As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog posts, there are many students here in the MPA program from across the country and the world. To make those long absences from home more bearable, each MPA clique kind of becomes a home away from home. Even though I’m only from Arlington, TX (three hours North of Austin), I have grown extremely close to three fellow MPA-ers in particular.
So when I started planning what I wanted to do for my birthday three months in advanced (I love birthdays!), I immediately when to my BFFs here and said unapologetically, “I want a murder mystery surprise party for my birthday.” My thinking was that a murder mystery would be a fun twist on the usual birthday celebrations we’d been having. I just wanted to do something different. And I’ve always wanted a surprise party.
My friend, Theodore, replied, “How are we supposed to make it a surprise if you know it’s coming?”
“That’s the challenge isn’t it, “ I said. “You have to be creative.”
Well as my birthday was approaching, I starting getting nervous that perhaps I was demanding too much from my friends. Who pretty much demands a surprise party from their friends? It started to sound more and more ridiculous in my head. And as I was going through my calendar and my friends’ calendars it seemed that finding the block of time to have the party, it seemed like the window of time to have a surprise party just kept getting narrower and narrower.
I finally contacted my good friend, Aisling, for advice. She is always good at counseling a friend in need. I told her I had started to feel that a murder mystery surprise party may be a little ridiculous that perhaps her and the other party planners shouldn’t worry about trying to make it happen. I really didn’t want to inconvenience anyone. She replied saying that maybe we just push the murder mystery party ’til later in the semester as a fun twist on our group’s usual plans, and that we just do a small celebration for my birthday before going out.
Little did I know that this was part of the set up! So on one particular Friday late afternoon a week before my actual birthday, my friend, Theodore, and I went for our usual workout. He offered to cook dinner post workout, too.
I said, “I thought you had to go to a concert later this evening.”
“That doesn’t start until 9 p.m,” he said. “I have special recipe from my mother I want to try.”
“OK. Sounds like a good plan,” I said.
So off to his apartment we went. When I walked in, I thought it was extremely dark. I couldn’t see anything. And all of a sudden the lights jumped to life and a crowd of people yelled, “Surprise!”
My friends did it! They actually surprised me! It was one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever had.
What ensued was a Western tale of Indians, drunkards, corrupt lawmen and Southern belles trying to find out who committed the murder.
I think this story just goes to show what kind of camaraderie is here in the MPA program. Even though as traditional MPA students we are only here one year, we make the most of it.