PNG is a collective culture. The family is much more important that the individual. Important events are centered much more on community than a particular person. The first birthday of a child is cause for big celebration, probably because he or she has actually survived the most dangerous year of life. But beyond the first year, birthdays are not traditionally celebrated. The passing of years is marked by the passing of Christmas. So if you want to know how old someone is, you would ask "How many Christmases do you have?" Even then they may or may not know.
As I reached the mile stone birthday of, well... "30-something"... this year, I rather like the idea of not keeping track of age! (If you really want to know, ask my sister and she will be happy to tell you.) But nevertheless, celebrating birthdays is part of my home culture. So my "community" and I celebrated in style.
Erin and Becky made plans for the evening, and decided they could not throw a party for Steph without some sort of theme. (I have a reputation for themed parties.)
Since all three of us trained in the Lone Star State, celebrating Texas style was only natural. The Myers family were the most excellent hosts for the evening, and their house was completely rearranged with all sorts of Western decor... cowboys, stars, boots, BBQ, and even a portrait the former president George W. Bush. Graham and Elaine, native Australians who jumped on the evening's band wagon, presented me with a yellow "rose" that was actually a yellow daisy picked outside the fence of my yard. We feasted on chili and corn bread, salad with Jeff's homemade spicy dressing.
And what would a such a party be without a flag birthday cake? Becky led us in a match of Texas trivia and we sang "Deep in the Heart of Texas." The evening concluded with a viewing of Louis L'Amour's "The Shodow Riders."
It was a Texas-sized fun evening! Thanks, ya'll, for making my day a special one.
Here is a bit of Texas trivia...
- The first word spoken from the moon on July 20, 1969 was "Houston."
- More land is farmed in Texas than any other state.
- Texas is the only state to have the flags of 6 different nations fly over it: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and the United States.
- The Texas capital building stands seven feet higher than the nation's capital in Washington, D.C.
- The armadillo is the official state mammal.
- Texas comes from the Hsianai Indian word "tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies."
"Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars."
~ Psalm 148:3