my "little" sister, best friend, and champion segway rider turns seventeen today. seventeen. considering i sometimes feel like i'm still seventeen, i can hardly wrap my mind around this number and its significance.

for the last three years, michelle's birthday has always fallen on the same weekend as my university's family weekend, so bless her and her thoughtful, understanding, selfless soul, she's spent half of her teendomhood birthdays in lil' ole pella, iowa at my silly family weekend and never once complained or made it about herself, even though she had every right to. but that's just the kind of young woman she is, and i admire her oh so much for it. this year, with me not participating in my school's homecoming or family weekend due to geographical circumstances, michelle has the entire week to herself - the world is her oyster! she gets to do whatever she pleases in celebration of her big day. and would you guess what she's got planned? spending the weekend in pella, iowa, so she can attend the central college homecoming football game. that's what. i kid you not. i'm only slightly jealous she's going to be there without me.

oh michelle, i so badly wish i could be there to ring in your seventeenth year with you. if i could teleport you here i would do it in a heartbeat just so i could spend the day spoiling you with my granada favorites, and it would look something like this...

we'd start the day by stopping at my favorite little bakery to see my favorite little baker, where we'd pick up a yummy birthday breakfast pastry. i'd get my ever-trustworthy ever-moist blueberry muffin and recommend to you the neapolitan croissant, with "secret" underlying intentions of doing splitsies and sharing a bit of both. hey, it wouldn't be a family meal if we didn't!
we'd carry our fresh pastries up this little alleyway to my hidden, secret plaza...
which seems to be occupied by an overabundance of hobos (and honestly i now realize doesn't look very visually appealing; it's cozy, i promise!), so we'll backtrack...
...to plaza trinidad, where we would eat and talk and enjoy the fresh air and natural company.
after breakfast, i'd lead you back towards the main drag via the posh mini shopping district. we'd window shop, try on over-priced garb that we'd never be caught dead wearing, and find you a futbol jersey.
"woofta!" we'd say. "all that shopping's made us hungry!" i'd weave you through the backstreets of granada until we found the perfect, hole-in-the-wall, authentic spanish restaurant and we'd stuff ourselves silly with paella and churros con chocolate.

time to walk off that big lunch of ours! i'd lead you on an afternoon "intense walk" (the word "hike" is too serious) up to the ahlambra, for a more informative, historical experience and the most breathtaking view of the city.
don't let me forget to pack our selfie sticks!
we'd grab an evening treat of tea and crepes at a moroccan teteria in an attempt to hold off our hunger until night rolls around and the tapas bars open up. come 10:00 PM, we'd set out to roam the awakened, lively streets, stopping every few blocks to grab a fanta or coca cola and the free tapa that comes with.
as the drowsiness sets in after such an eventful day, we'd pop a squat on a bench near this fountain, and i'd use this opportunity to tell you how proud i am to be your big sister. you radiate beauty, always know how to put a smile on my face, and have the kindest heart and the most infectious smile of anyone i've ever met. i love you, midge the beast! happy birthday!

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