ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷 (pjammer) wrote,
ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷

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Chinatown Birthday CakeSixty, in Chinese culture, is a big deal as far as birthdays are concerned, a significant milestone that calls for significant celebration.

Until this weekend, my mom (who turns sixty this week), was under the assumtion that my brother and I were being the stereotypical Bad Immigrant Kids who forgot their heritage as well as their mother's birthday. This suited us just fine, as we were busy scrambling around preparing for a surprise dinner party in her honor. My brother had to juggle a few things to take a break from medical school in New York to fly to CA for 30 hours while I approached family members for digital photos and combed through our own photo archives to create a collage I would present to mom at the dinner table.

Thanks to my good friends Jane C and bride I got the letter scripting for the 60 大寿 characters properly drawn up, I got to work three weeks prior printing it out on red paper and carving the characters with an X-Acto knife to attach to the photo collage. Should also mention here my gratitude to badwolf for the use of his G5 Mac computer in creating the collage, I doubt my poor PowerBook could handle a 445MB PhotoShop file with as much aplomb!

Printing and matting/framing were the easy things - all they required was for me to slap down plastic. The letter-carving was the most difficult part of the present - cutting with precision the Chinese characters that would be glued to the matting. One and a half hours with an Xacto knife and countless screwups I had to throw away finally yielded the results I was aiming for. Done.

Moment of truth: I pick up my brother at SJC and show up at my parents' doorstep, much to mom's surprise and delight; we all dress up and head to Ruth's Chris for a birthday dinner. I excuse myself to the restroom to recover the collage and hand it to our waiter, asking him to bring it to our table at the end of our meal.

"Mom, turn around. The waiter wants to show you something."

The expression on her face was priceless.

Happy birthday, Mom.

Though we don't say it enough times during the year, we love you.


Characters Characters

Knife work Knife work

Almost done ... Almost done ...

Voila! Voila!

At Ruth's Chris At Ruth's Chris

Food and things ... Food and things ...

Mom, turn around. The waiter wants to show you something ... "Mom, turn around. The waiter wants to show you something ..."

Happy birthday ma. We love ya. Happy birthday ma. We love ya.

PS: I know, I know. I'll finish the 16 Essential People piece as soon as I can. Would love to open up the topic to discussion as well, but for the time being, please stop emailing me. :)

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Tags: life, photography
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