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It's good to be at Florida State: Freddie turns 20.
Federica Suess (left) and teammate Lauren Macfarlane having fun at a Florida State football game.

Federica Suess (left) and teammate Lauren Macfarlane having fun at a Florida State football game.

Oct. 27, 2007

Seminoles.com is home to the exclusive diary of junior Ania Rynarzewska as she embarks on her third year with the Florida State women's tennis squad. New entries detailing the behind-the-scenes action with Ania and her teammates will be posted periodically throughout the season.

On Saturday of homecoming week, as usual, the team was preparing for the morning practice. However, that day something was different. All the team members were very excited: it was Federica Suess' birthday.

"I am excited to finally turn 20. I waited for it so long. Now, I am not a teenager anymore so this alone is very exciting but also a little scary. I am growing up," Suess said laughing.

According to tradition, Jennifer Hyde, women's tennis head coach bakes a cake for the "birthday kid." It is not just a birthday cake, it is a customized one. This year's cake for Suess was called "Fun Freddy cake" and had a little mistake corrected last minute. It stated that Freddie was 19. Luckily, Coach Hyde was very creative and quickly changed it to 20. It is also a tradition that the team sang happy birthday and the birthday kid blushed from joy. This was also the case this time. In addition, the girls signed a singing birthday card for Suess.

"It was Lauren's idea to buy a birthday card with a melody instead of regular one. She knew Freddie would love it. Freddie liked it so much that she kept playing it over and over again while dancing to the melody. It was nice to see her smile," Katie Rybakova said.

After practice, the women's tennis team decided to continue the celebration of Suess' birthday. The entire team joined her for lunch at one of Tallahassee's best restaurants. The girls did what they love the most: eat good food and enjoy each other's company accompanied by their laughter and pictures taking.

Suess waited a few months since her arrival from Europe to have a cup of espresso, something she loves as half Italian. Unfortunately, sugar in Italy looks the same as a salt shaker in the USA. Before she realized, she salted her espresso. Even huge amounts of sugar didn't help. As the team stated later, "it was so Freddie-like."

"Lunch with the girls was so much fun, although I was a little bit disappointed because of my salty espresso," Suess said.

After that, something unexpected happened. As the waitress came to ask how to split the bill, Suess asked confidently for one check claiming that it is her birthday and that she invited the team. The team busted out laughing. As a freshman, she didn't know that this was not the team's tradition. On this team, a birthday kid never pays.

"We couldn't let her pay. It was her birthday! Then we she realized we also split her bill among us; she got really aggressive and couldn't believe we actually paid for her. It was funny," Lauren Macfarlane said.

It took Suess a while to realize that it is really nothing bad that she didn't pay for the dinner. After a while she regained her good mood and happiness.

"My 20th birthday was one of the best I've had: first of all because I had it in America and secondly, because I was with my great team. I enjoyed eating `Fun Freddy' cake. I finished it the same day! Jen is the best cook! In addition, I loved the team singing for me. All in all, it was a great birthday," Suess recapped.

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