Monday, June 02, 2008


On May 17th we threw a great double-layered surprise party for a fellow graduate student (her boyfriend, another graduate student, actually organized it). Her birthday was that day, but as both her and her boyfriend were traveling to a conference the next day, they decided to just celebrate the following weekend (or so she thought). However, her boyfriend had actually organized a group of us to meet them at a local restaurant for dinner (her favorite restaurant that they frequently eat at). The eight of us managed to get there about 10 minutes before they arrived, and they managed to get into the restaurant before it started pouring rain. When they walked in and saw us, she was so surprised I don't think it registered for a few seconds that we were eating with them. Before they got to our table though she was all smiles and saying how she couldn't believe it. She was actually very surprised, which is amazing because many of our friends have had surprise birthday parties/dinners organized by their significant others in the past year. According to her, her boyfriend is very bad at planning this type of thing, which made it even more surprising for her as she'd never expect it.

I had also posted on her facebook wall earlier that day wishing her a happy birthday and asking if she had any plans. I also suggested that we go to one of the local bars if she didn't have plans to celebrate. Right before they left for dinner she responded to me (I found this out at dinner as I had already left at that point) saying that they were not celebrating until the following weekend. I wish I had a picture of her face when she remembered this wall post during dinner, she was both amused and mad all at the same time. I think she said something like "YOU!!!" while pointing at me (I was sitting right across from her). It was so hilarious seeing her so mad at being duped so well.

The best part of the entire thing though is that dinner was only a decoy. The ACTUAL surprise was karaoke after dinner (as discussed in my previous post). Her boyfriend had organized us so that less than half of the group came to dinner, and everyone else went straight to karaoke. So of course the next challenge was to get her to the karaoke place. Luckily we are all conniving individuals, and through suggesting and shooting down other ideas for awhile toward the end of dinner we actually tricked her into suggesting karaoke herself! As I am not a fan of karaoke I protested at first (otherwise it would have been way too suspicious!), but was eventually "convinced" by her that we should go there.

When we arrived at the karaoke place, she waited for my car to get there as we were the last ones out of the restaurant parking lot and I had told her we didn't know where to go (only partially true). This gave everyone else a chance to get inside and find out what room the rest of our group was hiding in. My labmate's wife stayed out front and pointed us to which room we were going to have, and my labmate opened the door so that the birthday girl could enter before him. The lights were out and two birthday cakes had candles lit on them. She just stood in the doorway so I gently pushed her in since I was right behind her, and everyone started singing "Happy Birthday." She then blew out her candles, and we told the people there that we had managed to make her suggest karaoke at dinner, which then again caused her to be "mad" at us one more time. Although everyone knew she was really just incredibly delighted.

She sent us all an e-mail a few days later, here is a shortened and edited (names removed) version:

Dear friends,
...I want to thank you all for being a part of what may have been the most awesome birthday party ever. I had an amazing time! Special thanks go to [her boyfriend] for being a sweetheart and planning such an incredible evening, those of you who helped him organize it (for some reason I don't really know who did what :p), and all of you for coming!

It would be understatement to say I was surprised. If I looked annoyed, it was simply because I couldn't believe how [her boyfriend] managed to keep it all a secret and how you all tricked me, but it was a good annoyed :). ...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you so much!

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