Today I turn 24 years old. I am very thankful for the years I have lived so far and the people with whom I have enjoyed many great memories. First of all, I am most thankful for my loving family, particularly my mom, dad, and sister Kaitlyn. They have always been there for me, through good times and bad, and for that, I am forever grateful. My extended family is also extremely important to me and there are too many people to name, but you know who you are.

I am lucky to have friends from all over the world. To my friends from Pelham, I love you and will always look forward to spending time together, watching the Jets on TV in a bar in NYC. To my college friends, we’ve shared great memories and I look forward to our five-year reunion. To my Tunisian friends, you all hold such a special place in my heart. I feel so comfortable in Tunisia. After reflecting about it, I’ve come up with three reasons. Firstly, Tunisians love to laugh and make jokes. I’m the same way. I try to make light of difficult situations and not take life too seriously. Secondly, Tunisians appreciate kicking back and relaxing. I’ve started to become better at this. Unplugging my technology, hanging out, and just living in the moment. Thirdly, most of my Tunisian friends love beer. I love beer too. I’m not much of a wine drinker or cocktail man. I love a good old fashioned brew. I’ve bonded with many of my friends because of this shared appreciation.

 
Also, I’m lucky to have friends not only from Tunisia and the US, but from all over the world. I appreciate all of you and feel very special to have met you all.

Last night, as I was falling to sleep, I started thinking about past birthday parties. I couldn’t remember all of them, but here’s the best list I could come up with.

 

Age 4: Brought a bunch of friends on a bus ride to some location. Sounds sketchy, but that’s all I can remember.

Age 5: Hosted friends and invited a magician named Steve Maxx, who used his chin to balance a chair holding me up in the air. In the picture of me in the chair, I have a plastic sword sheathed in my belt. Always stayed strapped.

Age 6: I can’t remember.

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Age 7: Karate birthday party. I had the coolest cake with Charizard imprinted on it. I also gave out Pokemon shirts to all of the guests.

Age 8: Brought group of friends to miniature car racing track. Also went to arcade and played laser tag.

 

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Age 9: Brought group of friends to an XFL game. We watched the New York/New Jersey Hitmen play. The league, which included WWF/WWE wrestlers, folded after one season.

Age 10: Went with group of friends to see Spiderman, which was playing at a movie theater down the street from my house. We all slept over at my house after and watched the movie Hardball.

Age 11: Brought a group of friends to Long Island for paintballing. It was a ton of fun. Even my dad played!

 

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Age 12: Hosted large group of friends at my house for BBQ, cake, a dance competition, manhunt. It was a blast and we finished the night off by watching The Shining.

Age 13: Don’t remember

Age 14: Don’t remember

 

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Age 15: Brought a group of close friends to my house in the Berkshires. We had a great weekend. Even filmed our own version of The Blair Witch Project. This picture above is from our trip to get there.

Age 16: Don’t remember. This is getting kinda sad, right?

Age 17: Don’t remember.

Age 18: Don’t remember.

 

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Age 19: Bin Laden was killed the night before my birthday and people were celebrating his death. I wasn’t celebrating because I don’t think it’s right to ever celebrate anyone’s death, no matter how reviled that person is. I smoked a Cuban cigar at midnight.

Age 20: Went to a local bar near my college with friends and drank a lot of free drinks.

 

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Age 21: Drank legally at my college’s bar for the first time. Also, played golf. Here’s my first legal drink: a free mini bottle of champagne.

 

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Age 22: My birthday coincided with the big annual concert at my college called Floralia. Had a great day and got a chance to see RAC and St. Lucia perform live. Here I am dressed like a buffoon.

Age 23: Hosted a great dinner at my apartment, went to a cool nightclub in Tunis, and then headed back to my apartment to watch the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight. Added bonus: Spurs playoff basketball was on TV right before.

Age 24: I plan on going to a bar/restaurant with a group of good friends to eat and enjoy beer.

 

Thank you to everyone for the lovely birthday wishes! Each one, whether a Facebook post, a call, a text, or an in-person wish, means so much to me. I truly appreciate your kind words.

 

Here’s to many more good years!

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