Cambodia, Expat, Food, Personal, Phnom Penh

Birthdays.

CT bday

This week I celebrated my birthday. Seeing as it’s not the 1920s and I’m not ashamed (and hope I never will be because how ridiculous is that!) of the year I was born, I’m happy to share my age. I’ve entered a new chapter of life and hit a quarter of a century, something that makes me feel very old considering it feels like I was running around the neighborhood filming sasquatch videos and riding electric scooters with my best friend when we were thirteen just days ago. Not old in the sense that “oh my word my life is fleeting and I am going to get crow’s feet around my eyes and I am going to become a spinster cat lady”, just old in the way that I feel like the past half of my life has whizzed by me like a drone.

On my birthday, I had a regular day at work, not unpleasant but nothing too exciting and was prepared for a night at home with pizza and a bottle of cheap champagne. I’m not into massive birthday parties or huge celebrations, not since I moved away from Washington where Mills would throw me a yearly “surprise” bash- and excellent ones, at that. Instead I was treated to a semi-surprise dinner and plenty of good champagne at my favorite restaurant, The Common Tiger, with my dearest friends in Cambodia.

tagliatelle

I feasted on mushroom and pork belly tagliatelle, homemade buckwheat bread, and chocolate mousse cake and white chocolate mousse (I’m not usually a dessert fan, but if anyone can make me appreciate some sugar it’s Chef Tim) and drank stars until I started seeing them. It was a special night with special people and I am grateful to have had that moment to reflect back on in the future. My 25th in Cambodia. Things will change between this year and the next, whether in small or large ways- maybe a move from the country will take place, career changes, life changes, relationship changes, pet changes- I really don’t know. All I know is that in the past year things have shifted in ways I couldn’t even fathom and look forward to the curveballs life will continue to throw at me.

cake!

The day after I celebrated my birthday, my mother observed hers with friends in Zambia. She will be there for six weeks (I think she’s been there about four now) helping with a non profit organization and enjoying her long time pals. She will then return to Glasgow for a few days and then back to the states where I have a niggling thought that she’ll be much in the same situation as me: not knowing where things are going, but being okay with it.

We’ve always joked that I was her birthday present, gifted to her a day early from my birthmother at the Swedish Hospital in Seattle, Washington as she was the first to cradle me in her arms, but what is becoming more and more transparent is that she was truly the gift to me. Without her adopting me, I could have been in plenty a situation that could have changed the course of my life drastically. Or I could have been adopted by another family and maybe just been different in that way.

But that’s not what Fate had in mind. I was meant to be with Sheila and Hal Mischke, soon to be joined by the squealing and hyper active little sister Rachel and I couldn’t be more grateful for the years I have had with them. I have learned massively from her wisdom, her fierce compassion, bountiful mercy, acceptance of faults, strong will, and infectious personality and have gleaned so much from her that I proudly say that I am becoming my mother. Maybe with a little more appreciation for glitzy things and bountiful skin oils (have you tried Clarins Santal Oil?! More on that later) but with so much of her instilled in me.

I miss my friends from back home, and seeing their birthday wishes, photos, drawings, messages, and calls only makes me miss them more. But one thing I know is that even a world away, the day that I was born still matters to some people. I have affected them as they have me, and that is no small thing in the large scope of things. With all of the people in this massive world, I’ve connected with these certain individuals for some reason or another and from that, have been given the best gifts ever.

One of the best things I got on the internet on my birthday. From my nephew, Rex, who is amazing.

One of the best things I got on the internet on my birthday. From my nephew, Rex, who is amazing.

Happy birthday to all those who are celebrating today and make sure you take a moment to sit down, take a deep breath, and be thankful that you’ve made it another year. Not only that, but trust that this one will be grand.

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