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A 21st Birthday To Remember

When Olive told us that the upcoming issues would be about human connections through multilingualism a burst of inspiration came to me. Multilingualism has played a major role in shaping my perspective and understanding of the incredible diversity of cultures. It fuelled my thirst to learn about, as much as possible, the differences between me and my friends from abroad.

During my time abroad, I discovered all different types of customs and traditions from my Erasmus mates: mi amiga polaca me enseñó una tradición típica de las bodas polacas que consiste en un

chupito de agua y vodka; mi amiga italiana me enseñaba toda la jerga italiana esencial, y mi amiga

alemana me contaba historias sobre un animado festival que se celebra cada primavera en su ciudad


The beauty of sharing our culture with each other lies not only in the knowledge gained but also in

the bonds that are strengthened from these exchanges, and these cultural exchanges were what I

remember most when looking back at my time in Granada.

When I was in Granada for my year abroad, I was fortunate enough to spend my 21st birthday there (¡y qué mejor manera de celebrarlo que en el sur de España!)

On the evening of my birthday, I invited all my friends over to my flat for a little party and drinks. At the time most of them had been British (other than my French and Italian flatmates). However, throughout my time living with my flatmates I had grown increasingly close with them, so when one of my Italian flatmates told me her Italian friends were also going out that evening, I of course invited all of them over to join the celebration!

That night then became one of my favourite highlights from Granada! At first, it was a bit awkward

as the Italians stuck with the Italians and the Brits stuck with the Brits, but that soon changed when

we all joined to play a classic game of ‘Ring of Fire’ (Or “Círculo de Fuego” as we decided to call it for

the night).

Of course, the Italians had never heard of this drinking game (which is played by so many Brits

before a night out). So, it was our duty to explain to them, as best as we could, the rules of this game

in Spanish.

Se puede imaginarse el caos amistoso que esto provocó, que no hizo más que aumentar a

medida que el juego continuaba. Trying to explain the rules of drawing an Ace card in Spanish to a

group of Italians was certainly not a walk in the park, but through some creative descriptions and

various hand gestures, we managed it in the end.

In fact, this game went down so well that we all ended up creating our own game which came from a mix of ‘Ring of Fire’ and a drinking game from Italy.

Nunca pensé que la noche acabaría así, pero me alegro mucho de que así fuera. Fue divertida,

caótica y animada y, al final de la noche, los dos grupos de británicos e italianos se habían unido

para formar un gran grupo de amigos y amigas.

I had never experienced a party quite like it but somehow, through different languages, and exchanging games from each other’s countries we all seemed to connect. It is by far one of my most memorable nights I had in Granada and my favourite birthday of all!

About The Author: Isabella is an Olea Ambassador (Team 1.0, March - Sept 2023) and is currently pursuing a BA in Modern Languages (Spanish and Italian) with Business Management at the University of Birmingham.


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