As R.’s brithday was approaching, I thought more and more about how, this year, I wanted to celebrate his birthday in a Dutch way. I don’t know if it’s just my family, and I also don’t want to generalize, but I’ve always felt as if the Dutch love to celebrate way more than the Italian people.
Since I was little, birthdays were the day of colorful decorations around the house, my mum and dad waking up earlier than me, to bring me breakfast and gift on bed and sing a song out loud. These are some of the best memories of my childhood.
Kids in Holland are allowed to bring treats to school the day of their birthday, and everyone celebrates together. My mum always wanted me to do that too in Italy, but I felt like I would really be the strange one, as if I wanted to underline that I was “different”. If I only could go back to those days, I would bring tons of treats for everyone!.. but I never did it. Later I also understood we weren’t even allowed, when a girl once brought a cake for her birthday, and the teacher got mad at her, on the day of her birthday.. (that’s so sad!).
Then, growing up, no one would even celebrate their birthday anymore. Not with their families. While my parents still woke me up with breakfast on bed.
Already with my ex boyfriend, being at his home quite often, I understood there were many differences between an Italian family and a Dutch one. Birthdays were one of these.
Then I asked Roberto “why would a family not celebrate a birthday?” and he told me that it’s something they do for children only, it becomes stupid, if done for an adult. I remember the day he celebrated the first birthday since we had been together. I asked him what his parents gave him.. as he told me that they just said “happy birthday”, I was confused and really wanted to know why. Observing and asking I just came to the conclusion that celebrating birthdays with the family is considered for children only in Italy. It’s like that, and a little blonde Dutch girl won’t change anything just because she loves the atmoshpere of a birthday.
However, now that we are in the Netherlands, I have gained back my power!! Many times they told me “We are in Italy, you have to do as Italian people do”. Now we’re in Holland and we will do as Dutch people do: WE WILL CELEBREATE THIS BIRTHDAY (Of course I’m just kidding, they told me so many times for real, but I won’t ever do the same to R. or any other Italian, just for the sake of revenge).
For this I needed: colorful paper chains, balloons, ingredients for a cake, small gifts and a song.. This afternoon, while R. is working, I first went shopping for these things, and now I’ m making a yummy no bake cake, and wrapping gifts. I love celebrating birthdays, even more if it’s for someone else. The best is when it’s for my favorite person in the world.