“Ripe fruit attracts by its color” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Tania Karan by © Cyndal Lorch

“Meeting Tania was like reuniting with a friend who you haven’t seen in a long time. She is smart, fun and easy going…and can I say, a natural model in front of the camera. She is originally from Serbia and moved to Canada with her family when she was 10 following the war in former Yugoslavia. She then came to the Toronto area to do her residency in Medical Radiation Physics. Can we say she’s a pretty special lady? When we were finally able to meet up for her photo, she was preparing to move back to Vancouver where her immediate family currently resides. Maybe when I’m back in the Vancouver area our paths will cross again. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your interest in the project Tania, and for allowing me to be your photographer.” – Tania K

Image by © Cyndal Lorch

An Interview with Tania

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

A. Picking just one would be a disservice to the others!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. My last birthday, I was going on a work trip. I was excited to have a few hours of layover at home to have birthday cake with my family. I had worked late the evening before my flight, but I still wanted to make myself presentable.. As I’m doing my hair at 1am, I end up grabbing a curling iron by the wrong end with my entire palm. I spent the night with my hand in an ice bowl, crying like a baby. I still got on the 6am flight, and things were a lot better the next day. I even ended up getting a hello kitty themed first aid kit as a birthday present.

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

A. I’m one of those people that indicates fairly clearly what they would like, so it’s hard to get surprised. As I’ve gotten older, receiving presents on my birthday has become a rarity — In the family, we buy each other things regardless of the time of year, and more so when it just makes sense. Last year my brother bought me a music festival pass, months before July, and he just jokingly said ‘we’ll call it your birthday present’.

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

A. Just about anything made by my mom, always finished off with some variant of chocolate cake.

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

A. Evolving, and laughing at yourself at -10 years, when you had thought “by age __, I will have _____”. I actually rarely reflect on the things I did end up accomplishing, more so the ones I didn’t — the positive side is that I always think about them with humor. I like humor, and there is nothing funny about ‘I did end up getting a degree by age 23’. There is a lot funny with ‘I will have 2 kids by the time I’m 27’. On my mental checklist, I don’t dwell or relish in checking something off, I’m always adding to the list instead..

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

A. Cake at home with my family is the only requirement. In 27 years, there has only ever been one birthday on which I wasn’t home — I was at a conference, but my colleagues decorated my hotel room and got birthday cake which was pretty amazing! Otherwise, my two best friends and I have this plastic dollar store ‘birthday princess’ crown which we’ve had for 10+ years. It rotates between us for our birthdays — it’s raggedy and cracked and taped, but we still all put it on for our birthdays and snap some photos.