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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Long Time, No Post. Birthday Update!

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"
Satchel Paige

It's been a while since I posted. About eleven days, and I think that's the longest I've gone without posting since I started this blog. I would love to say it's all down to the fact I was too busy with my birthday celebrations and Easter festivities, but there's a little bit more too it than that. It's been quite a strange week for me. A real roller-coaster of emotions. Nothing properly serious happened, it was all mostly in my head. As much as I try to be positive and accept things, we all have our dark moments and I guess I let things get the better of me. That being said, I don't fully feel ready to go into what happened yet as I'm not fully over it all, and so I'm just going to keep this post about the good things that happened this week. Like my trip to the local Ark Open Farm for my birthday, and our trip to Belfast Zoo for Easter! So get ready for a lot of photos of animals!

I will go into the other stuff that happened at some point, maybe tomorrow or maybe in a few days. Just basically when it all feels a little less raw. Now that I'm building up this suspense, when I finally do talk about it, it's going to be a real anticlimax! Oh well.

So yeah, we went to the Ark Open Farm for my birthday on Friday 18th of April. I turned 24! I fully cannot believe I'm almost a quarter of a century old... Well, my birthday wasn't actually until Sunday the 20th of April, but my dad didn't want to go to the farm on Saturday because he'd have to miss golf. And we were already doing family stuff on my actual birthday because it was also Easter Sunday. I used to love going to the Ark Farm as a kid, and the last few years it's been tradition to go there for my birthday. I love a tradition, especially traditions that involve petting animals! My mum couldn't come with us because she had work, but my dad and my sister Eva were off for Easter. My aunt Karen was off too because she's a teacher, so she came along and as a last minute surprise my granny tagged along. It was nice having her come with us because she's not been very well. Her memory is really bad now, and she kind of acts a bit like a child sometimes. She can't really walk anymore either, so she has to use a wheelchair and therefore doesn't get out very often. She really enjoyed being out and all.

At this point I wasn't feeling great, and we weren't sure if we were going to go. We ended up going a bit later than we'd planned, but I was really glad we went because it got my mind off things for a while. It was a really lovely day and even though the animals have basically been the same since I was a kid, I always really enjoy myself. My favourites are the goats. Especially the kids! And now for photos:

As you can see, I really favoured the goats. I would love to own one. These aren't even all the photos I took of them. Another of my favourites is the little guy below. It's a rubbish photo of him, but he's called Shaun. There didn't used to be this grill thing over the door of his pen, and he used to love nomming on my wheelchair. I love horses, but especially miniatures. There's a video of me when I'm four or five at this farm and back then the miniature horse I was obsessed with was called Macaroni. I had pretty much decided I was going to buy Macaroni at some point. Little Shaun reminds me of Macaroni, he's even in the same pen.

So yeah, the farm was really awesome. Probably not every 24 year old's idea of a great way to celebrate their birthday, but I guess I'm not every 24 year old. Nothing makes me happier than spending time around animals, preferably animals you can pet. 

On Saturday we just had a chill day. I wasn't really feeling great, so I decided to just rest since we would be out on Sunday again. Like I said, Easter Sunday was my actual birthday. Since I still wasn't feeling well, we kind of took our time getting ready. Before we went out I opened my presents. Well, I'd actually opened my new shoes my sister Jann got me and her card a few days before. I wore them to the farm, the rest I opened on my actual birthday.

My present and card from my older sister Jann. She always picks the nicest cards, and I was so happy with my shoes.

This is the card envelope from my sister Eva. I dunno why I didn't take a photo of the actual card. And this is the dinosaur figure she got me. I had asked for the dinosaur, and was so excited to get it. It's going to sit on my desk once I tidy it. She also got me blue paper cups and plates, because blue is my colour! 

This is my presents altogether. Aside from what my sisters got me, I asked the rest of my family for money to put towards a ring I really wanted. Also below is my birthday cake my mum made me. It was so super tasty! It was chocolate.

Eva had asked could we go to Belfast Zoo and even though my parents weren't too keen at first because its usually packed on Easter, they agreed. We left around 3pm and by that time a lot of the Easter crowd had been and gone. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of people and a good atmosphere. It just wasn't completely choc-a-block. It was lovely weather too, which always helps. A lot of the animals were out. Another reason my parents aren't fond of Belfast Zoo is because it's basically on the side of a mountain. Okay, technically it's not a mountain... it's called Cavehill. Still, there's some quite steep bits when you're walking to the highest point of the zoo and walking it is pretty tiring. Or so I'm told. My parents always remember back to when I used to go in my manual wheelchair as a kid and my dad would have to push me, and how much of a struggle it was. I was glad I was in my electric wheelchair this time, but felt sorry for all the people pushing their children's prams and buggies. 

I didn't like the zoo for a long time. The animals always looked a bit depressed, especially on cold rainy days. And lets be honest, this is Northern Ireland. There's a lot of cold rainy days. Also most of the time the animals were nowhere to be seen. Not that I can blame them for hiding. That being said, I don't know if it was just a particularly good day or something, but there was a nicer atmosphere. And the animal enclosures seemed a lot better. Here's some of my favourite photos I took:

The obligatory 'before leaving the house' selfie. As you can see (even with the filter) my face has cleared up loads! Doublebase gel works wonders. 

This is where my grand parents used to go for dances back in the day. It's fallen into disrepair since it was closed, but it's a listed building. They've been meaning to refurbish it for a long time, but the council has never given any funding for it. I really hope it gets fixed up some day.

I think overall the lions were my favourite. They're one of the animals that were usually hiding when I've gone before. Or at least too far away to properly see. It was amazing seeing them up this close. It's incredible how much they're just like giant versions of house cats. I freaked my mum out because when I was getting into position to get a photo beside them, my wheelchair scraped along the window sill and made a noise that kind of sounded like a lion's roar. The main lioness you can see in the photo was really intrigued by me after that, and wouldn't take her eyes off me. Even when I moved away she kept her eyes on me, peering around the edge of the window frame. It reminded me so much of when my cat's Effy and Findlay see a bird outside or something. But yeah, I think they were my favourite. Such beautiful and incredible animals. Another of my favourites was the sea lion. I'm usually too scared to go to the underwater window. It freaks me out, but as we walked passed a sea lion swam by. It stopped and looked at us and seemed really interested in us. Then it swam away and came back with a leaf. 

So yeah, it was a really amazing day and a great way to spend my birthday and Easter. I really enjoyed seeing all the animals. I find it so sad that so many of them are endangered. They're so incredible and beautiful. Humans have a lot to answer for. And as much as I find them being in captivity depressing sometimes, I really hope seeing how amazing they are encourages people to think about wildlife more and donate to conservation efforts etc. Though that might be more wishful thinking, more than anything. 

By the time we got around the zoo, it was almost time for the souvenir shop to close. Luckily we got there JUST in time. I love getting a little keepsake on special days out, and we missed the chance to at the farm. I got Eva and myself a bug each. Mine is shaped as a chimpanzee, and Eva's is the same of a tiger. We also got a chocolate lolly each, and I bought myself the blue bracelet below. Bracelets are my favourite keepsake, even if it's hard to get them to fit my tiny little wrists!

I was pretty busy the rest of the week too. I made a point to be, because I wanted to keep my mind off things. On Monday we hadn't planned to do anything because Eva started training for her new job, but my mum, dad and I ended up walking into town. Which turned out to be a mistake. It was so packed. We walked back home and then picked Eva up when she was finished, then went for a drive to get fish and chips. Which turned out to be another mistake, as we had to try a bunch of different chip shops because they were all so busy. We drove to two different towns, just to drive back to our own to get them. Tuesday we had a rest day, then on Wednesday I had a doctors appointment. More on that next time though. On Thursday my aunt Karen and I went for lunch since she was still off school and then on Friday I went for coffee with my aunt Heather. I've never actually been out with her before, so it was nice. My mum didn't feel good leaving me on my own after how I'd been the rest of the week, and I thought it might be good to go out with someone a little less familiar. A confidence booster I guess. Plus I didn't really want to be on my own the whole day. Yesterday my sister and I had an impromptu visit to Belfast because we had to find her a dress for my cousin's wedding. The one she had got needed to be sent back because it didn't fit her. It was a nice little shopping trip, and I didn't even get a migraine like I usually do when I go to Belfast. We even headed out last night for a drink after, though ended up coming home early. Somewhat because I didn't really feel like I could drink because I hadn't ate much and felt a little sick, and partly because Eva's friends had invited her out and I thought she'd have more fun with them. After a very busy week, today was a rest day. My aunt Karen visited as usual, but other than that I spent most of today on my laptop singing along to music and trying to finish this giant blog entry!

I've really enjoyed getting out more, and I've been finding I've been sleeping a lot better. I'm going to try and keep it up. I also need to start trying to go out by myself, just for walks now and then. Build up my confidence.

But yeah, this has been all the high points of the week. Ideally I would have had this broken up into smaller posts, but I just really wasn't up to writing. Sometimes when I don't feel great emotionally, I really feel like I need to unload and writing really helps. However when I'm at my worst, I completely go into myself and even the thought of starting to write about it freaks me out. I'm feeling a lot better now though, so hopefully from now on it will be business as usual.

Hope everyone had a good Easter!
Or just a good week, if you don't celebrate Easter.


  1. Sorry to hear you felt blue but in a bad way. Those goats look cute! I want chickens and goats now. Happy birthday for last Sunday! Good to read what you've been up to.
    Cats are fascinating. Our house cats like to watch big cats on TV. Oh and clips of birds.

    1. Thanks, it was pretty bad but I'm feeling a lot better now. And yeah, they're adorable. Though the biggest one in the photos head butted a little girl in the chest. I almost got chickens a few years ago, I'd love to own some or ducks and raise them myself from babies. :D Though, I wouldn't chance that with the cats. And thanks!
      I don't think I've caught my cats watching tv. o:


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