Expat birthday: celebrating my unbirthday

Expat birthday | birthdays abroad | what to do on your birthday | unbirthday | Aussie | Expat | Aussie Expat in US | expat life

I sat down to some strange emails in my inbox this morning. Everyone gets those pesky online shopping newsletters, reminding you that your one duty as a human being is to amass as many “things” as possible.

This morning, I got one wishing me a happy half-birthday and inviting me to spend my hard-earned on some shorts I’d been eyeing off for a while. It got me thinking about expat birthdays.


I’m used to my birthday rolling round right at the beginning of summer. It’s warm outside, it’s party season and it’s not really that difficult to get friends out for a little celebration. In summer most people want to spend time outside of their houses anyway.

Then I moved to the pesky northern hemisphere, where it’s cold, rainy and dreary by the time December makes an appearance. No one wants to leave their cocoons for anything, not even the strange foreign woman who talks funny. (And believe me, she does talk funny).


There’s nothing like the memories of birthdays past spent with families, friends and the people who really understand you, to make you homesick.

Who wants to spend their birthday reliving great times and special moments at home when you might still be at the beginning of your expat journey, without many friends to speak of? Obviously this isn’t true for every expat, but it is a reminder of just how far from home you really are. And maybe how different your adopted country is to your homeland.


Today, a colleague had a stroke of pure genius and I’m running with it. What if we expats celebrated our half birthdays to get the joy of our usual birthday season?

You’ve never celebrated an unbirthday before, so you wouldn’t have those memories or thoughts of home hanging over your head. It’s a great excuse to party and break out your party dress/pants and get your dance on. Make new memories of your new country!

What’s an unbirthday?“, you ask? You need to read more Lewis Carroll my friend!

Basically it’s any day that’s not your birthday, although I’m tweaking it for the purposes of this conversation, to be your half birthday. Exactly six months before/after your actual birth date.

Here’s how my colleague pitched it to me:


An excellent idea. I mean, it makes no sense in terms of the linear movement of time or whatever. But it does appeal to my wanting to celebrate my birthday here on a summer’s day.

So whaddya reckon? Will you be joining me in taking on the unbirthday cause? How do you celebrate your birthday in a different country?

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8 thoughts on “Expat birthday: celebrating my unbirthday

  1. This is a GREAT idea. An unbirthday!
    It really is just a day to celebrate your existence. You can choose any day you want to do that.
    Also, this way you get TWO birthdays. Your actual birth date and your birth seasonal day. AWESOME!
    Happy seasonal unbirthday!

    1. I’m glad that you picked up on my selfishness and ego šŸ™‚
      Two days a year that are all about me? I’m there with bells on.

  2. This is such a neat idea. Both our birthdays are in July and having spent most of our lives in the UK, we’ve always enjoyed sunny (by UK standards) summery birthdays. Although we’ve been down under for 9 years, we still haven’t gotten used to celebrating in winter, especially as it’s rained on my birthday for every one of those 9 years! We already do Christmas in July so birthdays in January seem the next logical step šŸ™‚

    1. DO IT! Let me know how it goes. Mine’s today, so it’s kind of wasted at work and without any real plans. Although the clouds have cleared up for me and it’s a nice day outside.

  3. I’m still a bit confused but any day which celebrates YOU and has cake and presents is all good! My son is a mid Jan birthday and it was often a challenge to get friends to a party because of school hols so our local GP suggested the ‘half’ birthday but we never did it. Mind you, his actual BIRTHday and many subsequent birthdays usually were over 40 degrees celsius ! That, as you know is H O T.

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