Call me strange but I have never spent my birthday without my family or outside of university and home. When I first got my nomination for studying in Norway, this understanding that I would neither see my family nor be at home for my birthday was instant and prevalent throughout the administration process.
Celebrating a birthday without family, friends or partners is something that perhaps is not discussed with studying abroad but I was plagued with such anxiety that this occasion would be lonely. It was not a ‘milestone’ birthday but I was still saddened that I could not see my family or boyfriend for it. However, we made things work through Skype; I brought my birthday in by skyping my boyfriend and woke early to skype my family before they went to work and later that day.
Due to this sadness of not being able to spend my day with my loved ones, I planned to make my birthday a happy, three-day affair for which I will be guiding you through today.
The workload at university has been taking priority over the last weeks so I began the celebrating my birthday from the weekend before with some self-care at SALT sauna. I visited the sauna earlier in August and knew I would be back after the experience.
I was joined by two of my American friends for the three-hour session. Personally, the tranquil music as well as the variety of heated room options seemed like the perfect way to relax. With a view of the Opera House and fjord, what better way is there to begin the celebrations?
Unlike Cardiff, going out in Oslo is an expensive venture and so a night on the town was not on the cards. Instead, I chose to satisfy a guilty pleasure of mine for speakeasys and unusual cocktail bars by visiting The Thief — a hotel with a food bar, indoor bar, and rooftop bar. Unfortunately, due to bad weather conditions, the rooftop bar was closed but this was only a minor inconvenience. I was joined by my flatmate, Rosa, and friends Anna, Abbie, Delaney, Marissa and Sarah.
The Thief Bar have a menu of cocktail creations inspired by the art showcased at the Astrup Fearnley museum situated across from them. We were all give a booklet of famous pieces from the museum and a cocktail menu with the idea that we chose the cocktail based on our interest in the artwork. I chose Untitled Film Still #10 (1978) by Cindy Sherman which was delivered to me in a shoe!
Cardiff University Instagram Takeover
As part of the multiple opportunities offered from my home university, I publish my blogs on Cardiff University’s Globetrotters Blog and now, I undertook the task of showing the viewers of the university’s Instagram a day-in-life experience in Oslo as I celebrated my birthday.
I am, by no means, someone who is good at talking to a camera — otherwise, I would have set up a YouTube account (although there are some videos I am intending to create, despite my anxiety of doing so). But if you would like to watch the story, the university have created a highlight just for this purpose and you can find it on their page here.
I celebrated my actual birthday first with a late lunch with Rosa and Anna at Lucky Bird, a southern comfort restaurant offering both vegetarian and meaty dishes. Due to class schedules, we went when the restaurant opened at 3pm which meant that it was quiet and our food was delivered very quickly.
Being from a family that loves spice, I did not hesitate to order ribs with their hottest glaze; under the impression that it would not be hot as most restaurants have this tendency for my tastes. However, I soon learned my lesson after one bite! Nevertheless, I continued and thanked myself for ordering a frozen margarita. The food was absolutely gorgeous and Rosa commented that that her vegetarian burger is one of the most filling meat-alternative meals she’d experienced.
Will I be going back? I think I may just have to.
In the evening, a large group (unfortunately a few were not pictured below) gathered for an evening at my local, Union 864. Union is my regular study hangout so it was strange to use it as the bar and restaurant that it is.
A semi-quiet evening at Union, chatting whist sharing pizza and wine, brought this very chilled out assortment of birthday celebrations to a peaceful close. And whilst I am no fan of Taylor Swift, I definitely feel twenty-two.