It was my birthday on the weekend, and Luci had been hinting all week that something *surprising* was going happen (he kinda had to tell me this out of necessity to stop me organizing anything myself! He knows me and my control-freak ways well.) However, he did hide the surprise well enough that I had no idea that I was going to spend the morning trekking around Sydney on a treasure hunt!
Because I was so excited (and anxious) about my surprise, I managed to only get 6 hours of sleep. At around 10:30am on the morning of my birthday, after staring at the clock and buzzing with nervous energy for about 4 hours straight, Luci handed me a cryptic envelope: Clue #1!
I tore it open - and found a letter inside.
Can you solve the riddle? After staring at it for a moment, I realised that I had to go to my favourite pay-by-the-kilo thrift shop! After a momentary bit of disappointment that the "surprise" wasn't that I got to eat all the food that Luci had gotten up early to make (delicious food Luci told me me I wasn't allowed to look at/nibble at), I grabbed a banana to keep me going and headed off to catch the bus.
The excitement kicked in after about 5 minutes and by the time I got to the thrift shop I was running purely on adrenalin. I totally felt like a contestant in the Amazing Race (a TV show I watched religiously when I was little).
Katie was waiting for me at the thrift store, keeping up the pretense that we had accidentally bumped into each other, and that she had forgotten that it was my birthday... for about 1 minute. Katie told me that I should probably go and talk to the owner of the op-shop, but didn't tell me why! The owner ended up coming over to me, and asked, "Are you Anni?", then she handed me my next clue! (We're up to clue number #2 for those of you playing at home!)
Me at the op shop, pulling my "are you serious right now?" face.
(I had also been told to dress in gingham, and it was at this point that I realised why!)
After decoding clue #2, we jumped on another bus to find clue number #3!
Blurry selfie because I was shaking so much from excitement, haha
The second clue got us to visit a mysterious milkbar in the inner-west, the centre of many an urban-legend. This milkbar is run by an extremely old dude who people affectionately call "Dr Death". Olympia milkbar is notorious for not having changed since the 1960s (all the old chocolate boxes - now empty - and posters still remain), including the prices (apparently you can get a milkshake for $2.20) and for never having the lights on inside, not even at night.
My friend Leila was waiting here with clue #3! We were all feeling brave, so we went inside the milkbar (not technically part of the treasure hunt) and had some milkshakes in the dark.
Funnily enough, we were charged $4.50 for milkshakes - I think the owner wanted to see if he could get away with it, or maybe we looked rich - anyway, we just paid him the $4.50 because we felt bad for him - "Dr Death" is a pretty apt description of this guy's appearance (he looks about 100 years old and like he hasn't seen the sunlight in 50 years).
After this slight detour, I opened up clue number #3. It told me to visit "the prettiest building at Hogwarts" - pretty obvious to me, we headed off to Sydney University!
Here we found the person with clue #4 - Luci! I gave him the biggest hug - I think he was fairly relieved that his treasure hunt had worked out thus far. We all had a little break (I'd been running around the place for about 2 hours at this point). Unfortunately all that Katie had in her picnic basket was a ukelele and a bunch of raw eggs (??) so we couldn't really stop to have a picnic, but we did at least get to take some cute pictures!
Me, Leila and Luci!
Clue #4, handed to me by Luci, was the sweetest little riddle, opening with: "return to the place we share together". So, we all headed back home.
Awaiting me there were all my best friends, who jumped out and yelled *surprise!* at me while blasting Pharell William's Happy and - probably most importantly - FOOD!
Hey, this is pretty okay for a poor student budget!
Traditional Australian dessert, the pavlova, brought over by my friend Bonnie.
Some of my gorgeous friends... this photo cracks me up so much - I feel like we should have our own Degrassi-style sitcom.
Loads of lovely hugs - I love my friends so much ;__;
Another surprise was having my parents visit me and give me a dress maker's mannequin!! Such an awesomely cool gift; it's going to help me so much with my sewing!
Me and my mumma - somehow we both managed to wear all red and be matching!
This was the first birthday since turning 18 that I haven't been desperately afraid of getting a year older. I had such a nice day that I was just like "bring on 22!" by the end of it. And as a final, amazing surprise, Luci played me two songs that he recorded just for me, with him singing and playing guitar - they're very so special and beautiful, I cried tears of joy for about half an hour straight, listening to them on repeat.
Have any of you guys ever planned/been the recipient an awesome surprise? I'd love to hear your stories!
I hope that you're all having the BEST day!
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