This April, I will be celebrating my 44th birthday. For many personal reasons, I am feeling many emotions right now as I write this post.
I’ve mentioned before in previous posts that I was born in Burma and lived there until I was a teenager. I still have memories of festivals and festivities from my childhood. I am happy to say that I’ve had the fortune to celebrate many of those holidays here in Chiang Mai in similar fashion.
My first return “home” was after 19 years of living away from Burma. That was in 1999. Incidentally, I was looking through our photos the other day and realized that I have no digital photos of my trip from that year. They are all packed away somewhere in a scrapbook I’m sure (ha ha this was before digital age, at least for me!) (Note to self: dig them up during our trip back to the US this summer!)
I remember that my first trip in 1999 was right after the Burmese New Year, ThinGyan, very similar to Songkran in Thailand. I was disappointed that I missed it, but elated at the same time that I was returning after all those years.
This year during ThinGyan or water festival, our original plan was to travel to Burma for a month to relive (sort of) my childhood with J and M. However, due to our decision to return to the States early, we decided to stay here in Chiang Mai for the Buddhist New Year (Hindu origin). Either way, I feel super fortunate to be here in Chiang Mai to enjoy this great tradition in person. Additionally, we will be able to partake in the Buddhist ceremonies within the walls of ancient temples here. How lucky a Buddhist am I?
Sooo– May I just say, thankfully, that my birthday wish has already come true.
On my birthday, everyday for that matter, I know that I will sleep through the night knowing when I wake up, my family will be beside me. I know that I am blessed with choices. I know that I live a free life unimaginable to many human beings around the world. I know deep down that having the opportunity to celebrate Thingyan here in Thailand is truly a blessing. I certainly don’t take that lightly.
From all of us at the Got Passport Headquarters to yours:
May your New Year, Thingyan or Songkran, be filled with love and humbleness throughout the year.
Sawatdee Peee Mai from Chiang Mai , Thailand.
Until I return there later this year, I bow my head to Shwedagon Phaya from afar!
Message to M: “To know you have enough is to be rich” ~Tao Te Ching
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