I'm taking a break from my series on Indonesian women I know to tell about Evan's birthday party.
Our son, Evan, turned one-year-old on May 20. So, we had an Indonesian-style birthday party for him. We invited both our American MAF friends with kids and our Indonesian friends with kids.
We served a main course, which is customary for birthday parties in Indonesia. An aunt of an Indonesian friend of mine prepared the food so that it would taste better than my attempt at cooking Indonesian food. She made Soto Ayam (chicken soup), which is much fancier than your basic American chicken and noodle soup. It has several spices, including ginger, garlic, coriander, turmeric, pepper, etc. and uses rice, noodles, chicken, boiled eggs and lots of onions—white, red, green and fried.
The aunt brought two of her grown daughters and a couple of grandkids to help with the preparations. Instead of using my kitchen counters to prepare the food, they spread the dishes all over the floor to make the food, crouching down on the floor as they worked.
As is also customary at Indonesian parties, there was way more food than our 40 guests could ever be able to eat. We had enough leftovers to feed at least 100 more people. My western mindset of not wanting to waste food has a hard time appreciating the Asian custom of making an abundance of food for guests. But it does remind me a bit of how God likes to “waste” an abundance of blessings on His children.
We sang “Happy birthday” in both English and Indonesian, and had both an American cake (which I made) and an Indonesian cake (which a friend of mine bought for me). Evan was so cute as he made a mess of the chocolate cake. And every time I looked his way, my Indonesian friend was feeding him more food—either cake or pieces from the soup.
Evan, who is a very friendly little guy, enjoyed all the attention he got. The sugar rush from the cake seemed to sustain him as he played with his friends and his new toys. Although it is not customary to open presents during a party (you’re supposed to wait until the guests leave), one of my Indonesian friends urged me to open them before she left. So, there were a handful of guests remaining while Evan’s Indonesian friend, Nanda, helped him open the gifts.