I could tell from the start of our trip to Bangkok for our 2014 New Year’s celebration it would be the beginning of a year full of adventure, growth, trials, opportunities, and plenty of reflection. Ritchie, my wonderful mom Sheila, and I hopped onto the little Air Asia plane from Phnom Penh to Bangkok ready for five days of solid holiday to meet Ritchie’s mom, Wendy, in her transit from Glasgow, Scotland to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I couldn’t think of a more special yet understated way to begin a new chapter together.
Per usual in the city of malls and shopping centers, a full day was spent at Siam Paragon spending way too much baht and filling my body with far too much sodium through the vessel of many a McDonald’s sandwich. Our loot and treasure finds were grand, the food divine (yes, McDonald’s is divine), and the bustle of the city and hustle of people hailing from all around the world left us excited and exhausted. We had a slight hiccup after losing each other for two hours in a sea full of shoppers- which was frustrating to say the least. An excellent showing of American Hustle at a proper cinema was the cure to frayed nerves and crabbiness. We capped the night singing tunes from the 70’s with the jovial live performer, Lee, at a small Irish pub. After plenty of Baileys, Jameson, and Chang- we plodded home and slipped into warm unconsciousness for the night.
On New Year’s Eve day, Ritchie awoke early to pick up Wendy from the airport to join us at MA Hotel– a perfect namesake of a setting for mothers to meet. She arrived travel weary from a long flight, jet lag, and the shock of a different culture she hadn’t been exposed to for two years since the last time she visited. After a few hours of napping and feeling more refreshed, we roused ourselves for a delicious and intimate meal at Zalute. Over plates of bruschetta, melt-in-your-mouth Porcini scallops, French onion soup, veal, Paella, pork chop, and lobster we prepared ourselves for the coming year- chatting and getting to know each other as we dined sleepily in the quaint yet polished restaurant.
We headed to Jameson’s, another Irish pub (do we see a trend here?) to knock back a couple of cold ones and ended up spending our New Years Eve playing pool (in reality watching Ritchie school my mom at the table), shooting whiskey, and getting to know each other well through open discussion; revealing emotions of life, loss, and love. A quick, pure connection was made over the table between mothers and their son and daughter as the clock ticked closer to midnight. When the countdown to midnight ended, as Auld Lang Syne jauntily played from the stage, and silly string was sprayed about- the unspoken acknowledgment that 2014 will be a year of change, challenge, and charm hung in the air between hugs, kisses, a frenzy of photos, and an errant tear or two.