A very happy 24th birthday

Here are 24 reasons why. Why I’m thankful, excited and inspired to be alive! And some photos from my Birthday festivities.

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1. I turned 24 on a beautiful day in Bangkok.

2. Surprised by my best BKK buds… with a beautifully crafted chocolate cake. Sat in our jammies and devoured it together. Thank you Frida, Fanny, Kathrin, Jess, Toon, italian guy, Matthieu and Susan for your thoughtfulness.

3. “Happy Birthday” sung to me in German, French, italian, Thai, English and Chinese just after midnight. Reminds me that it may be years until I am this lucky again…to be with you all on my birthday.

4. Four thai teenagers from the floor above me singing their hearts out, hands clapping and all. AND having brownies delivered to my door (which I had for breakfast the following morning). By the way I’ve never spoken a word to them! THANK YOU Thailand never letting me down with kindness and sincerity ingrained in your people.

5. Thankful for clear skies. At last! A birthday picnic ๐Ÿ™‚

6. Adorable Thai guy approaches me at dinner (not knowing it’s my birthday) with a rose..the cheeeeesiest smile, waving excitedly..and proudly announces ” I LIE YOUUU!!” what a stud.

7. Having the most wonderful companion in my life.. Lulu who has been so supportive, patient, understanding and encouraging throughout this journey. Thank you for your unconditional love.

8. Despite all the air pollution I’ve inhaled from living in Bangkok, over-indulgence in sweets and my diminishing savings; I am healthy and truly happier than I have been in a very long time. It’s quiet difficult being a woman in a society with a warped idea of perfection but for the very first time, I’m able to fully accept every little bit of me. With a light heart and a clear mind, I will gladly have another serving of mango sticky rice….extra coconut milk please!! =P

9. The opportunity to travel to developing countries. I’ve met various people who live in the poorest communities who appear to have nothing but offer everything. People who has suffered more than I can ever fathom and still carry the warmest smile and kind eyes. Thank you for showing me courage, compassion and ingenuity at its finest.

10. Having made amazing friends from all over the world. Many of whom I know will remain throughout my life. I look forward to experiencing and celebrating the unity of love in various countries. WEDDINGS!!

11. Passion. I love when someone speaks to me passionately about something, anything! Even if I may not understand sometimes…I just love the feeling and energy I get from it.

12. TRULY believing that I am enough.

13. Thankful for my physical health. I shouldn’t speak too soon but I have been so fortunate that I have not been sick (hungover doesn’t count) throughout my entire time abroad. This comes as a surprise to me because I am not exactly the most careful person. I’ve put myself in some unsafe situations like sitting with 2 people on the back of a motor bike through Bangkok just to save a buck, eating really delicious but very mysterious street food everywhere I’ve been, woken up on a remote island with countless mosquito bites, enjoyed nice beach front meals with a stray cat on the table and stray dog beneath, never questioning whether or not I should take ice with my drinks and the list goes on.

14. Creativity and the ability to create.

15. Being able to connect with my family and friends though I’m far from home. Thanks to technology for getting me through my moments of homesickness.

16. A new found liking and appreciation for Jazz.

17. The feeling of bicycling around a foreign town, completely alone and lost. This happens quiet often due to my lack of navigation skills but I like to think this has been a gift in disguise.

18. Coming to terms with my past and seeing the beauty in all the ugliness.

19. Taking a year to leave my comfort zone has been the best opportunity for me to focus on myself and realize what is important to me and my future.ย  The idea of truly getting to know and love oneself resonates with me now more than ever. I knew that I would learn more about my strengths and weaknesses by being on my own but as I take a step back and view my life as it was before, I recognize how difficult it can be to formulate and cherish our own ideas and aspirations without the influence of our surroundings. Took me 24 years to discover this but better late than never ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am feeling more empowered than ever before and it’s a beautiful feeling.

20. Thankful for eyes to see all the beauty this world has to offer which leaves me wanting more. Sense of smell which has guided me towards very delicious meals and beautiful flowers. Taste to enjoy all the exotic, fresh flavors in South East Asia. Touch of fine, warm, white sands and crystal blue waters on the beautiful islands in this country. And the ability to hear….the sound of laughter, my favorite!

21. Discovering how I can utilize my studies and ideas towards a greater cause with the power of Social Enterprise. According to Wikipedia which is hardly a reliable source but in this case it works…a Social Enterprise is any for-profit or non-profit organization that applies capitalistic strategies to achieving philanthropic goals. I’ve got a few ideas roaming around my noggin and will share very soon. Dare I say it…I have found something I want to do and it really did “hit” me…really hard in the face.

22. The happiness it brings me knowing that I am surrounded by amazing people with ideas and a collaborative attitude.

23. Traveling really is an addiction. Looking forward to many travels ahead!

24. Truly appreciating freedom. After traveling to a country such as Burma where the people are denied even the most basic rights. I now realize how fortunate I am to have the freedom to choose exactly how I want to live my life. Therefore, as a gift to myself this year, I have made a promise to me…that I will not do, speak, think, participate or encourage anything that is against my beliefs. Of course I never believed in doing things that were against my beliefs prior to this but since being alone for nearly 1 year, I realized that in the past I have gone along with the crowd far too much in fear of going against the crowd. Now I can say wholeheartedly that I look forward to the challenges ahead and frankly, I have a good feeling about it.

Me at 24. Cheers to another year of life!


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