Friday, October 19, 2012

For A. From Us: A Collaborative B-day Surprise

The Welcome to New York City goodie bag wasn't the only thing that kept me busy the last three weeks. With A.'s 30th birthday coming up I wanted to surprise him with something big again and after Thailand's New Year's Eve scheme, I was pretty confident I could pull another one over on the man. Enter this idea for a book of tiny envelopes filled with messages and goodies from A.'s family and friends. Did you ever read The Jolly Postman when you were a child? Well it's reminiscent of that and a similar project I made when I was younger.

For A.'s book, I reached out to so many loved ones, friends I'd yet to meet in the states and overseas, people he'd never even seen in person but had bonded with thanks to the Internet. I sent out Facebook messages, emails, and mailed out with small gift card-sized envelopes that I wanted them to fill in any way they wished. I was thrilled by how excited people were to join in (one of his favorite authors even emailed a little quote for me to include) and felt like it was Christmastime every time I opened the mailbox and saw that another self addressed stamped envelope had made its way back home.

People sent along notes, photos, money, creative treats, and random affections, even larger gifts that I had to sneak into A.'s apartment. It was fun to watch him open up an envelope and then go around the room opening drawers and cabinets to find things that were hiding there all along.
I was nervous that someone would spill the beans in their birthday message to A., but thankfully I was able to keep it under wraps until he, his mom, and I went out for a nice dinner at Dylan Prime (amazing filet mignon by the way). Right before dessert, I told A. I had something for him and soon into my little speech about my love of sweeping gestures and surprises he got really nervous.

"Chill out, I'm not proposing to you!" I laughed.
"Oh good," he exhaled with relief. "I can relax now."

First, I presented him with a letter opener because, I said, I'd asked for help with this present and that he'd now need help to open it up. Then I made him close his eyes and placed the thick black book in front of him. By the time I was done gluing in everyone's messages, which were still coming in at the last moment, the book wouldn't even close. Over one hundred red, white, and black envelopes made their way in. It was such a wonderful feeling to see A.'s reaction to the gesture, I almost teared up along with him. He was so overwhelmed, so overcome, that he didn't know what to say. So he just took the letter opener and started tearing into the envelopes one by one smiling, laughing, and in disbelief that people would go through the effort to show how much they care. That and the fact that his girlfriend is so damn sneaky and completely in love with him.


Say word.