About midway through our island homestay, I was invited by my host-sister, Linda, to a party. I was so excited that I not so calmly said yes and soon we were off on our bikes in the dark, headed to another village on the island.
It was a birthday party and while some people were completely unfazed by my presence, I did feel a little bit like a celebrity amongst the other Khmer kids. Before the party actually started, though, I mostly hung out with the vast number of kids shouting at me, “HELLO! WHAT IS YOUR NAME!?”, never really expecting an answer.
While the other birthday party participants snapped selfies, I joined the kids in photobombing them. After we sang to the birthday girl (in english), a 19 year old who was recently engaged, individuals came up to the front of the festivities and gave the girl good wishes.
The next thing I knew, I was thrust in front of the expectant crowd. I knew I could say anything and no one would really understand anyway but, drawing a blank, the only thing that came up was something along the lines of “Uhh, I hope you have a good 19”, like that actually makes any sense at all. They all loved it. When the cake was sliced, the birthday girl went around feeding everyone a piece off of her plate – including me!