Well, its auspicious because every year on January 3, no matter where I am, it blizzards. Even today, here in Beijing after two months of severe drought and no precipitation, the Chinese government fired their silver nitrate canons and the result is a blazing snowstorm. You may ask yourself why I would notice that every year on January 3 it blizzards. Well here are but a select few illustrative stories for you, and you'll soon figure out why.
January 3, 1984
My mom, hugely pregnant and supposedly in labour (not that she felt anything) braved a massive snowstorm with my Dad to drop the two older children off at a friend's house and then go to the hospital. It was morning. When they arrived at the hospital, the doctor told them that they should go home and then come back in the evening. So they braved the storm home again. They spent the stormy day at home waiting, somewhat bored (Mom was still not in pain). They then braved the storm again in the evening to go back to the hospital. Twenty minutes after my mom was checked into the hospital, I was born.
January 3, 2004
James had a plan. He was going to take me out on my birthday to a park, cook me a winter meal over a fire and then pop the question. However, a massive snowstorm hit overnight, covering his car in snow up over the dash and the temperature then promptly plummeted down to -45C. There was no going anywhere. My Dad, having been let in on the plan generously offered to let James take his car. Off we went. We arrived at the park and strolled about 10 feet away from the car before we were too cold to proceed. James grandly proposed and put the engagement ring on my icy white hand before we threw the glove back on again and rushed back to the car.
We decided it would be silly to go right back after such an momentous occasion, so we went for a drive. But it wasn't long before we found ourselves driving through thick heavy snow that was bumper deep without no option except to keep driving forward fast enough to not get stuck and snow enough that the tires didn't spin. It took about an hour and a half to drive 4km and when we finally got out, we discovered the car would not drive faster than 40km/hr and made horrible noises. We dropped the car off at a friend's house nearby and hitched a ride back to my parent's house, with James moaning about how to tell his future father-in-law about his car.
January 3, 2009
I was excited that James and I were going out alone for my birthday. We were going to see the IMAX 3D Safari show. But a massive snow storm hit. I felt pouty that the weather had ruined my birthday yet again, and James finally decided that we would brave the weather anyway to drive the 30 minutes to go see the show. It was a long and harrowing drive. We questioned the wisdom of heading out as we drove along. We did see the show, but the 3D strained our eyes and made the drive home, even less pleasant.
January 3, 2010
Northern China has been experiencing drought for the last two months. The farmers are edgy and water prices have been raised in Beijing to deter people from wasting water. The air is as dry as can be. There was even a small dust storm on Christmas Eve. I get my hopes up that I might pass my first birthday without either the prerequisite snow or storm. But then, on January 3, the government "cloud seeds" with a giant cannon and Beijing sees a massive downfall of snow that puts a stop to everything.
However, I still have to go to church to play piano. I manage to get a taxi, but the driver's cutthroat driving in heavy snow makes me pause to think that I might not live past 26. Only thirteen people show up at church, but I grandly play my rendition of "Shall We Gather At the River" that I have been working on for a few months anyway.
Will we make it out for Greek food and cheesecake like we had planned? Who knows...
I have come to the conclusion after all these years of having my plans blown by the weather, that the only thing I should ever plan to do on my birthday is celebrate my own life. After all, where did we come up with the idea that it is more important to be celebrated than to celebrate yourself?
Today I am a happy 26 year old. It used to bother me that everyone is shocked to hear how young I am, but I have stopped caring about that now. It would be silly for me to be self conscious about my age, because it doesn't change who I am or what I am. I thank God for my life and when I take the time to think about what I have done so far, I am quite proud of myself.
However, that said, I imagine that when I turn 30, I will turn to myself (in whatever snowstorm that I am found at that time) and say "Hey look at that! You're finally 30!".