“I’ll change my tears into strength”

Yesterday was my birthday. I was reluctantly woken up at 9am by my family singing to me and trying to give me presents..which I guess I shouldn’t complain about, even if at the time I really just wanted to continue to sleep. Although I was surprised at the fact my dad and sister were both there. Actually, I had been sleeping lightly and had woken at several points to wonder why the house was so noisy with all my family about- surely my dad and sister should be at work? I had asked my sister months ago if she would take me to the aquarium for my birthday but  she couldn’t as she had to work, and she had said she didn’t want to take me over the weekend either. But I opened up my card from her to find “P.S I am taking you to the aquarium.” Turns out she had been planning it for ages and everyone (from my family to her friends at work) knew that she was taking the day off from work to take me! My dad meanwhile was just waiting for me to open my presents and left soon after. My dad was also the one who made my birthday cake this year, on Sunday after we came home from our hike. This needs mentioning so that I can remember it always, because my father never bakes. I was surprised to find the cake turned out delicious but not really, as it is somewhat typical of my father that even if something is unfamiliar to him, he can still do it and do it well. :|

Back to yesterday. Me and my sister took ages to get ready and ended up leaving over an hour after the planned time, and arrived at the aquarium around midday. I was stupidly happy. In fact this may be an occasion where I could use words like “gleeful” and “delighted” and not be exaggerating. Yes, I am 20 years old and I was ridiculously overjoyed to go to the aquarium for my birthday. I think I have mentioned on this blog before that I really like aquariums, yes? The only aquarium I haven’t enjoyed immensely is the small section of fish in the museum in Harare, where I actually nearly started to cry because I did not understand how the fish were still alive in such tiny, grubby tanks. You could barely even see the fish the windows of the tanks were that filthy and scratched. It was actually heart breaking. Then again the entire museum was… a bit of a strange experience? It was enjoyable as there were good displays and someone was clearly trying to take care of it, but you could tell that they just didn’t have the money/resources/something to really make it shine… we were also one of the only groups there which only made it the more surreal.

Anyway, this aquarium was on my list of ones I wanted to go to however tickets are expensive so I needed an occasion to get someone to take me. I was very happy and looking forward to it when my sister promised to take me for my birthday, disappointed when she said she couldn’t, and shocked in a very good way to find that she had been lying to me. (Even if at the same time I do hate how people take advantage of my gullibility…)

As it turns out that the aquarium was a bit overpriced. It was fun, however this aquarium wasn’t the Nagoya Port Aquarium or even the aquarium in Cape Town. It was smaller than expected? Me and my sister looked at the displays and watched them feeding the sting rays then had lunch at a truly dodgy cafeteria (I am sure there was little actual meat in my jumbo hot dog). After lunch we thought there would be more displays but in the end we had looked at everything! I am probably being petty because we had been there for a good few hours- I guess I am such a freak when it comes to aquariums that I could have spent the whole day there looking at endless displays of fish! And Nagoya has dolphins and beluga whales so it is kind of on a different level. XD I did however really enjoy walking through the underwater tunnels they had at this aquarium- where they had sharks, string rays and fish drifting around us- despite having to maneuver past herds of children. I remember how at the Nagoya port aquarium everyone else there was a family, with a few couples thrown in there. it was a similar situation yesterday. Lots of noisy children were noisy and everywhere you wanted to be. I took a video of walking through the tunnels and the camera is shaking and swinging from side to side as I tandem through the children. XD

After deciding to leave the aquarium we went back to the entrance/exit and discovered that they also had otters outside the aquarium which were adorable, if somewhat viciously attacking slices of meat as we watched. After seeing those we left to go shopping at a nearby designer outlet and spent hours looking at clothes. I came to realize that now that my sister is working that there is becoming a certain gap between us. Like for the first time it really feels like she is older than me? It became apparent when we were shopping and the difference between the places I can shop, and the places my sister can shop. She still shops on the high street, but now she is a working woman she can also afford more expensive, designer clothes. We looked through a lot of brand shops and I looked at and tried on a few things so she wouldn’t feel alone but in the end there was no way I could afford any of it! Then again moving abroad and having only 20kg of luggage also hinders what one can shop for too. I have a set list of things I am allowed to buy between now and September and I am being strict not to break it! I bought some cotton shorts and leggings in the end, both of which i think will be OK in the heat of Malaysia. I still have to get hold of some more loose cotton tops and shorts to sustain me until I can go shop in KL. My wardrobe right now is designed for the UK aka cold, wet, windy weather. I have very little clothes suitable for extreme heat. :/

We eventually headed home and that was about it. I had a fun birthday. Although it was quite tiring, and my legs were aching the entire day from the walk on Sunday (both me and my sister could not help but complain out loud every time we encountered steps.)

And so I am now I am 20, although to be honest I feel no different than when I was a teenager. XD