You know how to make a girl feel special

Floating back a week, I’d like to re-live my birthday celebrations a bit. Partly because I don’t want to dwell on nor share some of the not-so-enjoyable moments of the past two weeks. And partly because I felt so celebrated and want to share my gratitude.

My birthday began in the most delightful way. Well, actually, it started somewhat unusually. John and I awoke before 6am to go for a run before it got too hot. I’d like to clarify this because I don’t want to give the illusion that I do this regularly. I have run very little here in Thailand. It’s really hot. I’m not super motivated to get up early enough to make the running bearable by running when it’s slightly cooler. I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to… I’m not sure if I made this one up to make myself feel better. I feel older and my body doesn’t seem to recover as quickly. Blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, John and I have been snacking more than usual lately, so perhaps that was some added motivation. So we went for a short run. While I was stretching afterward, John began the labour of cooking me breakfast. Once I was told that I could enter the kitchen, I walked into a delightful surprise. John arranged our kitchen table so that my laptop was playing the new music album he bought me, and displaying a slideshow of photos he made cataloguing our 10(!) years together. As well as an array of cards that were sent from family back home. To top it off, in addition to breakfast, he concocted a homemade variation of a nutella latte - one of my old favorites from Chicago. It was the best morning, and I already felt like my birthday was complete.

The middle part of my day was so-so, encumbered by the oppressive heat. At the end of the workday, we broke off a little early, to have a small party at Hands of Hope in honor of me. There were way too many presents given and ice cream eaten by all.

After a short break at home, we headed over for our weekly community dinner with everyone else that lives in the Garden. After a feast, there were many more presents given - I think the day encompassed the most presents that I have ever received for my birthday. The presents here have a lot more variety - often, perishables are given. I was bestowed many bars of chocolate and lots and lots of fruit - including guava, one of my favorites! And many thoughtful presents - including Sr. Pranee’s, which was a shirt that was ordered from Bangkok.

John with some of the kids here...

While I don’t necessarily want a myriad of material things, they were representative of so much love and thought. Some were handmade gifts - like my favorite journal (a newer design by Hands of Hope) - and homemade cards.

I remember trying to give John a good birthday while in Thailand, and it’s stressful. He went out of his way to make my day so special. The only thing missing was talking to friends and family, but I got a taste of that in my wonderful cards sent from home and was able to chat with some of them in the following days.

Please forgive my focus on me and my birthday. I feel like life is meant to be celebrated. Thankfully, for John’s sake, I haven’t quite gotten to celebrating my birthday for the whole month yet - like my dear mother. So we all have that to look forward to.

Oh, and I might have eaten ice cream twice that day.