Birthdays are stressful.
It’s not surprising that I have a bit of social anxiety…so when it comes time for me to have a birthday, I tense up. People want me to make plans…which is hard when you care SO MUCH about other people having fun at your event that you don’t see a significance in having fun yourself.
Last year my 21st party was at a friends apartment and the first girls didn’t show up until 11pm or 12am. I literally had 20+ guys in an apartment and me… for at least an hour. How awkward was that!
So this year, after I had decided I wanted to step up my game with my school work, I ignored my birthday coming up completely. Social anxieties were stimulated enough by living in a dorm with everyone… let alone being responsible for their enjoyment at on my birthday. Keisha, my loving, beautiful and amazing roommate, asked me every day if I had decided what to do, and every day I said no. I said I was too busy with school to think about it. Which I was.
It’s amazing how hard I worked in school during week 6. I read a textbook to catch up completely in a class of which half the lectures had already taken place, I turned in a C++ assignment meant for people who knew more about the language than I did, and I took two math quizzes. One of which I had to pay a friend, Thomas, to tutor me in as I was so burnt out by the end of the week to study on my own.
By Friday I had shown up for my 9:30 class, prepped for the quiz thanks to Thomas, only to meet my professor, Dr. Acquaah, en route. Turns out the class was at 7:30 and had just ended. Dr. Acquaah laughed so beautifully at this. He let me complete the quiz during the day, which I did this in the air conditioned graduate room that thanks to Thomas. I’ve never appreciated air conditioning so much before this point.
When I returned the quiz to Dr. Acquaah, he “bulldozed himself”, as he termed it, into the birthday party plans. Dr. Acquaah has become one of my favorite professors of all time. He told me his dissertation was only 17 pages because he proved something never done before. As advice, he said I should get into actuarial work for the theory only… so I could easily prove something and get the awards. This was funny, yet it brought up an interesting point. How many theoretical mathematicians get into applied work? If you understand the theory, I imagine a lot of confusion and difficulty in many applied processes could easily be simplified.
By Friday evening I still didn’t have any plans for my birthday…which was on Saturday, the next day. Keisha had done her work backstage asking people about the potential beach option at Bojo beach, a nice beach resort an hour from campus. People wanted to go, so the plan at ~7pm friday became to go there at ~9:30am Saturday for the day. Thanks, Keisha.
Bojo beach was beautiful and fairly empty. We were there from around 11am-5pm. I had a few drinks and a LOT of fun.
Keisha left a little bit earlier than I did, and when I returned I found my door covered in balloons along with gifts on my desk. Candy, fudge, and alcohol from Keisha, Sarah and Thomas. It was a very humbling moment for me to see my peers, whom I haven’t know too long, take their time out for me. I had spent the day so worried about others having fun (At least until the alcohol set it), I never expected anything in return.
I was pleasantly reminded that not everyone is going to like you, but I’ve made some QUALITY friends here in Ghana…I’m overwhelmingly thankful.
Although I was incredibly tired from the beach…I took a few shots to avoid the hangover. I put on my fancy African print dress I had made for me and went out to a bar.
It ended up pouring rain, but Ashley, Thomas and I kept dancing. Soon a parade of people were outside dancing and getting soaked. In this moment I had no cares in the world. This was what I came to Ghana for…an authentic connection to humanity through pure and true fun.
Keisha was able to catch this video of us on her snapchat:
Although the music kept awakening my spirit, Thomas had to keep me standing as I was falling asleep in faster and faster increments… I definitely didn’t make it past 2am. That night I slept completely and utterly in peace as I appreciated the important people in my life. The ones who sacrificed a little bit of their comfort and day to give some love and support to me. To those of you reading this, you’re one of those people. THANK YOU!