Red Mango Birthday

Summer is winding down and so came my 23rd birthday.

I love being an August baby. It’s the perfect season for chilling and having fun. I’ve had my share of memorable summer months.

Elementary school years: Sitting at home and doing summer work. My Dad ordered workbooks that came delivered in a ‘pizza’ box. Math, English, Problem-Solving, Grammar, Writing… I did them all.

Junior High, 7th grade:  So began my early prep work for the SATs. My parents drove me all the way out to Nassau County to be amongst my Asian brethren, cramming for SATs and science courses.  Goodbye summer freedom! While my white classmates went on vacations or enjoyed their 2 months worth of liberty, I was stuck in a classroom learning new vocabulary and trigonometry.

High School:  More cram school and nerd boot camp.

High School, Senior Year: After SATs, I felt lost. No more packets of geometry problems and boring essays on space exploration and ancient English literature. I was finally free, yet unsure of where to go. And so began my summer months in the sun.

I worked at summer recreation camps for three years. Then I got a real, more meaningful job as a research assistant at an cancer immunology lab for two years. One year, I simultaneously worked at my campus residence, so I could have a regular source of food and place to sleep while studying for MCATs.

Today:  I spent the past summer in beautiful India.

Now: My birthday. The culmination of all my meaningful summers. Every year, my birthdays become more and more special. In bygone years, I never had the chance to pass out Dunkin Donuts munchkins or the perfect Sweet Sixteen. I never liked fancy get-togethers. I would feel awkward if the whole class sings “Happy Birthday” to me, all eyes on me. That much attention burns my cheeks.

Last year, my new friends at Stony Brook surprised me at my doorstep with a birthday cake and rubber fish (an inside joke relating to a movie we saw together, Piranhas). It was a pleasant, delicious evening =)

Yesterday was my real birthday. I had a slew of “Happy Birthday” wishes on my Facebook wall. For the people who remembered or who simply checked Facebook often and had the heart to wish me a splendid birthday, I want to thank my dear friends and classmates, new and old, Stony Brook and NYU and beyond =)

Unfortunately last night, I couldn’t do much. I had work at Macy’s in the evening. Bummer right? Today, September 1, I had a small and simple gathering with my close friends at Stony Brook. My friends asked if I wanted to do anything for my birthday and I didn’t have anything elaborate planned. Like I said, I don’t like planning parties; I like to attend gatherings and have a good time with the birthday dudes and gals. I prefer to do things for other people as opposed to myself.

This is what I proposed to my friends, something rather simple. See, the last few days I’ve had pancake cravings, so I went to IHop to satisfy my palate. Since yesterday, I had a new craving: frozen yogurt. What better place for froyo than my favorite shop, Red Mango? After school, my group of Asian gal pals drove to Red Mango in Stony Brook for a hearty cold cup of frozen yogurt. Yum: Caribbean Cococut, Pomegranate, Vanilla, all topped with mango, strawberries, gummy bears, oreo cookies, and (of course) mochi. Together, my friends and I sat eating cold, creamy yogurt and freezing our butts off in the air-conditioning. Still, it was a wonderful feeling to celebrate my birthday with close friends amidst laughter and camaraderie.

Thank you all for yet another eventful birthday =)


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