“Human beings are like flowers, at once so delicate and durable” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Ashley Contardi by ©Cyndal Lorch

I met Ashley a few years ago while we were working in Hawaii. (That’s another story). She has the kind of free spirit and easy going personality that just draws people in. I liked her immediately. In the years that have passed she has moved out to Alberta, married her best friend and they have raised their adorable puppy Cooper. She happened to be in Ontario at the same time that I was, and we were able to get this photo on one of the beaches where she spent a lot of her childhood. It’s funny how life can take you all over the world, but yet it’s always an amazing feeling to come home to your roots. Thanks Ashley!! – Cyndal L

Image © Cyndal Lorch

An Interview with Ashley

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. The one that stands out the most to me was from when I first started working on cruise ships. I was lucky enough to have one of my best friends from college working on the same ship as me. My birthday was only a few days after I joined the ship and it was on a formal night. I had just literally worked for 12 hours and was absolutely exhausted and just wanted to go to bed. I had just gotten back to my cabin when I got a phone call that I needed to go back to the photo lab for some reason. When I got there my whole team was there with cake, wine & gifts and it completely shocked me. They sure knew how to make me feel welcome!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I don’t think I would refer to it as the worst birthday, but I started a new job on my birthday one year. I didn’t know anyone and it was very overwhelming learning so much in one day.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. Last year, for my 30th birthday, my husband surprised with a trip to Las Vegas. I had wanted to go for years, but it just never worked out. So he came home from work one day and said “I called a travel agent today, we’re going to Vegas for your birthday.” My husband isn’t the planning type of person so it was a great surprise.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?

A. Cake, cupcakes, ice cream cake…as long as I get cake I’m happy!

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. I think the most important aspect of a birthday is reflecting on the past year you’ve just had and setting new goals for the new year to come.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. Our family tradition is the birthday person gets to pick their meal of choice. Whether it’s a meal at home or going out to a restaurant. As long as you are with family and friends there is no better way to spend your birthday.