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So, Wednesday was my birthday! Woo, I’m officially old! Sorry to those older than 24 who may be offended by that statement.

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A few years back, I made a vow that I would always try to spend my birthday in a different country or at least on a trip somewhere. I’m currently streaking at three birthdays out of the country! My 22nd was spent in Rome, 23 was greeted during the fires of the Les Santes Festival in Spain, and now I am 24 in Italy again, but this time under the Tuscan sun.

As far as birthdays go, I can’t complain. I headed to the beach with the girls for a morning of sea time and sun. We biked back home and stuffed our faces with lasagna and watermelon.

In the guest house there is a pair of old speakers, so we took a few minutes to rewire them, and blasted some music while swimming the afternoon away!

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After getting dolled up, the whole family took me to Nicola or Luni–a little town not too far from here. We ate at Fiorella’s, which was a sweet Italian restaurant nestled on top of the mountain. It had a panoramic view of the surrounding cities and the sea!

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Before we ordered anything, the server came out and took the wine glasses away from the younger girls, including me. Mind you, the drinking age here is 18. It was pretty funny when Claudia had to explain that I am in fact 24, and I did plan on drinking.

In true Italian fashion, the celebration was dedicated mostly to eating. I had lunettes (which are a kind of ravioli) stuffed with gorgonzola, radishes, and topped with walnuts. My secondi platti was grilled squid with some fried zucchini flowers, eggplant, and zucchini. It was no surprise that everything was delicious.

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I was genuinely surprised though when they brought out a big birthday cake for me at the end of dinner. It tasted even better than I could imagine and thankfully there are leftovers to eat for lunch.

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The girls also gave me a sweet bracelet that I thought they were buying for someone at the market last week. I helped them pick it out! Very sneaky.

It’s truly an incredible feeling to become a part of someone else’s family. They have shown me nothing but love since I’ve been here and I am grateful that I could spend another summer with a family, who opened their homes and arms to me.

Kurtis is coming to spend the weekend here, and I can’t wait to show him around. I’m not sure how his poor skin will do here after being deprived of the sunlight in England, but I guess we’ll find out!

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23 was an incredible year for me, and I can’t wait to see what the next year of my life will bring.

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