A BITTER SWEET 18TH BIRTHDAY IN SELF-ISOLATION
by Chené Koscielny
We’ve experienced a big self-isolation birthday in our house this week – as my daughter turned 18 – and it was a different, but beautiful and memorable experience.
Turning 18 is a big milestone and most teenagers, my daughter included, had big ideas for her special day – including a party with her friends.
As it soon became clear that life was changing fast, not only did her birthday plans evaporate one after one, but her graduation, prom and other plans with friends also started to disappear.
It was time to plan a special birthday celebration in self-isolation!
In the process we were able to support a few local businesses too.
ALSO read our other articles for tips on self-isolation in Geneva:
1. THE GIFTS
Luckily, our main gift – a necklace – was bought on the day just before the shops closed.
I jumped into action to order a few extras online – including candles and beautiful wrapping paper and pink balloons and ribbons from Manor, a few meaningful books from Amazon and an Echo Dot speaker from Galaxus.ch. (Please note that the Alexa app which comes with the Echo Dot doesn’t work in Switzerland – but luckily we managed to find a hack around this!) All the deliveries arrived on time.)
My daughter loved the presents.
2. THE CAKE
We LOVE Christie’s Bakery – read our review here – and before the lockdown, when my daughter was still planning to have friends over, she had ordered a stunning cake. The layered chocolate cake with cream and raspberry filing is covered in pink icing and topped with pretty pink roses and macarons.
Luckily, Olga was very happy to make a smaller cake in the same style – as my daughter’s friends could no longer come round to share the cake, obviously. Olga delivered the cake personally on my daughter’s birthday.
3. THE FOOD
4. THE FLOWERS
5. THE BALLOONS
5. THE FRIENDS
My daughter met up with her friends on Facetime – and one of the guys had even dressed up for the call and had his own piece of cake.
They had a great time – laughing and chatting for over an hour.
Zoom would have been an option too – but they preferred Facetime.
Other options include: Netflix party – an extension of Netflix which allows you to watch the same movie and chat to each other, pause at the same time as if you’re watching the movie together in the same place. Houseparty is an app that allows participants to chat and play games together. Great for younger kids.
7. THE PERSONAL TOUCH
What made my daughter’s day, though, was a heartfelt, personal letter written by one of her friends which arrived on her birthday by post, a birthday card from another friend and a drive-by visit and personal delivery of another card from a friend. They stood looking at each other and then hugged each other – before I could say anything…
It brought tears to my eyes.
We also had Facetime and Skype sessions with family around the world – in South Africa, San Francisco and Germany.
Even though this birthday was nothing like what she’d imagined it to be, my daughter had an amazing day and felt very loved and pampered.
For me, to be honest, it felt very special to have her just for us on what will be a birthday she’ll certainly never forget.
IF YOU’RE CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY IN SELF-ISOLATION, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
We’d love to hear your ideas or experiences of birthday parties and other celebrations in self-isolation. Please do comment below this article.