Noe had a pensive air about him on his first birthday. Mommy hasn’t been coming home at lunchtime as much lately, but for some reason, he must have sensed today was different.
Sure enough, at around 11:30, mommy pulled up in her work rig and whisked the two of us off to her work.
We weren’t planning on anything huge on Noe’s actual birthday. The grandparents are planning a family party when we get back to the U.S. later this summer, and Lori was in the middle of working on a big proposal at work. Plus, the last thing Noe needs at this point is to be thrown in a room with a dozen or so babies and toddlers (these few months are all about keeping him healthy!). But we knew Lori’s work crew would love to see him and a small Lao-style lunch party sounded fun. So, that’s what we did instead.
We didn’t plan on getting the Mister TWO cakes for his first birthday, but really nice custom cakes are what people do here for birthdays (and far cheaper than the States). We got ours at Maya Bakery. Plus, we wanted to make sure everyone got a slice. For lunch, we got do-it-yourself fresh spring rolls from our favorite little local eatery (and incidentally, many of Lori’s coworker’s favorite too).
Noe was pretty subdued throughout the day. I’m not sure he knew what to make of it all. He was quite contented with his mango pieces, but of course Lori insisted on giving him some of the cake frosting.
We had two cakes, which meant we had to sing Happy Birthday twice. Lori led the first round and I led the second. Noe seemed underwhelmed by it all.
…but enjoyed the personalized attention.
As we were leaving to go back to the house, Lori showed me a perfectly wrapped burlap package with a bow that the women at the lunch place we’ve been going to since literally Day One here in Laos gave Noe. The three of us opened it up and Noe was very excited.
It was a very kind gesture and we stopped on the way home to drop off some cake and have Noe say thank you in person. We’re looking forward to when he can wear the outfit in a few short months.
That evening, we celebrated with happy cocktails at [yet another] new place in town: Retro. After all, what one-year-old’s birthday party would be complete without the parents imbibing in hard alcoholic beverages afterwards?
Noe suggested I get the gin martini. Good choice, my son. Good choice.
For dinner, we tried out a Pakistani/Punjabi restaurant we’ve been wanting to for a while: Jamil Zahid. No joke, this place is awesome! The real deal. Down a secluded alley, a bit hard to find, nothing swank here. Just damn good food at good prices. Places like these with a no frills atmosphere are getting harder to find here in Vientiane. We’re glad we found this place.
And, the owner (Jamil?) really took to Noe (and Noe loved hanging out with him), so that’s always a plus.
Not a typical one-year-old American boy’s birthday, we know. But Noe’s life isn’t exactly “typical,” so I guess it’s only fitting.