Whenever it’s someone’s birthday in the office, we order cake. Since Pavat and I love cake so much more than all the Lao people combined, were generally the ones to manage the whole process. The whole time I’ve been here it seems like we have a birthday every week. I don’t normally crave cake at home, but living abroad has certainly made me crave some new things. Especially since there’s a cafe here for foreigners that makes a cream cheese icing carrot cake that with make your knees weak.
Anyway, this past Friday we celebrated Andrea’s birthday. Even with the tasty cake, my favorite part of the whole process is getting everything ready. It generally brings everyone out their work bubble and all together. It’s not too often when everyone is together at the same time. Everyone was made an extra effort to come out this time because Andrea is such a respected manager in the office.
Somehow Pavath and I talked everyone into getting two cakes because they all missed Andrea’s birthday last year. Also, I don’t know how I was elected to lead the heard with Na. Pavat is between us with the goofy wave. Before they get to the top I try to tell Noy, the Lao woman at the top of the stairs taking the pictures to get Wveryone out of the other meeting room. I mostly just make a grunting noise and nodded my head. That didn’t work, especially because a Lao woman with a camera phone is hard to reel back in anyway. My brain is going somewhere between grunting, yelling in English, using exasperated tones in Lao, to insulting their mothers in Chinese. I think some Twi was eeking to the surface in the midst. I decided to use my body to speak since my brain was failing me.
At the top of the stairs I even resorted to grinning them down like Davy Crockett. Then I pulled ahead of everyone and opened the meeting room to get the last two people to join us. Everyone is now following me, thinking that I’m leading them to Andrea. When I open the door they all start to sing loudly and I turn to them at the same time I’m trying to summon the last people. They finally figured out that she’s not in there and everyone starts to either laugh or shush us because Andrea is in the room next door, now completely aware of what’s about to happen.
Even though I am happy about the work that I do with schools, days like this are what make my time here really worth it. I love to goof around with the staff and get everyone one to be together. Especially when it gives the busier people some time to join the silliness.
The rest of the afternoon people were still teasing me about going into the wrong room. Through thick and thin I find strength in myself knowing I get to spend the day working with such great people.