Tawn’s 35th Birthday

This weekend, Tawn turned 35 years old.  Hard to believe that this is the eleventh of his birthdays I’ve celebrated.  Because it fell on Friday, we had a couple of days to celebrate this (what he considered to be a milestone) event.

Tawn and I first met in January 2000 while I was en route to Thailand on holiday.  We stayed in touch over that year, with him visiting me in San Francisco several times.  In September 2000, I returned for another visit, to help him celebrate the quarter-century mark in his life.  The evening of his birthday, we gathered with his friends in a riverside restaurant somewhere on the outskirts of the city.


A shot from Tawn’s 25th birthday.

At the time, I remember it being a loud, difficult to follow gathering as his friends were gossiping in Thai and having a good time.  While most of them had studied overseas and all of them spoke English, I was for the most part on my own.  Having just met most of his friends, I was struggling to keep up with who was who, what they did, where they knew Tawn from, etc.

Now, a decade later, most of these same people are still in Tawn’s life and most of them were able to come over Thursday night for dinner.


Four of the people from the previous shot are in this picture.  Can you tell which ones?

The friends and their husbands and children filled the house with laughter and energy.  The two children (we were missing two who stayed home), ages 2 1/2 and 3, were exploring a house that is largely “do not touch!” and there are two more children who will be born before year’s end.  Nowadays, I know who everyone is, what they do, and how they know Tawn.  It is still hard to follow the conversations, though, since the gossip is filled with inside stories, slang, and multiple layers of simultaneous conversation.

When it came time to blow out the candles, Uncle Tawn was helped by two of our friends’ children, 3-year old Nam Ing and 2-1/2 year old JJ.  Nam Ing is the spitting image of her mother, who is standing in the group shot above.  JJ is tremendously shy, although he goes to an international preschool and has a surprisingly extensive English vocabulary when he works up the nerve to use it. 

After the party, Tawn described how much he enjoys having these friends together as they are like family to him.  I keep hoping we’ll see more of them and their children, having these images of weekly get-togethers where the children learn English from their Uncle Chris as we play games and draw and learn “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and other songs.  We’ll see how that develops in the years to come.

Funny video above of Nam Ing and JJ “helping” blowing out Uncle Tawn’s birthday cake candles.

Friday evening we went with another group of friends to Soul Food Mahanakorn, a new restaurant that opened in our neighborhood just over a week ago.  I’m very excited to write about this restaurant but need to go back on an occasion when I can really focus on photographing the food.  Another of Tawn’s friends stopped by during the day with some homemade baked goods, including these peppermint frosted cupcakes that spelled out “Happy Birthday Tawn”.  The restaurant staff arranged them on some serving boards for us.

Saturday morning we received a call from my parents, who wished Tawn and happy birthday and chatted with him for twenty minutes or so.  I think Tawn, who enjoys the attention of others, felt a little overwhelmed about all the attention he received this weekend.  Of  course, next year should really be the year to celebrate as according to the Chinese culture (Tawn’s father’s side of the family is of Chinese heritage), birthdays that mark the completion of the 12-year zodiac cycles are the real milestones.  I guess there’s a few months left to plan that.

0 thoughts on “Tawn’s 35th Birthday

  1. Beautiful post that truly captures the wonderful moments you’ve all spent together. Glad you all had such a great time. And those kids are just too cute! haha. Thank you for sharing these times with us. =D

  2. I’m going to make a guess and say the two to tawns left and the lady in the middle on the right. And Tawn of course! It looked like everyone was having a good time as the smiles attest. Hope you can pull off another successful birthday celebration – after that you should be good for another 10 yrs!

  3. Aww =)  Happy Birthday to Tawn!!  It’s so true that when old friends get together they are full of nuances and inside jokes that only they will get.  On to what’s REALLY on my mind now: OMG I love the pattern on those dining chairs!!  They would match the colour of my walls perfectly.  Where is that fabric/chair from from and can you somehow ship them to me in Canada??? haha.

  4. @Passionflwr86 – @nov_way – @Sinful_Sundae – @Roadlesstaken – @ZSA_MD – @Dezinerdreams – @ZenPaper – @Texana – Thanks everyone for the kind comments and warm wishes.  It was a fun weekend and Tawn definitely felt overwhelmed by the response.@iskrak – At 2-1/2 years old, I think JJ is still a few months away from fully participating in things like this.  He’s still sitting and watching on the sidelines!  =D@lil_squirrel4ever – Thank you.  The chairs themselves were just inexpensive bargain basement chairs that we had slipcovers made for.  The fabric is from the Jim Thompson Company, but it wasn’t one of their regular prints.  Instead, it was made from the end of a roll made for some customer in England and, I’m afraid, has been discontinued.  Otherwise, I would have been happy to pick some up for you and ship it.  The print, which was available both in the green as well as a black, has a really nice Chinoisserie style to it.

  5. Happy Birthday to Tawn as well! It’s interesting, I’ve never been one for celebrating birthdays. But with dad’s condition right now, I have a different view of things. JJ just looks so adorably cute in the video.

  6. The birthday boy has the same youthful look now when compared to his 25th! Is there some kind of secret potion he has been using all these years? Oh, I guess part of that must be your good and healthy home cooking, right? ^0^

  7. Happy Birthday, Tawn! 35, what a great year! I hope you are having a wonderful celebration of your life! I wish you many, many more great years! What a beautiful special post to a beautiful special person!

  8. @icapillas – @Chatamanda – @secade – @LostSock21 – @LADYLILYTHAO – @adamswomanlost – @kunhuo42 – Thank you all for your thoughtful wishes; I have shared them with Tawn and he is kind of overwhelmed by the response.@grammarboy – Toddlers are an especially cute age, where they still look more cherub-like than human.  Another two years or so, they’ll start looking like they will when they grow up, but right now they have cute chubby cheeks and darling eyes.@yang1815 – @CurryPuffy – He hasn’t aged a day… because I haven’t given him a single grey hair!  Ha ha ha… and if you believe that…@AppsScraps – What a lovely virtual singing voice you have.  Thank you for the wishes.@ElusiveWords – Celebrate them, Matt, because we never know how many more we’ll have.

  9. Happy Birthday to Tawn!  Definitely a lot of fun parties and he bein gthe center of attention.  The video is very very cute indeed although I do not understand a word of the conversation. 

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