Samana, daughter of Hem and sister of Adi and Arun, turned 13 recently and she invited us round to her house to share the birthday celebrations. Samana is a great kid and good company and her English is quite good, even though she can be a little shy sometimes. She is also the 'host sister' of Kit, Keith and Donnie who are all staying in the house with Hem and his family so we had no problem accepting her kind offer!
We had been into Thamel that day and were able to buy a few gifts - having never bought a birthday present for a 13-year-old girl before, I was a little lost for ideas, but bought her a small red passport holder type handbag which, representing the good luck envelope that Chinese people give one another on birthdays, I put a small amount of money inside. Others bought her chocolate (always a safe bet) and a dreamcatcher (brilliant idea) and we also got her some cakes and sang Happy Birthday, a truly western-style birthday!
Of course, Samana was also blessed the Nepali way, with Tikka and blessings from many of her extended family. So I guess she was quite a lucky girl to have two types of birthday! I have heard that birthdays are not celebrated anywhere near as often or extravagantly in this country as ours - apparently some kids don't even know the date, or relevance of their birthday - but it was really nice to share in this with Samana and her family. Happy Birthday!