2 Dec 2013

Turning 21 in Grenoble

Bon anniversaire à moi.
 Today is my 21st birthday, and weirdly enough I always imagined I would be somewhere far-flung when that milestone came around. Truth be told my little wanderlusting twelve-year-old self was imagining Japan, or Iceland, or New York. I suppose Grenoble will do though. I'll get to the others eventually.

This time last year I was pretty bloody content. This year I'm not too far off that, except for the fact that things are less comfortable and safe. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though I've come to realise just how much I pine for that solid, bone-deep contentment now that I've had a taste of it.
What else is different? My hair's longer. Sometimes, when it's being particularly troublesome, I miss the ease of my cropped hair. I really did love having it so short, the confidence it gave me in a weird way to have my face that much on show. But there were days, of course, when I missed the safety screen of my long hair, a mass of curls to distract from spots or puffy eyes.
In a way, my hair was a test of my courage and independence like coming to France was. I cut off my hair, to prove I didn't need it; I took three trains across two countries and a small sea and carved out a life on my own, to prove I could. Now, with both of those things, knowing I did it is enough. My hair is going to continue growing out for the foreseeable future, and as for trans-international-border relocation... I suppose there's no avoiding doing that again, but if there's a chance I might not have to do it so much alone I will be taking it, no question.

Last night there was much pizza and wine, tonight there could well be more in the way of alcoholic beverages. If I were American I'd be celebrating being able to drink but, being English, I've been drinking legally for many a year by this point. It hasn't gotten too boring yet though (the same can not be said for hangovers.) Vis-à-vis the pizza, the fact that my flatmate and I have been eating the cold leftovers all morning reminds me of this birthday I had years and years ago. Perhaps it was my tenth. I remember it very clearly because it was maybe the coolest I've ever felt - it was the first time any of my friends had ventured into the world of sleepover birthday parties and my particular sleepover went down as legend for the one simple fact that my mum let us have pizza for breakfast. Not even leftovers: fresh out of the oven. Her reputation with the other parents never completely recovered but she was forevermore known as 'Rebecca's cool mum who let us have pizza for breakfast that time'.
I can't believe how lucky I've been for twenty-one whole years now.

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