“The term “best friend” may be a setup for betrayal” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Sian Partly by Joel Robison

Image by Joel Robison

An Interview with Sian

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

A. My best memory is from my 17th birthday. For my actual birthday I went to Harry Potter Studios, which of course, was the best day I could ever have asked for. My friends also organized a surprise trip around London with riddles, blindfolds and presents at some of the locations, whilst also making me shout at Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square “My hat is better than yours!” to make me look like a fool!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. My worst birthday was my 19th. My day was in the middle of exam season, so I was already stressed, I had a job interview on my actual birthday (although I did get the job), and my birthday get together in the evening left me in tears. One of my guests got very high and drunk and caused the rest of my friends to argue amongst themselves, and no one seemed to enjoy that night much. I felt like my party was a failure that night, but thankfully I had a lovely birthday meal with my housemates a few days later which improved it slightly.

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

A. I’m not often surprised with presents as my friends and family often know what I want. I think the most surprising present was a joint effort from my 17th where I was taken to Westfields to be handed a pair of limited edition design converse that were absolutely gorgeous. I rarely wear them now, but they are very sentimental.

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

A. Well, I always bake my own cake, as per tradition. Also, I think my friends are a little intimidated by my baking madness and food blogging to try to make me one! Also, if I am with family, I often request my favourite Korean dishes of Bibimbap and Japchae, but if I’m with friends, anything tasty goes.

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

A. Definitely to surround myself with friends and family is most important to me. There’s nothing better than a good meal and a good catch up with everyone, and I need someone to share the cake with!

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

A. I’m half Korean but I’ve never celebrated any particular Korean celebrations for my birthday. The only tradition is that I make my own cake to share with everyone and that I organise several meals with family and friends.