This year I turned 26, and do you know what that means?
Let me weed out some possible answers for you: the legal drinking age in Australia is 18, in America it’s 21. I am old enough to rent a hotel room and a car… So have you guessed it yet? 26 means it’s time to pay for my own health insurance! That birthday money from my parents I was going to use to buy this pair of shoes, I put towards my brand new health insurance plan. Thanks mom and dad!
But getting into my birthday weekend recap from a newly turned 26 year old..
On Saturday morning Ben and I were supposed to wake up for dawn Anzac service, but we never set that 4:30 alarm and instead found ourselves rolling out of bed around 6:30 when service was finished. I scrambled to find another Anzac service for us to attend and we ended up in Cooks Hill (our new neighborhood) for a memorial dedication on the beach!
After the ceremony Ben surprised me with breakfast at The Locale; a cafe neither one of us had been to, but he thought I would like because they had a sandwich on their menu with chipotle. He was right! My eyes were drawn to the pulled pork, ham, and gruyere sandwich while he went for a spicy meatball and parmesan sub… and of course we continued our birthday tradition with chai lattes!
While we ate breakfast I tried to get more hints from Ben as to what we were going to do for the day but he wasn’t cracking. He told me there wasn’t a set schedule for the day and I could take a nap when we got home – heck yes!!
In fact we lounged around for so long that his plan A didn’t happen at all. It wasn’t totally our fault though. Having a birthday on a public holiday in Australia is rough. For my American friends it would be like the equivalent of having a birthday every year on Easter (not actually possible). Almost everything has extremely limited hours or is shut, except for a few cafes and restaurants that offer special menus at higher prices.
After a few hours we ended up on a secluded cliff in Merewether with a picnic blanket, wine, crackers, and cheese to watch the sunset.
And take silly photos.
While we enjoyed the views I was informed that this was his plan B and that we would have to do plan A another weekend. Plan A being a trip to Sydney for a shopping spree at Williams Sonoma!! He totally gets me.
The sun was just about to set when we noticed lightning all around us and hightailed it up a hill and through a fence to the car (while the cliff is safe – as long as you aren’t near the edge, it’s still blocked off from the public). Once in the car we poured another glass and watched a massive storm roll in.
Once home we put on our fancy duds and headed out for a nice dinner at another restaurant I had never been to.
Unfortunately, it’s also a restaurant I will not be going back to. It took 25 minutes to get a server at our table, and when we did we ordered our cocktails and dinner at once. 20 minutes later my cocktail was served, 10 minutes later dinner was served, and about 5 minutes into that Ben got his cocktail. Needless to say we were not impressed with the service.
But it wasn’t just the unimpressive service that turned us off… both of the meals we ordered were over priced and bland. When the waitress asked us how our meals were we told her they were fine.. she asked if we were sure and we told her our honest feedback and that it was very unlikely we would return. She attempted to make it up to us with a free dessert which was the best thing I had eaten there, but not enough to salvage the 2-star review we gave them on Yelp.
And then it was time for bed… there was a cake in the fridge when we got home, but instead we crashed – in our fancy clothes!
Sunday morning Ben woke up and turned to me asking when we were going to eat the cake he got for me.. my answer was of course, “breakfast!” After all my birthday is technically on the 26th in Australia thanks to the time difference. He hopped right out of bed and went into the kitchen to prepare the cake while I put on some comfortable clothes for the day. When Ben came back in… New York Style CHEESECAKE!
My real deal “I woke up like this” look below.
And party poppers. We had too much fun exploding these babies all around the room – while eating giant slices of cheesecake for brekkie.
We left Ben’s car at the restaurant the night before, although we hadn’t had too much to drink – we would have if drinks were a bit faster there, we arranged a ride home in advance and couldn’t cancel it. So we Ubered it back to the car at the beach and got chais while watching the surfers catch their morning waves.
And then Ben ubered me home. Yep, that’s right, Ben is now an Uber driver. He just started Friday as Uber just started in Newcastle last week. All the rides have been free but drivers were paid a huge hourly rate (think double what I made working for a university in America!) I mean, have you ever had an Uber driver as cute?? I had him Uber me to get a late night snack on Friday. Hello Uber date night!
Ben then stayed online and Ubered around town for the rest of Sunday while I laid in bed watching Netflix. I am on a documentary kick lately watching the Lance Armstrong doco, and The Queen of Versailles which is centered around an Orlando family I had never heard of despite living in Orlando for six years.
Ben finally got home and we agreed upon Thai for dinner as we want to get the most out of our current neighborhood before we move across town and don’t venture up here anymore for food.
I crashed on the couch and woke up to find that Ben was out Ubering again. I can’t really knock the guy though – we’re moving and paying for a massive visa to stay in Australia so all the extra money we can get makes a difference.
And that was the weekend – nothing crazy – and pretty chill birthday, and a lot of eating!
What did you get up to this weekend?
Have you ever tried a new restaurant for a special occasion and it was a bust?