My first Thai birthday party
During my time volunteering in Bangkok with Cross-Cultural Solutions, it often felt as though I was there as a member of the community, rather than somebody who was just passing through. I found it very easy to make real friendships, which often led to new and exciting experiences.
Of the many parties, family gatherings, and friendly meals that I was invited to attend, one in particular really stands out in my memory. It was the birthday of a young boy at the school where I was a volunteer. I had become friends with his sister as well, so I was looking forward to meeting the rest of the family at the celebration. We celebrated his special day at his favorite restaurant. From immediate family to great aunts and uncles, everyone was thrilled to have me there for the big day.
The night was full of laughing, dancing, and eating way (way) too much. It wasn't until I briefly paused from the fun to look around and take in my surroundings, that I was really able to wrap my head around this simple, and yet amazing experience. There I was, in the middle of Bangkok, with a family that was so different from my own, and yet so similar. There was a goofy uncle, a doting grandmother, and a bunch of cool cousins. The love in the room was undeniable, and I am so grateful that I was able to be there and take part.