Let me  begin with this:  I always unintentionally ruin surprises that people have planned for me.  Maybe I’m too observant?  Maybe I ask too many questions?  Maybe I’m just unsurprisable.. until today.

The Decoy.
My cousin started this trend where, once a month, we meet up to catch up on all of life changes, worries, accomplishments and such.. and before leaving that lunch/dinner date, we pick a date for the next month.  After our May “Happy Birthday to each other” lunch, we looked to our calendars to set the next one:  June 10th.  Then we recalled how we both wanted to try going to one of those “afternoon tea” rooms, so we set that for the theme.. and agreed on the fancy hats, pearls and tea time dresses.

The Morning Of.
To be honest, June 10th came quicker than I anticipated it to.  And to be further honest, with having started my new job, commute and having only every other weekend off with split days off in between, I almost wanted to cancel.  Good Thing I Didn’t.

My dog shook to wake me up.  I got dressed in my white tea length dress that my Auntie had just given me a week before.. grabbed my big brimmed white sun hat that I got and wore only once while in San Diego in 2012, put on my pearls that my late grandmother had gifted me years ago and then awaited my cousin’s arrival to pick me up.

She let me blab on and on the whole drive down to The English Rose Tea Room in Pleasanton.. with my scattered way of telling stories.  We laughed, enjoyed the scenery and eventually found our way to the little tea garden that led to the tea room.  It was pink and pretty, with trinkets and dolls, and we were greeted by the lovely owner, Lisa who showed us to our table and arm chairs filled with comfy pillows.

Our server, Miriam, instantly felt like extended family.  She got us settled with a sample of coconut flavored black tea and took our orders of Spring Blossom and Oolong Black Dragon.  Then came the three tiers of deliciousness in our Queen’s Scrumptious Afternoon Tea:  sweets on top, savories in the middle and finger sandwiches on the bottom.  I will admit that I did not think I would get full from the food.. but we only got about 2/3s of the way through the delicacies and found ourselves ready to go.. so we packed up the rest, grabbed some souvenirs from their shop and then took a stroll around downtown.  We walked and talked, which I later found that my cousin was stalling and sparingly texting to see how the set up was going.

My Arrival.
We got back to my house, and I saw one of my sister’s friends walking towards the door, then walking back to her car.  I called out to her and she said that my sister wasn’t answering her phone, so I offered to get the door for her and apologized for my sister.

I opened the front door and was instantaneously greeted by loved ones yelling “SURPRISE!” with confetti poppers and 30 cupcakes all held by loved ones with candles lit as they sang “Happy Birthday”.  My honest first instinct was to close the door and not go in because my thought was “Oh no, I ruined the surprise, this isn’t for me!”

I admit, I had never felt that way before.  I was used to organizing the gatherings, setting up the surprises, and running around for weeks preparing everything.  I Was Completely Shocked.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, to start hugging people or blowing out candles, shoot.. I didn’t know who to go to first!  I had family members from both sides of my family and a handful of friends.

The party went smoothly.  The decorations were amazing.  There was more than enough delicious entrees and desserts.  There was a good amount of wine, beer and hard liquor, along with one trip to get more.  There was a good couple of hours of JackBox games that were played which led to so many laughs and so much fun.  It Was Perfect.

I am so very thankful that they took the time and efforts to pull that off.

Behind the Scenes.
Now, given that this was a month after my 30th birthday and getting my RN license, I was not suspicious of the hints that would have given it away.  Like coming home to my dad steam cleaning the tiles and hardwood and my sister having vacuumed and cleaned the toilets.. my sister not talking to me for weeks and keeping her room closed.. my cousin texting during our tea date.. my sister’s friend being outside our house.

I was also upset with my dad and boyfriend.  My dad promised me a party when I got my license, but it had almost been a year since I finished school so I gave up on the idea of even having the party.  And being that I turned 30, I figured they’d at least ask if I wanted a party.. or that my boyfriend would plan something big for me.  At one point, I had assumed that my boyfriend planned a surprise party at a friend’s house for me because he was so awkward with the details and wanting me to be prompt, along with taking me out to dinner first.. only to find out that it was a get together for another friend whose birthday was three weeks after mine.  So all of that, and given that it had already been over a month, I was a bit sour and upset that my two big milestones went barely recognized.

I will admit.  They finally got me, and surprised me, real good.  And I am truly grateful.

‘Til next post,


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