When I graduated from high school, exactly four kindly aunties, uncles and godparents sent me identical copies of a Dr. Seuss book called “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.”
If I’ve learned anything in the durian-filled years between now and then, it’s that life is full of surprises, and you rarely know where you’re going when you set out. Four years ago I had a birthday party at Bao Sheng’s Durian Farm. Exactly four people attended, including me and Rob. Last week, 64 people flew from around the world to celebrate durian, and inadvertently my birthday, in the first Western-dominated durian festival.
It’s amazing how small ideas grow.
And the growth – both mine and this blog’s – is most apparent to me when I look back at my last four birthdays.
Just for comparisons sake, (and to brag a little):
In June 2012, our wee baby blog got 4,667 Pageviews for the month, total.
On my birthday, June 21st 2015, we got 4,283 Pageviews on that single day.
This is the photo from that first durian birthday, back in 2012.
|2012: The First Durian Birthday Party
That’s a young tree Red Prawn in Mr. Chang’s hand, but I didn’t know that yet.
As I remember it, the afternoon ended with Chris (far right) lying giggling in one of the baskets used to cart away durian shells, while I was sick over the wall of the driveway from durian overdose. I wrote about the day on one of the earliest blog posts on this blog, Birthday Party at Bao Sheng Durian Farm.
I thought it was a singular event, a once-in-a-lifetime shebang. But then, in 2013, there we were again. This time, we were a group of 7. I wrote about it in the post, Durian Birthday Bash.
When 2014 rolled around, there was only one place I wanted to be to start year #25. Bao Sheng’s, hopefully devouring a round of Kun Poh with Jackie Chan’s Wife in the wings.
By this time, I’d met a lot of people through my blog. And so this happened.
|2014: The Third Durian Birthday
This was a big deal to me, not just because it turned out to be a royal pain trying to work out what everybody owed Mr. Chang. (As Birthday Girl, and therefore party coordinator, I was responsible).
It was a big deal to me because years before, while those Dr. Seuss books were piling up on my doorstep, I attempted to throw a Graduation party. I don’t have to tell you how badly it flopped. But I will, because the point is to demonstrate growth and change.
My Graduation Party flopped so badly that an elderly neighbor came over to check on me. My party flopped so badly that I couldn’t even be embarrassed about it because there weren’t enough witnesses. If you ask any of my classmates today about it, I swear to you that not a single one would remember the party-that-wasn’t. That’s something I thank the stars for anytime I think about it.
But. Parties are much nicer with people in them. In fact, life is much nicer with people in it.
Which brings me to my fourth and probably last Durian Birthday, the 2015 Bao Sheng Durian Festival.
I say last because the party isn’t remotely about my birthday anymore, if it ever was to start with.
It’s about durian, and it’s about people, and it’s about combining the two into a week of international awesomeness.
Well, okay, it’s still mostly about the durian:
|Jackie Chan’s Wife (that’s the name of the durian)
But people came from as far away as India and Thailand and Canada and Australia and Denmark, and I got to meet all of them and share this durian with them and marvel at how durian and this blog has populated my life with so many truly wonderful and inspiring people, and I’m meeting more of them every day.
And I can see that this little project has not only grown larger than I ever dreamed possible, it’s expanded beyond me and my ideas into a larger community of durian lovers that are making things happen and taking durian and my life in new directions and places I never dreamed I’d go.
Thank you for being a part of my journey with durian. Hope to see you next year at the 2016 Bao Sheng Durian Festival!
Today is your day,
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
*The link at the start of this blog is an affiliate Amazon link, and there it is again in case you want to buy that book for some cheesy inspiration.