My favorite memories of my maternal grandmother (Arpor) revolve around her birthday. I seem to always visit Thailand in the summertime when it just can’t get any hotter, and about once a decade, we celebrate Arpor’s birthday in a big way with a family reunion. I don’t know what your family reunions are like, or if you even enjoy them, but these reunions have always been a real treat for me. We feast on great food, and Arpor sits back as we perform endless acts of music* and dancing for our beloved grandma.
Flashback to 1991’s family reunion. Oh boy.
I want to share with y’all some pictures from the latest family reunion celebrating Arpor’s 90th birthday on July 3, 2010. These are mostly professional photos from the celebration in the Novotel Bangkok in Siam Square. Those who came numbered 200, making it a bigger party than my wedding. And as you’ll soon see, we showered Arpor with our love through our musical acts.
Meet my dear grandma Sumitra Boonsermsuwong, or as I call her, Arpor.
The tables were named after her kids as they were all given tables to seat their own friends and family.
This is a fun fact I love telling people. Can you believe my grandmother gave birth to 11 children?! Here they are, happily reunited. Oldest to youngest from right to left. 7 live in Bangkok, 3 in the USA, and 1 is in Hong Kong.
And here’s the entire family. Each of the 11 got married and had children. Some of those children got married and had children. In total, there are 69 of us in the family, spread throughout 5 different countries.
Some of the granddaughters join together in a hip-hop-fan dance.
My dad and Tim played Jim Croce‘s Time in a Bottle while food was served.
Singing to Arpor is a must-have act.
Three generations of daughters danced to the Girls’ Generation HaHaHa song, choreographed by cousin Jent.
A 90th birthday is well-deserving of a tiered cake and mantou tower.
Birds’ nest soup is a popular present for the elderly, believed to be a health tonic.
My paternal grandmother (Khun Ya) even came out, and I don’t know what my oldest uncle is doing, but that’s just classic behavior of our crazy uncle.
If you’re wondering where the food pictures are, then you might be missing my point. While some memories involve food, this is about family itself. If I didn’t snap this picture of the menu, I wouldn’t have known what we ate that night. I know it all tasted great, but experiencing this kind of love beats even the best steamed garoupa [sic] in Bangkok.
*Wondering why the big emphasis on music and dancing at our family reunions? My grandfather had a deep love for music and performing, having led a big band for many years, and he sent his children to music lessons. He passed away in 1997, but we continue to honor him by displaying the love for music he passed down to all of us.