Birthdays abroad and at home, and asking a favour of Not A Ballerina readers

It’s my birthday today!

Being here in Australia, this particular birthday (my 38th, if you’re curious) may not be particularly distinguishable from my 37th and 39th when I look back in future years. But I remember my 28th birthday, exactly ten years ago, very, very well.

I was living in Bratislava, and had been for about six months. A lot of that had been winter. Now, a Slovak winter is not a terribly severe thing, but it does seem to go on and on and on and on. (Or at least it does to an Australian.)

On the morning of my 28th birthday, I took the tram into the city centre and had to walk to my first class of the day, teaching Business English at Slovak Telekom. I’d caught the tram that didn’t go quite all the way there and had perhaps a ten-minute walk.

It was awful. The ground was icy and slippery from recent snow. The weather was freezing and grey and rather than snowing, it was throwing down that horrid hard hail and combined with a strong wind, all I could feel was these stones whipping into me with ferocious beats; it actually hurt. And I was cold and soggy as well. I remember thinking, come on weather, how can you do this to me today, on my birthday? And I was also thinking, it’s nearly the end of March, this winter seems to go on forever, when will it ever end? I was miserable and feeling terribly sorry for myself.

Wintery Bratislava on a less blustery day

Fortunately, my day improved – my class was so lovely, and the weather stopped beating me up – but the start of it made that day one of those birthdays I will never forget.

And now it’s my birthday again, and given that I am in Perth, Western Australia, you won’t be surprised to know that it is not hailing or icy. That’s definitely a rarity here, especially in balmy March.

But since it’s my birthday I wondered if my readers would give me a little gift. I’ve been trying to find out more about you and what you like to read about. So the thing on my birthday wish list is … could you fill out this short reader survey? It’s just 10 short questions but it will help me magnificently to keep providing blog posts that you love reading.

This is what the Not A Ballerina reader survey looks like …

And if you’re reading this after my birthday, don’t fear … I accept belated birthday presents too. You can still take the reader survey and I’ll still be grateful!


  1. Survey done. I was tempted to lie and say I was in the 21-40 age group …

  2. Happy birthday Amanda, hope you had a lovely day! Survey done too.

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