On Birthdays, Mid-20s, Amazing Friends & Salmon Festivals

I turned 25 on Saturday. Do you know how old that is? I’m halfway to 50. I’m entering a life stage where my friends are getting married and popping out babies. I’m one-quarter of a century.

And July 7th marked one year of being an unemployed/self-employed hobo.

I had a few friends over for pre-birthday drinks on Friday evening. I’m generally a birthday whore. Matt compares me to Jenna from 30 Rock, because when it’s my birthday, I want to celebrate for WEEKS. I adore the attention. I want to be showered with affection. I want to wear a birthday crown at the bar and hit on cute men. And after the bullshit weekend I had before returning to Newfoundland, I was indeed ready to celebrate.

So then my cousin Nancy shows up with a birthday card signed from a handful of my friends, saying, “We couldn’t afford much, we’re all broke.” I was genuinely happy to even receive a card, because I often fail at delivering mine on time (sorry, Roberta). And then she says, “Oh yeah, and we got you this” and pulls out a massive gift bag with a Tassimo brewer inside.

I actually feel bad for anyone who decides to ever propose to me, because not even an engagement ring could compare with my pure elation about receiving a Tassimo. Maggie and Nancy are witnesses.

I first experienced this coffee magic in Vancouver while visiting Dawne, and have been raving about it ever since. And although I was beside myself with happiness over actually receiving the brewer—something I couldn’t afford to buy anytime soon—it was really all about the fact that my friends pulled together and spent their hard earned money to buy me something really thoughtful. If I ever had any doubt about returning home, it was all erased this weekend.

The next morning, a few of us packed up our things and drove to Grand Falls-Windsor for the epic KISS concert at the Salmon Festival. I was reunited with my friend Ashley, who recently became engaged and asked me to stand in her wedding, and then we spent the entire day poolside drinking beers and grapetinis. We had games of football in the water. We danced on the patio, got too much sun, and ate mountains of hotdogs. I logged onto Facebook to find a million messages, including this amazing piece of writing from my buddy Alana:

I feel this is the quintessential birthday photo.

Dearest Candice:

I wish you a smörgåsbord of traditional birthday delights: Cake. Champagne. Drunken dance floor shenanigans. Bare-knuckle boxing. A double dutch competition and a rousing game of red rover. Free taxidermy samples. A ride in a helicopter that looks like a giant moustache. A well-stocked walk-in closet that takes your well dressed self to the version of Narnia with the good beer and the smooth-talking, pool-playing camels. Sunshine. Sticky ice cream hands, but only when you have wet naps too. Consistent spontaneity. Giggle fits. Family that are friends and friends that are family. Love. And the happiest birthday yet.

Salmon Fest line-up for beer tent. Seriously.

And despite the festival being a total waste of time and money (we bought $90 in beer tickets only to discover we couldn’t actually make it through the bar line-up, and then nobody gave us a refund), I still had the best birthday ever. For someone who has never experienced romance in her life, I have never felt so loved. Thank you all, for being a part of it!

  • July 11 2011


    Age 25 was the year that I started taking serious steps to building the life of my dreams. I hope it’s the same for you. :-) And you’re lucky to have such thoughtful friends!

    • July 18 2011

      Thank ya, Kate! I hope the same happens for me. :)

  • July 11 2011

    Oh! Happy belated birthday, Candice! I’m so glad to hear you had a wonderful day – you deserve it!
    You are still so young! I remember a long, long, looong time ago when I was under 30. Wait, no I can’t. I can’t remember much of anything anymore. See what you have to look forward to?! Enjoy it while you can, young-en!

    • July 18 2011

      You mean you’re over 20?! ;) Jk. Thank you!

  • July 11 2011

    LOVE that group photo from friday night! bahaha! that’s awesome! :D
    also, I really really wish I had videotaped your whole tassimo reaction. it was too priceless :)

    As someone who just let’s my birthday happen, I think I enjoy your birthday more than my own ;) I’m so so glad I got to experience another year of epic Candice celebrations! This weekend was just amazing. AMAZING. I needed it so badly after the week I had. So, I said it before, I’ll say it again, THANKS FOR BEING BORN!

    (and please remember however old you get, you’re still 4 years younger than me… ;P )

    • July 18 2011

      I wish you had taped it too! Where’s Cailin when you need her?! Haha. What an awesome week!

  • July 11 2011

    Yay! So glad that you had an amazing birthday, especially after you had that bad weekend at the end of your trip. You totally deserve it!

  • July 11 2011

    I am so sad I missed the tassimo reveal reaction, but the hug you greeted me with when I walked in your door was good enough for me ! I am so glad you loved your gift, you deserved it lady ! and I agree with maggie, love the group photo of us all from friday night.

    • July 18 2011

      Hehehe, you have no idea how excited I was, thank you! And those coffees are AMAZING.

  • July 11 2011

    Happy Belated Birthday. It sounds like you had a wonderful celebration. What a difference a year can make. I hope the next year for you is even better.

    • July 18 2011

      No kidding eh?! Hard to believe it’s been a year. And thanks!

  • July 11 2011

    BIRTHDAY TWINS! I will always remember your birthday now. One day we will have a travel blogger bday. 1. My mom sent me a “birthday in a box,” complete with cake mix, icing, candles, a crown and a Little Mermaid card that sang “Part of Your World.” I am not ashamed to admit that I cried. 2. Salmon festival?

    • July 18 2011

      That is AWESOME! Hahaha. Your mom rocks!

  • July 11 2011

    Happy belated, fellow Cancerian…I turned 55 a little over a week before you turned 25! And everyone calls me the Birthday Queen ’cause I celebrate a MINIMUM of a week.

    Alana writes the BEST Birthday note ever. Inspired.

    Sounds to me like you have a great bunch of friends and you know the saying? If you want to have great friends you have to be a great friend – clearly you’ve got that nailed.


    • July 18 2011

      I like that theory, Susan. :) Thanks so much!

  • July 12 2011

    Okay here are my very important thoughts about this post.
    1-who wrote that letter? That’s the best thing ever!
    2-EPIC (I’m only a little toasted you didn’t invite me…j/k)
    3-you make unemployment and hobodome look good! Really it’s the one year anniversary of you living life on your own terms…and don’t you love it so much more this way? I’m on the same path…but I have until Oct. to celebrate my 1 yr. anniversary of unemployment!
    4-you have some hot friends.
    5-happy birthday, I’m glad you had such a great one, well deserved for sure!
    6-glad you were born!

    • July 18 2011

      They ARE pretty hot, eh?! Sometimes I think I need uglier friends. I’d probably pick up men better that way.

      Thank you. :)

  • July 12 2011

    Glad you had a great birthday, and thanks for sharing my lil note! I spend so much of my time working on construction specifications at work (boooooring) it’s nice to whip up a little ridiculous piece of writing in honour of a friend once in a while :)

    • July 18 2011

      Hahaha, it was so perfect, I read it to everyone! Totally made my day. :)

  • July 13 2011

    It goes uphill after 25, trust me. You’re not as crazy and carefree in a way, but you gain much more security and self-confidence, and it makes life and your interactions with others better! Happy belated.

    • July 18 2011

      Oh dear god, I hope you’re right! :) Thanks!

  • July 17 2011

    Happy, happy belated birthday, Candice!! I’m glad you have so many great friends. They’re just about the most important thing on earth.

    • July 18 2011

      Agreed, so glad to have them, and even long distance friends like you! :)

  • July 17 2011

    Hippo birdies to ewe. And half of 50 is the icing for over 50.

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