That one time my dreams came true (also known as the last 10 days of April): Part III

A note to the reader: I tried to write about everything that happened during April but realized early on that it would take half an hour to read just one post, which is why I’ve divided it up into 3 parts.


Part Three — the grand finale — of my exciting end to April was the long-awaited arrival of my 21st birthday. Ever since coming to college (especially after studying abroad in a country where the drinking age is 18), I’ve been excited for this day. And it exceeded every expectation I could’ve possibly dreamt up.

Birthday Long Island Iced Tea

Now for the sake of keeping up, my birthday is on April 25th; the talent show took place on April 23rd. April 24th was quite fun because OPAS unveiled the lineup for Season 42 (which is going to be incredible, I must say. We’re bringing Anything Goes!, Guys and Dolls, The Capitol Steps and Sister Act to name a few.) That day we hosted a Preview Party for our donors, and I even got to participate in the announcement! It was a great evening with great friends, celebrating the organization I love so much.

After the Preview Party, my roommates and I ventured to Northgate so that I could order a drink at midnight. (For those of you unfamiliar to College Station, Northgate is our bar district.) It was a calm beginning to a crazy weekend, but I was happy for this because I still had to go class at 8:00 AM! Nevertheless, I was still very excited to order my one drink right as the clock struck midnight.

Birthday wine

After class that morning, my mom drove up to College Station and took me out to lunch. It is such a blessing to be from Houston and go to a school only an hour and a half away; makes visiting loved ones convenient! We had a delicious meal….and glass of wine….at Napa Flats, where I even got to enjoy some birthday gelato! I was so happy to see my mom — she is my favorite person in the world and, although I missed my dad and sisters (my whole family and I celebrated the weekend before), it definitely made my day feel more complete.

The evening of my birthday was spent with my OPAS family, eating fajitas and playing trivia games. For the night of my first day being legal, this seems quite humdrum, however I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My favorite thing to do is simply hang out with my friends and watch a movie or play a board game, so I was extremely content doing just this.

Birthday margarita

Saturday rolled around, which meant it was Spice JAHR day! Spice JAHR is what my three best friends and I call ourselves: JAHR is an acronym of the first letter of our names (Julie, Ashley, Haylie and Rachel), and we put the word “Spice” before it because of the Spice Girls (we’re 90s babies) and because….what do you put in a jar? Spices! We’re very clever girls, can’t you tell?!

That afternoon, Haylie was performing in a dance recital for her organization, Dance Arts Society. She even choreographed one of the dances and was absolutely stunning! Because she had to race off to another event following the show, we decided to meet for dinner at Lupe Tortilla later that evening.

The four of us had so much fun chatting at dinner, and I got to order a margarita! We had planned on going to Northgate that evening, which is why I was very excited to receive a light-up “21” tiara and “Birthday Girl” sash as gifts! (They were also very sweet and got me a gift card to U Paint It). As we drove home from the restaurant, I couldn’t help but think about what a lovely evening it had been: yes, I assumed I wasn’t going to have a memorably crazy 21st birthday story, but I was alright with that. The adventurer in me was a tad disappointed, but I had absolutely not reason to complain about a chill birthday. And here’s where the story takes a turn….

#TutuTurntUp: my official birthday hashtag (no shame)
These two also assisted in the grand surprise!

Julie and I pulled into the driveway only a few minutes before Haylie and Ashley. Usually, we would only have taken one car (as we are roommates), but seeing as Haylie met us at the restaurant, I thought nothing suspicious of us taking two cars. I unlocked the door to find all the lights off….Jokingly, I made a comment about Haylie and Ashley jumping out to yell “Surprise!”, when all of a sudden….BOOM! The lights go on, and standing in our decorated living room were my OPAS friends!

You must know that I truly love surprises. I don’t do very well with scary surprises, but when it comes to playful, fun surprises, I’m joyfully amused. I was so happy to see everyone standing there that I nearly started crying (a typical Rachel reaction). Here were my incredible roommates that had gone above-and-beyond to keep this party a secret, having contacted my other friends and coordinated their arrivals. I truly have the best friends in the world.

We had lots of fun playing games and drinking champagne (thank you, Mom and Dad). After a couple of hours, we ventured over to Northgate where things got pretty crazy. I’ll just leave it at this: the tiara I was wearing flashed “21”, so people kept buying me drinks….and I kept accepting. Not to worry though, I didn’t do anything I regretted and my friends took good care of me (both from bar to bar and driving home).

What started out as a simple birthday with few expectations turned into one of the most memorable weekends of my life, all because of my loved ones. People often say that in relationships, what you put in is what you get out, and I couldn’t agree more. All throughout high school, I really didn’t have that many great friends. There were a few good ones, but for the most part, I stuck with my family because I had been disappointed by my friends so many times in the past. Coming to college and being surrounded by so many people who love me SO MUCH has radically changed my view on what friendship can — and should — be. It is people who get joy from bringing it to those they care about. Based on the amount of joy I’ve been given, you can bet I will constantly strive to give it.

So incredibly lucky to have such wonderful people to celebrate with.

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