19 Years and Counting

by Colleen

As you know from my lovely sister, Mary’s previous post, I had a birthday on Sunday.  It was odd being away from home for it.  For the past 18 years of my life, I’ve celebrated the 2nd of October in typical Slattery style, meaning homemade chocolate cake and a raucous singing of the birthday song.  This year was very different.

I’ve been so lucky to have found some truly wonderful friends here in Dallas already.  Specifically, my new friends Emma and Killian.  I’m sure that they will be featured in future posts, so I thought I’d introduce them to you all today.  On Friday night, the three of us set out for a shopping spree-grocery shopping. Coming from the Slattery home in which 99% of everything is homemade, I’ve been finding the cafeteria here very depressing.  On this shopping trip, Killian and Emma informed me that as a birthday present for me they were going to give me a French picnic in a local park near campus, complete with French bread, cheese, sparkling water (yumm, Pellegrino water!), and dried strawberries for dessert.

Apparently my French obsession is more obvious than I thought…..

And so, on Saturday night we gathered all our supplies and headed out for a supper under the big Texas sky.  I brought two of my favorite scarves to lay out the feast on.  The grass was a deep green, the air was cool (my birthday present from Texas, I suppose), and the food delicious.  We spent an hour just talking and laughing as twilight began to fall all around us.   It was something that I had always dreamed of doing, and somehow these people that I had never knew existed before I came here made it come true.

The day of my actual birthday dawned beautifully.  I started out my day with a call home, and got the surprise of having James sing to me the birthday song in Spanish ( I miss you, James!).  Then it was off to mass.  Later on in the day I spent some time with the big boys, Raphael and Patrick.  As a birthday present to me, Raph went running with me; this was a first, and I was touched that he cared enough to come along with me.  The night ended with a serenade at my dorm window in the form of Killian and Emma.

It feels odd being older.  19 isn’t really a conspicuous age, but it is full of possibilities.  I have so much life left ahead of me,so many people to meet, so many things to see and do.  I don’t really know how to express the joy and exuberance that fact fills me with in writing.  All I know is that I love my life so very much.  Thank you to everyone who made this past birthday so special.  I love you all.

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