columbia

Fifty-Two Weeks of Adventure #49: A Real Adult Birthday

This past Friday was my 28th birthday. Naturally, I wanted what any mature nearly 30-year-old would want for her birthday. To go to the zoo and have a sleepover with my best friend.

I woke up before Jonathan did to tutor on Friday morning, but he had decorated the kitchen the night before so I’d be greeted by birthday magicalness when I woke up. It was a good way to start the day.

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I received some lovely and thoughtful gifts from my parents, in-laws, and the hubby. My favorite gifts was probably the Marc Jacobs lipstick and roller ball of Viktor and Rolfe Flowerbomb perfume that Jonathan gave me. These are both such luxurious, splurge items that I kind of just want to use them and not look at them. I put them on on Friday and went around feeling fancy and sophisticated.

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And then I noticed that I had dried toothpaste in my hair from spitting during my morning toothbrushing. You win some, you lose some.

On Saturday my best friend from college, Christina, and her new husband, Andy, came to visit from Raleigh. This was the first time I’ve seen them since their wedding in September and the first time I’ve really hung out with them together because they met and got engaged while we were in Korea and got married a few weeks after we got back.

Christina is maybe even more obsessed with zoos than I am so she was as excited as I was to visit a new one. I have to say, the Riverbanks Zoo here in Columbia is a pretty good one. I mean, they have your standard animals, but they also have a lot of strange species I’d never seen before.

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Columbia has a a lot of locally owned restaurants we want to try, but we typically eat at home so we haven’t had a chance to try as many of them as we would like. For my birthday dinner we went to Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Food, which sounds like a cheap plate lunch restaurant but is in fact a nice place with some of the yummiest food I’ve had in a long time. I had some sort of catfish topped with crawfish in a cream sauce with vegetables and I don’t even know what else. It was seriously delicious but for some reason I failed to take any pictures. Actually, the only pictures we took together were in the Lorikeet cage at the zoo.

From Mr. Friendly’s we went to Kaminsky’s which is a dessert cafe that serves the most massive and amazing desserts you’ve ever seen. I had the giantest piece of coconut cream cake that was basically the size of 3 -4 normal pieces of cake. It was amazing.

After dessert we waddled home and played one of my favorite board games, Nuns on the Run. If you are a big board game person, you should check out this game. It’s very fun and also has a hilarious premise.

One of the unique things about living in Korea is that they count age differently than the rest of the world. When a baby is born it is automatically 1 year old, so everyone is already considered 1 year older than they actually are. On top of that, people don’t get older on their birthdays. Instead, everyone gets older together on January 1st. This means that everyone born in the same year is always the same age. Between these two things, I spent most of the last year telling people I was 29 because that was my Korean age, so when I turned 28 this week I actually felt like I was getting younger.

Thanks to everyone who sent sweet birthday wishes my way and made me feel so loved.

If you have an adventure to share, add your link to the link-up by clicking the button below. You can also click this button to read other bloggers’ adventures. You can participate in all of the adventures or you can just do a few. If you missed last week’s adventure about Thanksgiving and teaching Grandma about TMI, you can find it here. And if you are new to my Fifty-Two Weeks of Adventure project you can find out more about it here.

Fifty Two Weeks of Adventure # 38: Farmer’s Market and Greek Festival

The calendar says it’s fall, but Columbia hasn’t gotten the memo yet. It’s continued to hit the 90’s here most days, but since I have the ability to spend most of my time in air conditioned buildings or cars (unlike in Korea where it was equally hot but without much air conditioning), I can’t complain too much. It’s also been beautifully clear with brilliant blue skies almost every day (also a huge contrast to Korea which is frequently hazy even on sunny days) so I’ve been inspired to get out and do a little exploring.

The Soda City Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday morning in downtown Columbia. I love farmer’s markets. Back in Raleigh there is a huge, permanent farmer’s market that’s open every day with an especially big one on Saturdays. In Korea, there were two markets within walking distance of our apartment and I often got our fruits and vegetables there. The Soda City Farmer’s Market has a fun atmosphere with a combination of fresh produce, baked goods, food trucks/stalls, and art, jewelry, and crafts made by local artisans.
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The most unique part of this market compared with others I’ve been to was a produce stand that allowed you to take a box and fill it as full as you could with whatever produce items you wanted. It was $10 for the entire box and there was a good variety of fruits and veggies to choose from that all came from a local farm.
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I managed to pack in corn, kale, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, a spaghetti squash, yellow squash, apples, peaches, an eggplant, and some mushrooms.
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I had a moment of nostalgia when I passed this tent selling Korean food. It was only about 10 AM so I wasn’t ready to eat, otherwise I would have been all over that mandu!
Sorry to the lady who was standing right there while I was trying to get a picture of the menu board!

Sorry to the lady who was standing right there while I was trying to get a picture of the menu board!

In the afternoon we went to the Greek Festival which was going on all weekend long at the Greek Orthodox Church.
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My dad is Greek and I grew up eating Greek food so it’s always a little nostalgic to me to eat it. The festival was packed but the gyros we ended up with were well worth the wait.
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We also got to see a little Greek dancing.
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I’d heard rumors of a baklava sundae, but couldn’t find it anywhere so we didn’t end up having any desserts. Probably for the best considering all the yummy foods we’ve been indulging in lately and the fact that I have a bridesmaid’s dress to fit into for a Very Important Wedding this weekend!

If you have an adventure to share, add your link to the link-up by clicking the button below. You can also click this button to read other bloggers’ adventures. You can participate in all of the adventures or you can just do a few. If you missed last week’s adventure teaching the 7th grade you can find it here. And if you are new to my Fifty-Two Weeks of Adventure project you can find out more about it here.