a bus stop for the Science World event and I was feeling more cheerful by then so I told Dustin that we should do his suggestion and celebrate my birthday there. It actually did seem fun and we had gone to a previous adult night there, which was a blast. Lame as it sounds, I was actually excited.

Dustin’s brother and niece had been in town so we had dinner with them a few times. The hotel where they were staying was right next to an amazing sushi restaurant called Miku. It’s one of the top sushi places in Vancouver and that’s saying something, because Vancouver has a lot of great sushi joints. Miku would have been my first choice place to spend my birthday but I didn’t choose it because Dustin is a vegetarian so it just didn’t feel right to drag him to a sushi place. One day, seemingly out of the blue, Dustin commented that he hadn’t been to Miku in a long time (since before he became a vegetarian!) and we should go. I was very surprised but wasn’t going to argue with that! He said he’d call and try to get us a reservation. I suggested that we also stop by Pourhouse afterwards to end the night with some drinks and he happily agreed.

The Saturday before my birthday rolls around and we are lazying around in bed. Dustin was able to get a reso at Miku so we made plans to visit our friend in the hospital first and then walk over. I’m laying there on my phone, scrolling through Reddit posts, when Dustin leaves and re-appears with what is very obviously a bag from a jewelry store. I had been wanting an opal necklace for a long time and had made it known to him, but never thought he would get it since he usually only gifts practical presents. Once I got over the excitement of an early present, I opened it up and low and behold, there it was, a beautiful opal! It was really hard to capture just how pretty it is in a photo but the colours are so beautiful, especially reflecting in the sunlight. He said he figured he would give it to me early in case I wanted to wear it for our dinner that night.

Fast forward to later in the day and we are sitting in the hospital room playing card games. I had started to feel a little antsy because it seemed like we were cutting it kind of close with the timing; I thought we should have left already and was worried we would miss our reso. At last we made it to the restaurant and the host began to lead us to our table when suddenly I saw my brother sitting there. At first, I thought “oh wow, I guess his friends like fine dining because he would never come here on his own”. I noticed that he was sitting next to my sister and one of my friends and it finally hit me that they were here for me! As I moved to greet them, I noticed that my other friends had materialized behind me and everyone was wishing me a happy birthday! It was such a great feeling! While I had thought he left everything to the last minute, he had actually planned it all out long before, making the reso as early as allowed by the restaurant.

We sat down and ordered food and drinks. Everything was amazing. Even the vegetable nigiri somehow looked like fish. I didn’t try it but Dustin said it was buttery smooth. When the meal was finished and a server arrived holding a new plate, I didn’t think much of it; the restaurant knew it was my birthday so I figured I would get some sort of token birthday dessert. I quickly realized that the server wasn’t holding just one plate but two and whatever was on them was far too big to be the free dessert given by the restaurant. As the plates were lowered, it became clear that it was actually a beautiful birthday cake in the shape of “30”! A week or so before, I had been scrolling through Facebook and had seen a really pretty cake. I absentmindedly showed it to Dustin but truly had no expectations of getting anything like that. After all, I wasn’t planning to have any kind of party so there was no need for a cake. Dustin went and found the photo and commissioned one of his baker friends to make it for me. Under the guise of taking Nimbus for a walk, he had managed to pick it up and drop it off at the restaurant without me suspecting a thing.

beautiful cake! it was really hard to take a good picture due to where the light fixture was…

The fun didn’t end there. Dustin also booked a private room at my favourite Karaoke bar for all of us to go to after Miku. Karaoke is one of my favourite things ever so I was super excited to sing the night away with so many of my close friends. Another great thing about that particular bar is that they have a drink called the “Tokyo Tea” which tastes just like a melon soda, but with alcohol! So awesome!!

siblings and Dustin at the end of the night

I was so happy and felt so special. I was totally amazed that someone had actually been able to surprise me. Just when I would think that it couldn’t get any better, it was as if Billy Mays appeared shouting “but wait, there’s more!”. The whole night was just surprise after surprise. Words couldn’t describe how touched I felt. I was sitting there at karaoke, thanking Dustin for such an amazing birthday and telling him how excited I was to go to Science World with him. I suggested that since we didn’t go to Pourhouse that night, maybe we could go after Science World instead. To my even bigger surprise, Dustin tells me “we’re not going to Science World…we’re going to Vegas!”.

Now to give some background on this, I had been pestering Dustin to go to Vegas for months. I love wandering around Vegas and ever since first traveling with him, I knew he’d be the perfect companion with which to wander the strip and drink alcoholic slurpees at 4am. I wanted to watch Ka by Cirque and see Jabbawockeez. Since we could get cheap show tickets through work and we both love to travel, I figured it would be a nice weekend trip. Unfortunately, he teaches for 8 hours on Sundays and 3 hours on Monday evenings. He also said that with where his current project is at, he didn’t want to take time off work any time in the near future. This all made sense so I gave up on the idea and figured we could aim for sometime next year.

But we were going to Vegas!!! Not only that but he had already spoken to my boss about it so I was all cleared to take the time off. He had snatched up the plane tickets during a black Friday sale, which means he had actually planned this whole shebang way back in November! He had also booked tickets to Ka, Jabbawockees, and the shark reef exhibit at Mandalay Bay. Although he didn’t know it at the time, I had always wanted to go to the shark reef exhibit so I was even more excited. Another nice coincidence: I had always wanted to stay at Luxor because it looks like such a cool hotel, and guess where we were staying!

Vegas was everything I had hoped it would be. After landing and getting all checked in to our hotel, we went to wander the strip. Our first stop was Fat Tuesdays, where we picked up some tacky cups which were refilled countless times over the course of the trip. We scoped out some restaurants to try and just generally wandered around people watching and enjoying each others company.

Both the shows we saw were amazing and totally exceeded expectations. The costumes in Ka were so beautiful and the set design was amazing. Jabbawockeez did an awesome job of interacting with the crowd. I didn’t realize how funny the show would be. We ate lots of delicious things in Vegas and did some shopping for our out of this world outfits. We lost some money at BlackJack and spent a miserable hour in an overcrowded club but even that is fun when you have such good company! It was an amazing trip and I reminisce about it often.

Back in Vancouver, Dustin had also arranged a birthday dinner with my family. We ate delicious Indian food and played card games. They had all banded together to surprise me with an Oculus Quest!

This was the best birthday i’ve ever had in my life. I’ve never been so surprised or felt so special. I still can’t believe just how multi-faceted it was; I got everything I wanted and more! Dustin really knocked it out of the park and I felt even more lucky than usual to have him in my life.

at the Hoover Dam, Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge in the background

i love adidas

I had been wanting something from this line but all the stuff I had tried on at the Adidas store in Vancouver just didn’t fit quite the way I wanted it to. While wandering around Nordstrom, I found a men’s small t-shirt on sale for a good price so I bought it and later modified the sleeves for a cuter fit. The next day, when we went to the hoover dam, I made the mistake of assuming that just because it’s Vegas, it would be hot. Instead I found myself shivering at breakfast. There wasn’t enough time to go back to the room before the tour bus came and I knew I would be miserable so I decided to buy a sweater. I hadn’t seen this one at the Adidas store in Vancouver but I loved the fit so I scooped it up… and that’s how I ended up with a shirt and sweater with the exact same print on them.

in the club, where Dustin paid $24 USD for two (2!!!) bottles of water

delicious lobster bisque that I loved so much, Dustin went and bought me a second one


chillest starfish ever

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