30th Birthday

For the past 11 birthdays, I have had mixed emotions.

I’ve always felt a little sad, a little guilty.

Some people don’t like their birthday because they don’t like the attention, or the fact that they are aging.

For the past 11 years, I haven’t liked it because it means I am getting “further away” from Natalie.

I spent my 30th birthday earlier this month busy at work and then flying on an airplane with my BFF to Disneyland. I didn’t let myself stop and think about my sad association with birthdays for fear that I would get sad at the happiest place on earth.

But, today, I do.

Today is Natalie’s birthday. She would have turned 30 years old. But, I instead only have memories of a near-19-year-old. (Yes, she was only 18 when she passed away).

Sometimes I wish I even had videos of those memories. Because, as time passes, memories can change and even fade. I don’t want them too though.

I want to hold on to them for as long as possible.

Happy birthday, Natalia.

Harry Potter and the reliving of the midnight book release

It was the summer of 2007 and I was reunited with two dear high school friends who had gone to college on the East Coast. We were all home in Seattle for summer break.

Mo, Allie and I took our last jaunt to Portland for the midnight book release party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — plus tax-free shopping of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale.  (We had done the same thing two years prior for the release of Half-Blood Prince).

I really thought it was the end. I was sad that this would be our last midnight Harry Potter book event since it was the eighth and final book of the series.

And don’t get me started on how I felt when the last HP movie was coming out

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The three of us were in between sophomore and junior year of college. We weren’t even of legal drinking age yet. But the Harry Potter series had been with us since grade school.

Now, in present time, I’m one year away from being 30 — and I went to another Harry Potter midnight book release party. For those of you unaware, the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play script was published into a book and was released on July 31 (same day as Harry Potter’s birthday!) For those of you really unaware, Cursed Child is the story of Harry and the gang 19 years after the final book.

I even wore the same home-made shirt I made nine years ago. (Thank goodness it still fit!)

Bryce tagged along with Phyllis and I and jokingly made comments beforehand that included “What if we are the only ones who show up?” or “What will you guys do if we go and they have cancelled the event because there was not enough interest?”

Phyllis and I had high hopes though.

There were about 100 or so muggles at the Seattle downtown Barnes and Noble. The employees were dressed in house robes. I finally got sorted into Gryffindor.

But, yes, it was weird.

It was like being taken back to a part of my past. The majority of folks who joined the fun were about our age and give-or-take some years younger/older.

Phyllis also wore her homemade T-shirt from nine years ago. Mine said “Defense Against the Dark Arts Major” and hers “I play Quidditch.”

I don’t know if it is irony or what but while we were waiting for midnight to strike, a college boy walked past us wearing a grey sweatshirt with bold print reading “Yale Quidditch”and Phyllis immediately turned to me and exclaimed, “Oh my god, I don’t actually play quidditch!” We both burst out laughing.

Back when we were in college, saying you played quidditch was like saying you were majoring in Defense Against the Dark Arts. But now playing quidditch in college is an actual team sport.

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It was a weird experience, but I’m glad we did it.

After all, this was the very last Harry Potter midnight book release.

J.K. Rowling even says there will be no more new stories.

But, I wouldn’t complain if otherwise.