Happy Birthday, Snow
Time To Remember

Do you recall where we were going for a walk and who was with us before returning to the States after my second visit? Ti Ti had told you about me on my first trip. At that time, you were four years old. She named me PaPa Al. On my second trip, you were comparing what Ti Ti had said about me and what you thought.

After our time together on my second trip, you decided that Ti Ti was correct. So, you wanted to express your love to PaPa Al. As I said, I don’t know where we were walking or who was with us. Nevertheless, without saying anything, you reached out and took hold of my hand. I have written about that event as you quietly held my hand, but inside me, that silence was deafening.

I think that our walk was around noon on the day before I fly back to the States. That evening, your dad drove us to the Nyaung Shwe Restaurant. The adults in the family, your dad, Ti Ti, and your mother, sat in the front seat, and the children sat in the back seat. Fatty was on my left. I sat in the middle, and you sat on my right. As your dad started to drive to our restaurant, I took ahold of your hand without saying anything, just like you did on our walk earlier that day.

On my last visit, your parents planned our first family tour together. Talk about an adventure. I think that it was your dad’s idea for the kids to go on the elephant ride. You, Ti Ti, Fatty, and I bounced around on top of that pachyderm for several torturous and grueling hours of a death-defying ride on top of that elephant.

We fly over Bagan in a hot-air balloon, which was a lot of fun. However, after our ride, all of us went back to our restaurant and had lunch. I just need to relax and chill out for a bit. I needed to take a siesta next to the pool. When I got tired of all the work I had to do, you would fan me next to the pool.

In the midst of my nap time, I woke up and asked Ti Ti for something to drink. While Ti Ti and I discussed drinking, you continued to fan me.

During our family tour, we went to Taung Kwe Pagoda. You and your sisters stood on the boat’s bow between the two mountains singing like you were on the Titanic.

Do you remember dressing up like a Kayah girl?

I remember you at Set Set Yo.

Just before I left to go home from my third trip, you gave me a priceless gift, which you made for me. I’ll always remember that gift.

Your mother sent me some recent photos of you outside of your home. Here are two of them.

On your 12th birthday, PaPa Al wants you to remember some grandfatherly guidance. Remember that your PaPa Al sees great potential in you. You have a long list of characteristics: loving, sweet, cute, kind, thoughtful, intelligent, fun to be with, and the list goes on and on.

  1. Remember what Bobby Kennedy said, “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” Make your life based upon questioning—why not. If you do, you will be like Bobby Kennedy.

  2. Remember the importance of education. Some education takes place in schools. However, some of the best education will occur outside the classroom. George Santayana said, “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.”  You will learn a great deal outside of school in the classroom of life. Just look around, and you will learn.

  3. Remember what I wrote. “It is in giving that we get.” What you give is important to others. Helping others will assist them, but you will also receive a fortune when you give.

  4. Remember what Bobbie Burns wrote about remembering, which you and your sisters sang on New Year’s Eve at Nyaung Shwe.

Oops! I did forget one thing. I love you, Snow.