Grace’s first birthday has come and gone and what a fantastic time it has been.We had a wonderful party for her on Saturday night and in typical ” no idea what to expect” style, I was just amazed at a) the effort my family went to and b)the amount of people that turned out – especially all the little kids that came ! I initially gave the wife some money and said “you look after present,cake and food and I will look after the beverages, ice and charcoal etc”. As alot of my freinds were out of town, otherwise engaged or just too rude to turn up, I told Leakhana that there would probably only be about 25 people. Ha. Wrong. I forget that personal invitations turn into clan invitations ( and I have absolutely NO problem with this as it makes for great parties ) and the party crowd soon swelled.
On Friday afternoon I tuk tuk’d some tables home from school and then helped Veasna hang some lights on the bamboo trellis and then we had a small meal with Nek,Pek and Veasna. The entire day ( Saturday ) was spent preparing for the event. Motos and family members came and went all day like bees entering and leaving their hive. All family members were assigned duties by Leakhana like a General mobilising the army. Floors and Toilets were scrubbed and cleaned, fresh produce for the feast was bought at market, the local beer shop got three visits for Zorok and ice and balloons were inflated. Ther garden was trimmed and lit and come 4pm we were all ready ( if not a little exhausted )for Grace’s very first birthday party.
Mark and Srey Touche were first to arrive at 5pm and we sat down to watch the Bledisloe Cup.After losing 10 cases of beer to Mark on the first match, I sheepishly settled for a one case bet. Half time we were looking good however the full time score went a point the kiwis way so yet again I lost out BUT it was a bloody good game of football that resembled 80 minutes in the UFC Octagon. 10 blood bins and a few broken noses later and the boys from both sides must have been very sore indeed.
It was then on to the serious business of Grace’s party. Around 6pm people started arriving…and arriving….and arriving….and arriving. They were coming out of the walls at one stage and many arrived with lovely big presents all wrapped up for Grace. Kids played pick up sticks and Jenga, teenagers drank beer like it was water and adults mingled and enjoyed the fine fare. Leakhana and I had absolutely no time to eat as were too busy ensuring everyone was looked after and thankfully, by 9pm the crowd thinned out with many tired little kids having to go home to bed. This left a core crew of regulars ; Jeff, Easyrider,Mark,Touche,Phalla and Tra, Lyn and friends, Srey Neung and friends,mum, Nek,Pek,Veasna,Danay and a few others. The cobra juice came out again and we all had a great natter and a solid laugh.It was then off to Memphis Club for a dance to some live music and finally Heart of Darkness.
So the party was a huge success and I must thank my amazing wife for her tireless work and her family for their incredible support. Thanks also to everyone who came and bought such lovely gifts.It was a great moment for Grace and we can’t believe the first year has gone so quickly.