“If you are too absorbed with the trees, you may never find your way out of the forest” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Calvin Soto by © Camila Gargantini

Image by © Camila Gargantini

An Interview with Calvin

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

A. I believe the best memory I have ever had from a previous birthday was 3 years ago. I was celebrating with a small group of friends and family, but that day really taught me that you don’t have to celebrate your birthday with a whole bunch of people to have an amazing time. Anyways, I remember eating: honey roasted peanuts, chips, a great Chilean cake my cousin makes (it tastes absolutely heavenly) and doing some drinking of course. That same day there was a winter storm, which has happened at least 6 times out of my 20 birthdays so far, but my friends still decided to go to a house party. We call a cab and we were told it would arrive in 20 minutes due to the storm. On the way to the party, I begin to have a deep conversation with the cab driver (which I usually do to get flat rates) who, unfortunately, told us he hasn’t had sex with his wife for over five years and he’s been married for eight. So… he begins to have an emotional breakdown as he’s driving and he ends up running a red light, which he ended up crying about very intensely (LOL). My friends and I tried our best to give him advice so that he can regain a part of his manhood. He ended up giving us his number to call when we were going to leave the party because he actually appreciated and valued our advice. We get to the house party and it was mediocre, but since we’re fun we took over the basement and brought the life to party instantly. My friends and I are social butterflies, so we got to know around 25 people on a first name basis (as if we’d remember them all by the end of the night) and before you knew it the party was shut down because the parents came home.. keep in mind there is still a Winter storm outside, so my friends and I go outside and wait for a cab for a while. Once a cab came that could fit the 5 of us in, one of my friends decides he wants to be a gentleman (of all times why now right?) and gives the TWO, yes TWO girls a cab that can fit 7 people easily. So, we end up waiting another 20 minutes outside the house, freezing our tails before we decide to start walking to see if there is a convenience store open. Now, if you ever watched the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” you would understand exactly how we felt walking in this storm (keep in mind we are all wearing running shoes and light jackets) searching for a store. We end up in a plaza for a bit, attempting to stay warm by the receiving dock of a Metro because it was really cold. Next thing you know a security truck comes by and my friend runs to it, seeing the guys in the truck as a sign of help. My friend asks them to call a taxi for us (I was thinking we were in trouble) and so they did, but we find out that there are no taxis on the road. We end up staying at the receiving dock for another 10 minutes before we went crazy and decided that we can tough it out and find a gas station (did I forget to mention all our phones were dead? No? Okay, now you know). We began our journey through the storm, walking on the road (which still had a foot of snow in some spots), around 15 minutes into the walk we were convinced we were all going to die… but then my friend in front saw a glorious bright red light. He pointed, yelled and then began to run towards it. At that point we were all filled with a huge rush of adrenaline, so we ran towards the glorious light of the gas station, trudging through the snow as fast as we can move them. Another one of my friends who was behind me lost a shoe in the snow (sock and all), picked it up with his hands and continued to run with a shoe and sock in one hand while running with one bare foot (I still don’t know how he didn’t get frostbite till this day). We finally arrive at the gas station, knocking at the door like wild monkeys, so that we could get in. The cashier buzzed the door open and we sat down on tall chairs while one of my friends asked to use a phone to call his dad to pick us all up. Luckily, his dad woke up and said he’d come. An hour after us talking about our near-death experience, his dad finally arrives and we all squeeze in to fit the 5 of us in the 4 seats there were. As we were all getting dropped off at our homes the storm had settled and there was no more snow falling and I knew as that happened we all felt a sense of relief. The only thing we ever talked about for a month was how cool of story this would be to tell people. A.K.A the best birthday adventure ever!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. The worst birthday I had was when I was turning 18. I had a girlfriend at the time who I fought with in the party room of a condo my parents rented for the night. I love to dance and all my friends and family know that, but I remember at one point I was in front of her dancing for a while and she completely ignored what I was doing, which was funny because everyone was watching me dance, so that really upset me. I got so upset that I asked her why she wasn’t paying attention to me… I don’t quite remember what she said, but I walked out of the party room angry. For half of the night I was pretty much arguing with her… which was not cool. My friends and family knew what was going on, but pretended like nothing happened… I guess it was for the sake of it being my birthday. Anyways.. that sucked.. a lot : /.

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

A. The present that I received for my birthday that surprised me the most would have to be a $400.00 Stührling watch my cousins and uncles bought for me. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, the packaging was very alluring and I still keep it in my room till this day.

Q. Is there a food or dish that you insist on eating on your birthday?

A. My cousin’s Chilean cake… It has dulce de leche and pineapples inside! It’s like biting into a cloud!

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

A. Celebrating a birthday with people who mean a lot to you is important. There isn’t anything that can break those tight bonds… it’s all about love and togetherness.

Q. Do you have any traditions or thing you always do to celebrate a birthday? What is it?

A. You should only ever blow out candles on the day of your birthday because I was always taught that it was bad luck to do otherwise.