I am home again! Unfortunately, I left Hodel's house a bit earlier than expected, but it was so good to see ma famille again. It is difficult to be without them during the summer months because Juliette and I celebrate our birthdays in the summer. Juliette just turned 13 on June 9th . . . and as you probably know, my birthday is on August 9th. Joyeux Anniversaire à moi!
This year, we didn't really do anything special. My best friend Maëlys was out on holiday with her parents. Juliette's friend Élodie was back home in Toulouse. Mes parents even seemed distracted on the day, rushing back and forth mysteriously. It was all very . . . suspicious.
I was about to have to take them for check-ups when they brought home Chinese takeout and Frappucinos for dinner. They've been on a major health kick lately. They will only cook anything firmly on the Paleo diet. That means no sugar and no noodles, so when they brought home takeout, I could only stare in wonderment. When I inquired, they simply brushed it off by saying that these were birthday treats and that they had to run. They had somewhere to be. "Somewhere to be" on my birthday? D'accord, je comprends.
Juliette and I started and finished dinner alone. I will admit that it was sort of nice without the parents around. For once, Juliette felt she could really open up at dinner. She's usually too shy to speak up with our parents around. By the time we'd drank the last of our Frappuccinos, I was stuffed beyond belief and relieved that there wasn't a birthday cake to follow.
As it was already quite late, we decided to start opening presents. The first present was from Papa! He had graciously refurbished the old Wii for me to use. Yay! He'd gotten a Wii U for himself and had promised a while ago that I would get the Wii. Isn't it awesome?
As I was admiring my new "baby", Juliette simply rolled her eyes and handed me the next present. She doesn't understand video games at all, which is why I was surprised to unwrap . . .
. . . a brand new Wiimote and three new games, picked out and purchased by Juliette herself! She'd gotten me Super Mario Bros., Animal Crossing, and Mario Party 8!
The last gift was from Maman. I knew it wouldn't be video game-related because Maman barely approves of Papa's gaming habit, so what could it be?
It was my own iPad! My mom even got me a pink case to go with it. Now I can watch movies on long trips without having to lug my laptop everywhere. I feel so tech-savvy having a tablet, haha!
Just as I was downloading apps for my new iPad, I heard the apartment door open. My parents were home . . . and I'd already opened all of the presents! Zut alors! I was in for it now. I tried to stuff the presents back into the original gift bags, but I was too late. I heard someone come into my bedroom. Was Maman going to take my new iPad away already?
Looking up from my somewhat cowering position on the floor, I noticed that it was not Maman at the door at all. It was . . . it was Nathalie! Nathalie Thibodeau was my best friend from my old American boarding school, Fair Hollow. But it couldn't be, could it? Nathalie lived all the way in Montréal, Québec. It wasn't possible for her to be in Paris, France right now, was it? She hadn't told me . . .
"What are you staring at, silly goose?" Nathalie interrupted my reverie, "Don't you recognize me? I know my hair is a little longer than it was the last time you saw me, but I promise that I don't bite!"
I blinked, making sure the redheaded girl in front of me wasn't an illusion. Luckily for me and my psyche, she wasn't. I got up and raced to Nathalie's side, "What are you doing here? You didn't tell me. . . " I stopped in mid-sentence, at a loss for words.
Nathalie laughed, "Haven't you heard of a summer holiday? I've been wanting to visit Paris, and I've been wanting to see you again, so my parents surprised me with plane tickets . . . and here I am! I would've told you, but your parents thought it would be a nice surprise, you know for your birthday and all. That's why they were acting so strangely earlier, or so they told me. "
"It was a nice surprise," I muttered, before turning closer to Nathalie and giving her a hug, "I can't believe you're really here. I've missed you so much! You remember my sister Juliette, don't you?" Juliette had come up beside us and was shyly looking on.
"Bien sûr, of course I do! In fact, Juliette was in on the surprise . . . weren't you, Juliette?"
Juliette reddened, not liking being the center of attention, "Well, y-y-yes, I d-d-did know a little bit . . ."
Nathalie jumped in, "We hope you're not mad about this surprise because we have another surprise, or I have another surprise anyway. Um, do you remember my older sister Anne-Marie? Well, she's at university for the summer, but there's one more person I'd like you to meet . . . "
Before Nathalie could finish her sentence, another redheaded girl wearing sunglasses strolled into the room. "Salut, tout le monde! Je m'appelle Nadia!" she smiled, taking her sunglasses off and extending her hand.
"Yes, this is my twin sister, Nadia! Nadia, this is my best friend, Sophie, and that is her younger sister, Juliette. I am glad you guys can finally meet. Nadia's insistent in staying in Montréal, hence why she's never enrolled at Fair Hollow, but she couldn't very well stay home by herself while we went on holiday," Nathalie smiled.
"Bienvenue à Paris, Nadia!" I greeted her warmly, before turning to Nathalie, "I knew you had sisters, but somehow I never knew that you were a twin. How funny! At least I can tell you two apart."
"Yeah, we are actually identical, but Nathalie here doesn't like short hair and refuses to try contacts out," Nadia laughed, poking her sister, "Anyway, we're both so glad to be here. Nathalie has been obsessed with the idea of visiting Paris for months . . . and when I say obsessed, I mean OBSESSED! It's all she's talked about. She's even forgotten to attend some skating practices because she was dreaming about Paris, I'm telling you . . ."
Nathalie reddened, ". . . I HAVE NOT! Sisters, they really exaggerate, don't they, Sophie?
"Les filles, I think . . . we are going to have a lot of fun together, oui?" Juliette piped up.
"We sure will," I nodded, and we all laughed. My birthday wasn't such a bust after all!
Before Nathalie and Nadia went back to their hotel with their parents, we took a few group pictures. Here's one of us all together. From left to right, we have Nadia, Nathalie, me, and Juliette! Don't you just love Nathalie's green hair?
Here are just the twins. Nadia is on the left, Nathalie is on the right.
Did you celebrate your birthday already this year? What did you do to celebrate? Do you have friends who live faraway? Have they ever come to visit you?