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Birthday Reflections 2013: The 21 Affair

Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, 21

This time last year, I was at Kathmandu.
Plagued by a cold that wants me to cough my lungs out, I turned 20 there with 3 cakes.

3 Cakes.
That was the most amount of cake I’d eaten in a day.
The first cake was because the subject I photographed was celebrating her birthday so we had a cake.
The second one was when my subject found out I had the same birthday as her and went to get another cake just for me.
The third one was by the amazing Kathmandu Inside Out workshop participants finished with a hand-drawn camera and a smile.

I thought that was one of the most amazing days I had and was extremely humbled and fortunate.

Ckaes, Kathmandu

Cake by the KIO girls<3

I never actually organised a birthday party in my life.
No balloons; fairy princess-themed dress up; mind-blowing cake; pretty hotels; drunken stories to tell.
I guess I didn’t get the hang of inviting a bunch of people and cutting a cake.

My 21st birthday is approaching and to be honest, I always feel excited when it does.
A little girl’s dream but it always seemed like a day where the sun shines a little brighter and you wake up to sparkles and rainbows.

According to my mum, 21 is ‘something big and worth celebrating.’
After all, it is the age of adulthood and many of my friends had beautiful parties this year.

To me, 21 seems to be the age for me to do things like moving out of Singapore the house or getting a bike license without my parents putting the restraining order on me.
21 seems to come a new set of responsibilities and that is really scary for me.
Although I never feel my age and most people can’t tell that I am barely 20; they normally add 5-7 years to it.
I guess I am just an old soul stuck in a young body…

Then again, strip down the layers and I am still your frightened; in-secured twenty-something who is trying to make sense of how everything works. Birthday parties included.

I’m not throwing a party this year but a dear friend of mine told me to make a birthday wish anyways and swears that it will come true.
Honestly, my wish is really simple.
To see and have a small dinner with the three people I love and care for: the gypsy, bear and small girl. Oh and my dog by my side.
It will be cosy, lots of small banter, fur and lots of laughter.
ice cream for dessert


Artistic impression of my wish.

Maybe years down the road, I’ll have an actual birthday party.
I’ll invite a bunch of friends, have balloons; alcohol; chocolate cake and a live band.
The theme?

Forever 21.

Jamie Chan, Birthday

A little prettier and wiser. Hopefully.

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