“In fact, in the larger scheme of things, any two events linked by a consciousness are happening synchronously” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Erika & Norma Garcia by © Cyndal Lorch

“These two were a pleasure to photograph, so happy and laid back and definitely share the sisterly/twin bond. They are extremely fond of a local coffee shop in their area called The Common, so the original idea was have their photo taken there. However, it seemed to be more popular then usual, so with a local coffee in hand, we travelled on over to their second location of choice. I think leaving the location choice to the people getting photographed yields better results then if I find them myself, because without the insight of these two fine ladies, I would have not known that this awesome graffiti covered bridge was even around there. And since it’s one of their favourite spots, it was very fitting for them to be photographed here. These two are big into their community, so local art and local beverages were a fitting mix for their photo. Thank you ladies for being a part of the Project and for allowing me to photograph you.” – Cyndal L

Image by © Cyndal Lorch

An Interview with Erika and Norma

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

Erika: Last year turning 35 was pretty fantastic. I enjoyed having all my friends and family there and seeing how great my relationship with my twin has developed stronger over the years. I am at a point in my life where I feel very happy, confident and complete and that is a fantastic feeling to have!

Norma: I think that any time I give a little thank you speech during my birthday parties and I take the time to look around the room and I see my friends, family all gathered and having a good time. That is a very special moment for me, it always makes me feel so thankful for all I have in my life.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

Erika: Turning 15 for sure! In Latino culture, 15 marks a very important year. I remember feeling super awkward and discontent with everything- very typical feelings for a teenager. Also, my parents could not afford a typical quincenera event (sweet 15 ceremony) which made them feel bad and made me feel super bad at the same time for them since I could tell they really wanted to do this for my twin and I. Lucky that is not our situation anymore but looking back, I do not have the best memories of this time.

Norma: Well for one of my birthdays during my twenties we all ended up at a Shoeless Joes! I did really have a pretty lousy time there. I hated it and it was all because our original plans fell through. However, my friends knew I felt bad so they did their best to cheer me up. They really managed to try to save the day!

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

Erika: My sister gave me a birthday card that said: “thank you for being my friend” and it had the Golden Girls on it. She then added: ” and the best sister.” I love that card- she knows me so well!

Norma: The very first time I received an ipod! Hands down I did not expect to receive anything as expensive (at the time) and I was so surprised!…wait, was that a Christmas gift? I don’t even remember, but it really was the one gift from my family that I have ever received that really surprised me.

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

Erika: Cake and a shot of tequila! Both very necessary to start a new year of life.

Norma: Cake! It just wouldn’t feel like my birthday without having some delicious cake. For years my sister and I ate the fluffy cakes with fruit toppings that they sell in Chinatown. They still remind me of birthdays every time I see them. :)

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

Erika: Celebrating one more year of life, health, happiness and unity with those that I love. Most importantly, thanking my parents for giving me so much love and support. I came to appreciate these aspects as I got older.

Norma: Celebrating another year of your life! Celebrating all the good, bad, and even ugly that life can bring. Personally I remind myself of how privileged I am to be living my life surrounded by a loving family, friends and of course my twin sister!

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

Erika: Yes, we always do a brunch during the weekend to celebrate our birthday – often made by my father.

Norma: My family is from El Salvador and for years we did the whole piñata, clowns, tons of kids running around festivities. I have great memories of those years. However, whether the celebration is big or small, we always have to be together as a family to celebrate—cake is a must, drinking, and dancing!