Well, I'm 33 today...wow. Not wow, I'm old but wow, what an amazing 33 (or more like 28 yrs that can be recalled) years it's been. I grew up in a small NC town, surrounded by southern accents, people who knew me as "Catherine's daughter" from the "oriental", I mean, Chinese restaurant. With my embarrassingly large photos on the wall there, I have enjoyed helping my folks out and catching up w/ people I've not seen for ages or "since you were this big." Being one of the only Chinese families in Eden, people ask me if I faced any racial issues but I can honestly say that I had a easy-going, typical childhood and youth here. Thank you, Eden, NC.
I LOVE birthdays and make a big deal out of them. It's usually a week long...celebrating in NC and Chicago. My 30th was an event, hand-made invites, hotel gift bags...a wedding to myself in Chi-town. My 31st, my first year of Peace Corps, my cohorts and I killed a chicken, had kava, played with fire and watched the sunset.
My 32nd, I was with my village family on Paama, picnicing on the beach, hula hooping with kids and storian with my wonderful community
And this year, I'm back where it all started, full circle...in my beloved home town where I am reconnecting with and rediscovering.
I hate to admit that growing up here, I was ready to get out once I graduated MHS. But now after exploring the world and back after 7 years away, I'm seeing NC in a whole new light...in appreciation for its beauty and charm.
I didn't have a party, I didn't see any friends (just my family), I didn't even have cake but I did waitress at the restaurant, ate a delicious meal my dad cooked and drove around Eden, seeing its picturesque roads, houses, rivers and run down factory buildings (pics to come). Though sadly these decaying buildings show the demise of small towns resulting in families moving to larger cities, they were also beautiful and peaceful...a reminder to me that no matter how far and wide we go or how busy with our lives we are...that where we came from, our foundation, our support, our family and friends will help ground us and keep us going in this sometimes chaotic world.
So on the dawn of my 34th year of life, I thank my dear friends who are always understanding of my spastic demeanor and life...for sticking by me and especially for keeping me sane. To new friends and those I've met traveling and abroad...y'all inspire me to keep exploring and to enjoy the view. And last but certainly not the least, I am forever grateful to my parents who have supported and encouraged this journey. happy birthday to me :)