For the past few weeks, I've been off the grid. Aside from schoolwork picking up, I've also been keeping a low profile on the blog/Facebook for another reason. Another sneaky, sneaky reason that I've been scheming since February.
As other DIS students were eagerly chattering and posting statuses about their plans for two-week travel break, I had to keep my virtual-mouth shut, because I was going back to Boston to surprise my best friend on our 21st birthday.
You might (ahem, you SHOULD) remember Amy- my friend who was in Copenhagen last semester, who also goes to Stonehill, who was the greatest travel buddy in the world (literally), AND who I share a birthday with!
|Babies: freshman year|
|That time we turned 20 and turned rogue pant-legs into party hats.|
|Sometimes we ski...|
|...and sometimes we get dressed up at Stonehill with Danielle!|
Anyway, ever since freshman year at Stonehill, we had been looking forward to celebrating out 21st birthdays together, so we were both pretty bummed when I decided to stay in Copenhagen for spring semester and Amy would be heading back to Stonehill. We figured we'd just postpone celebrations until a later date, but then there was a twist.
As April 5th fell smack dab in the middle of travel break, many of my DIS friends would be off on optional class trips, adventure trips, or traveling with friends or family, and other Stonehill friends abroad were either traveling or done their programs super early. I figured it would be a good time to meet up with my parents somewhere abroad, but after some thought and considering they had been to Copenhagen in the fall, my dad suggested that maybe, JUST MAYBE I would want to come back to Boston for my birthday- this way, I could celebrate turning 21 in a country where it was actually significant, I could see my parents, and also my friends.
Hmm. I mulled this proposition over for a few days, considering that if I were to decide to go home, that I wasn't going to tell Amy. In order to get a second opinion on my mischievous musings, I ran it by Danielle, Amy's roommate. She was beyond excited, and soon I had my tickets booked. We began planning right away how we could make this the most epic birthday surprise EVER.
Our plan, as devised between February and April, was this:
- A few days before, I would mail Danielle a package. In this package, she would find a birthday card from me to Amy. She would then hang on to this birthday card until April 3rd.
- On April 3rd, a Tuesday, Danielle would meet Amy at the cafeteria for their normal 1:00 lunchtime. At Stonehill, it's customary to meet downstairs by the mailboxes.
- Here, Danielle would present Amy with the card from me. Inside the card, there would be directions to go immediately to the cafeteria for a surprise.
- Meanwhile, in the cafeteria, I would be waiting. In a large cardboard box (which my dad was nice enough to acquire for me!!) somewhere visible enough to cause a small scene.
- Obviously Amy would then open the box, and TA DA, Dane-in-a-box!
Quite a simple plan, but as the day came closer and closer, Danielle and I were both bursting with excitement. From what we could tell, Amy still had no idea. She even sent me a birthday package to Copenhagen days before! With the exception of Danielle, our friend Dave, and my parents, I didn't tell anyone from home and/or Stonehill that I was coming back to America for fear that someone would let something slip. It was absolutely killing me not saying anything, and I was afraid Amy would get suspicious since I hadn't mentioned what I was doing during the first week of travel break. Even more than this, once I finally did return to the US, I had to cut all Facebook activity just incase a comment I made would include a location tag of "Massachusetts" rather than "Denmark."
Finally, April 3rd rolled around. At 12:30, I drove to campus with my parents, and we assembled the box that I would be presenting myself in, complete with Danish flag stickers for decoration. At 12:40, it was go-time. I gathered my box and strutted into the cafeteria, placing the box on this awkward little half-stage that is set up in the front. I then proceeded to climb into the box. Although I got a few curious looks, a few people even offered to help me shut the box if I needed!
Once I was packaged, it was time to wait. It was only five minutes, but it felt like forever combined with all my excitement and the steadily increasing temperature in a box that looked a lot bigger before.... Finally, Danielle texted me with confirmation that they were on their way upstairs.
|...and the aftermath.|
Sometimes, people go abroad knowing a huge group of people from their home university, or others go into it alone. Everyone will make new friends with whom they will share new adventures, new challenges, and new experiences. If you're really really lucky, you'll have someone with you who will come to understand where you came from and will stand by you to see just how far you can go. They will put up with you for four months in a foreign country, entertaining your irrational anxieties, being there when you're feeling homesick, studying for Danish tests, and even listening to your random incessant singing.
Being abroad first semester with the greatest friend in the world was the BEST, and our travels and adventures are unforgettable. It's been different not having Amy right across the courtyard, but to quote a certain HBO hit series:
"It's comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart...and if you're very lucky, a plane ride away."
Cheers, friends near and far. :)