My birthday last year seems so long ago. Those few days of celebration were full of so much laughter and warm company. Jack, Jen and Ryan flew into Portland. Mami threw me a pizza party, which was soon followed by debauchery. I was surrounded by friends and family the entire time. It was the last week before I left Portland, a week of Chef's tastings at Park Kitchen, a visit to the grilled cheese school bus on NE Alberta, and not enough packing of boxes.
This year, my birthday was markedly different in several ways, quieter and more secluded than most that have punctuated my life. There was still laughter, still warmth. My former American flatmate whisked me away to an undisclosed location, which ended up being sleepy Kampot. And, among acquaintances (since Cambodia is so small), we spent the three-day weekend at Les Mangieurs (The Mango Trees, in French), enjoying the view of river from our perched location, traipsing about the small town for baked scones or Sri Lankan treats, and perusing the offerings at the local bookstore, which, in its one-room stock, blows away most bookstores in Phnom Penh. I picked up a Naipaul and another Kapuscinski.
The weekend flew by in a hazy blur.