Thursday to Sunday night marked several days of prepping, stressing, loving, decorating, cooking, drinking, eating and overall celebrating. I’m officially in my late twenties and while I’m still wrapping my head around that, this weekend was very very special.

My first South African birthday was incredible because I had two visitors who came all the way from Chicago to help me celebrate. This was so sweet because at the time I was still meeting people and making friends, so to have two people there that knew me well and knew how much I love my birthday, was a real treat. They ensured that despite having this “what am I doing here” anxiety, my birthday was properly celebrated with lots of dancing, drinks and even a little karaoke (we’re American, we can’t help it). I’m lucky to have friends back home that still know what my birthday means to me, and sent so much birthday love my way even though we haven’t seen each other in over a year.

3 birthdays later, this was the first time since moving to South Africa, that I decided to throw myself a party. At this point I figured I knew enough people to fill my home and everyone likes a party, right? What I wasn’t expecting, was all the love I received. I know what my friends mean to me, especially as a foreigner, they really are my family here. However, when you realize what you mean to other people, it’s just such an amazing feeling. My South Africans really gave me a big hug this weekend, and I can’t even express how grateful I am to have them all in my life. It was overwhelming and definitely one of my favorite birthdays so far.

Below are a few pictures from the day, including the menu. I wanted to do a vegan menu, but that was vetoed by the two boys I live with. Nevertheless, many veggie treats and a staple that I insist on always having: crudités and hummus. Yes, it’s just raw vegetables, but if you’re like me and obsessed with veggies, this is simple and necessary. Enjoy the pictures! After lots of celebrating, a detox is in order… I’m thinking a juice cleanse followed by a raw food challenge, still brainstorming. More on that later!





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