I’ve been thinking about how to frame my time in Cabarete this past September. I finally decided to include it in a group of mini-stories from other birthday-centered travels.
9/11. I turned 8 on a cold floor at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport. My cake was a German chocolate muffin given to me by a red cross worker. My grandma bought me a shirt from the gift shop, one of those that makes it obvious you or someone you know visited a city. it was bright yellow – covered with random facts about Amsterdam-and too big for my skinny 8- year-old body. I loved it.
9/15 I turned 22 on a cruise ship in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. A pink box of Godiva chocolates and a sweet birthday note were waiting for me in my cabin. I ate Ice-cream cake, duck confit, and escargot and drank a red bottled in France. I don’t remember what it was called.
9/16 I turned 23 on my bed in Tampa, at midnight, waiting for my phone to ring. My family is unfailing at this ritual. I expect their calls when we’re apart and their voices singing happy birthday when we’re together. The feeling of being with them on my birthday is inimitable. Later in the week, I drove to Disney World to celebrate.
9/18 I turned 25 in an open-air restaurant, Italian. the sea breeze felt necessary in D.R’s humidity. the restaurant was empty save for me and the group of people who made it out to Cabarete to celebrate with me. We were all talking when I caught Mofi subtly trying to tell Ekama that it was midnight. It took her a while, but when she caught her attention, the talking became a harmony of happy birthday’s. There was singing, and laughter; lots of laughter.
We spent the day in Sosua on a boat. The water, green in some parts, a dark shade of blue in others, was not clear enough that you could see through it. We passed the time snorkeling, swimming, jumping off the side of the boat – to my mom’s obvious horror – and dancing to Inyang’s impressively curated Afrobeats playlist.“This is the best birthday I’ve ever been a part of,” my younger brother said to me as we waved back to some kids on the shoreline. “Me too”, was my response.
I turned 25 surrounded by love.
Good to Know.
Where we stayed: Viva Wyndham Tangerine, Cabarete, D.R
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all photos shot and edited on iPhone 8+
Same Footprints, Different Sands