Today is my birthday. I didn’t plan on telling anyone that it was my birthday because I feel like announcing my own birthday would be like asking people to buy me presents and stuff. I was prepared to have a regular day today. I think that made the events of today even more special to me. My birthday celebration really started last night. I was invited, along with Betsy and some of my students, to have dinner with an American family I met at church. During dinner, everyone was asked to share the highlight of their day. I said that the highlight of my day was receiving a card from my grandmother. I intentionally didn’t mention that it was a birthday card, but Betsy asked what my grandmother wrote about, so I ended up telling them about my upcoming birthday. Matt, the 9-year old son of the American couple, had made a cake for dessert, so they put a candle in the cake and sang happy birthday to me. I was really happy and surprised to have a little celebration.
The students who were at dinner last night spread the word to everyone else that today was my birthday. When I woke up, I already had 3 “happy birthday” text messages on my cell phone! I had a lot of birthday surprises all day long. In the morning, several students came to my office to wish me happy birthday and to bring me cards and gifts. At about 11:45 my friend Mot came in with tortilla chips and some surprisingly good bean/steak Mexican dip. This was really the best gift ever because I’ve been missing Mexican food so much! In the afternoon my first year students (about 30 of them) came into my office with a cake and sang happy birthday. They couldn’t stay to eat the cake, so I took it into the faculty office to share with everyone there.
Tonight Betsy is taking me to dinner at Green Leaf, which is a her favorite restaurant in Khon Kaen. This has been such a great birthday. I feel blessed to have so many people in my life who care enough about me to make my birthday really special! My friends, students, and coworkers have made me feel very welcome today.