It’s amazing how you can feel so loved by your family even when you’re 9,000 miles away. This week I celebrated my 26th birthday here in Thailand, and I was sung to literally morning, noon, and night! During the morning assembly before school started, my entire school sang “Happy Birthday” in Thai and English. The Thai teachers signed a card for me, and I felt truly like a part of a big Thai family. However, just because it was my birthday didn’t mean I was exempt from the daily embarrassing dance routine.
At lunch, all the foreign teachers (my homegirls) came over to my office where I was given an Angry Birds cake and sung to again by the teachers including the school director. My friends gave me a loaf of Italian bread, olives, and a bottle of Cabernet; an Italian girl’s dream, basically.
Both of my parents sent me large boxes from home, filled with goodies like Cheez-its, photos, balloons, a new Neti pot (my sinuses are thankful!), Starbuck’s Via coffee, and Velveeta mac and cheese. I also received a food basket from my mom and sisters who know how much I love food. Apparently they ordered a “gourmet” gift basket, which consisted of delicious cookies, crackers, cheese, and “gourmet” Pringles, French’s mustard, and Kraft singles. I think my co-teacher saw all the food I was gifted and was suddenly nervous I would inflate into a Violet Beauregarde sized farang. I assured her I wouldn’t eat it all at once, even though as soon as I got home from school I tore open some crackers and cheese and went to town! That night all my ladies met at Lebanese restaurant Beirut in Bangkok. We shared giant plates of falafel, hummus, tabouleh, and pita until we were groaning with delight.
My apartment now is filled with so much cheese and various carriers for said cheese, and I couldn’t be happier! I plan to pop the bottle of wine this weekend in Kanchanaburi while relaxing on the shores of the River Kwai and wondering how I got to be 26 years old all of a sudden.
Turning a year older always slightly shocks me but fills me with excitement. This past year was mostly spent at a dead end job working from home; pretty much wasting away on the internet for countless hours. I was still happy, but I knew that something had to change fast or else I would turn into someone that never changes out of their pajamas and has read virtually every article on Buzzfeed. Teaching abroad became a curiosity, a possibility, and ultimately my reality. This experience has opened up so many proverbial doors, and I can’t wait to see what this next year has to offer. I will be in Thailand until at least March, and then the world is ripe for the picking.
To everyone who made me feel special on my birthday, thank you! I love you all to Thailand and back. 26 is going to kick ass, I will be sure of that.