Two days ago I turned 1C. Now while most people’s immediate reaction is “WOW no way! – same day as Bilbo and Frodo Baggins!!!”, here in Ranong I share my birthday with a slightly more substantial local hero. Fr. John Larsen, the founder and director of Marist Mission Ranong (MMR), also celebrated his (36th) birthday.
Now while my reputation as a hazard on two wheels (the only one who follows the “road rules” – no one ever sees that coming) is slowly spreading through the Burmese community here, Fr. John’s compassion, generosity and dedication are literally the stuff of legend. He’s dedicated his whole self to the oppressed people of Burma for the past six years and it shows in the people who know his name. Not the governor and the police chief but those who are working in slavery, starving in their homes and dying of AIDS, the people who have nothing. It was a great pleasure to share my birthday with him.
Five things that were er… different… about this birthday.
1. I never wore more than one layer
2. I didn’t always have to retract my reply “Happy birthday to you too”
3. I was still recovering from a stomach bug so didn’t even smell beer
4. I didn’t have a big final work deadline for a big shiny new Green Building
5. Was kissed by only one woman
Below are some pictures of the celebration we had at Marist house for the neighbours as well as the spontaneous party put on by my Maths class (any excuse to avoid ‘corresponding angles’ eh?)
P.S. Due to the sensitive nature of this post, I have encoded it in Hexadecimal (base 16) I’m sure you’ll figure it out…