There have been a slew of reasons to celebrate lately; my boss got married two weeks ago, Josh got a job, and I officially started the last year of my 20s.
But let me start with the best news of all: Josh’s new job! He’ll soon start working for an NGO doing truly commendable work here and in the US. Not to mention that he’ll be based here in Chiang Mai so, thankfully, we won’t be a commuting couple which was a definite possibility. I’m also thrilled to bits because I have long been wishing that Josh gets work experience outside of a large bureaucracy and do something more grassroots. We were so happy on Monday night that we went to Beccofino Italian Trattoria, a fancy restaurant a few streets away to celebrate with four seasons pizza and a carafe of white wine. Buonissimo!
(Our choice of dinner really says something about how easy it is to live here, and how cosmopolitan this city is because we could have been eating anywhere in the world. Well, except for the monsoonal rain that came pouring down at the end of our celebratory dinner.)
As for my birthday…in general, I don’t make a huge fuss about my birthday. My parents have rarely celebrated my birthday and these days, never even remember it! But occasionally I’ll make a big effort. I’ve had two big parties in the past decade, and they haven’t been for obvious milestones (24 and 28) – though they were both partly motivated by the fact that I knew that the birthdays following would be spent living overseas. I seem to make a habit of spending my birthday overseas, but this year in Chiang Mai was one of the best–and most relaxed–celebrations yet.
For my boss’s wedding, my workmates and I all chipped in and bought a big present from Vieng Joom On Teahouse by the river. We drove there one day after lunch and as soon as I walked through the doors, I knew straightaway that I had found a venue for party. It’s incredibly lavish and beautiful inside; the perfect place for a big get-together – and to fulfill a secret wish to have a high tea party. I invited a lot of the people I’ve become friends with recently and more than a dozen people came. I booked a big table and ordered cakes, sandwiches, and lots of pots of tea. I was thoroughly spoiled with all sorts of lovely gifts; but most of all I appreciated everyone being there for me.
It’s been so nice to realise that after three months here, I have started to make some wonderful friends. The low point of this year was when I was dumped by a friend and that incident truly shook my confidence; but now it feels that that is truly in the past, and I can looking forward to a future where all the people I choose to associate myself with accept me for who I am. When I looked around the room full of people who happily made the effort to celebrate my 29th birthday with me, it made me believe that I must be doing something right in this new chapter of my life.