My niece Tini turned 15 yesterday and we celebrated her birthday today. She said, I wish I were from South America so I can celebrate Quinceañera and wear those puffy dresses. She went to one of her friend’s Quinceañera a few months ago and fell in love with the tradition.

As the only child to her parents, Tini has almost everything she wants and needs. But can you imagine that she was in full excitement mode when I gave her a Starbucks gift card? Two years ago I gave her two tickets to her first One Direction concert and she showed the same expression.

IMG_6895.JPGThe cake filling was made with durian. O had to block his nose because it smelled like gas.

IMG_6898.JPGThe boys only wanted the creamy frosting on the outside. They were also smitten with Tini’ friends.

If my memory serves me right, the year I turned 15 coincided with the the Great Halloween Blizzard of 1991. We stilled lived in that dilapidated house on 27th street crossing Cedar Avenue that we rented less than two years prior upon coming to America . That morning my mother and I took two busses to get to the nearest supermarket on Lake Street for some grocery. I did not have proper winter gears and vividly remembered the tingling sensation of my feet walking on slippery and sleety pavement. It was painful. The snow started falling very lightly but unbeknown to us, that was the beginning of a three-day nonstop snow storm. We did have an old TV back then and but had no idea about watching for weather forecast or warnings. Luckily, we got home before the heavy snow started enveloping and swallowing up the city.

I think my mom still have some photos of us that our sponsor, Mr. D, took when he came to check on us after the snow winded down. In that photo, my two younger brothers and I climbed atop and small mountain of snow that accumulated on the side of our house.

What a memory for my 15th birthday. I wish I remember more details of what we did while staying inside for three days. But if I am dating back to those early 90s years, I am certain that my brothers and I were watching Hong Kong dramas, and probably marathoned at least two series, all were copied on VHS, with bad qualities.

And I am sure we also ate a lot of instant noodles, Mama brand and of Thai spices flavor.


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