Birthday Blessings, Baby Elephants and Boxing

Ordinarily, I don’t like to celebrate birthdays. Long story short, I have had multiple years in a row of disastrous events occuring on, or during my birthday celebrations, so I waved the white flag and gave up. This year is totally out of the ordinary though, so I decided that this was the year to start celebrating again. Yesterday I turned the ripe old age of 29. Mentally I feel young and free spirited, but physically (and after a few years of full contact sports) I feel much, much older! I was determined to make a day of it so I began by heading to the Big Buddha. The Big Buddha is a popular tourist attraction. It is exactly how it sounds, a larger than life Buddha atop a mountain in between Rawai and Chalong. It is a  remarkable landmark, not only for the Big Buddha, but for the views. Here you can purchase a variety of local art work, souvenirs, jewellery, and you can even purchase parts of marble (which you can have a message inscribed on) to add to the construction of the Big Buddha. 20140213_110211 Despite all these wonderful things, I came here for another reason – I came to be blessed by a Monk. Being blessed by a Monk is not for everyone. Some tourists just enjoy watching the process. For me, visiting temples and shrines have always provided me with an odd sense of calm. There are different ways to be blessed by a Monk and different donations and offerings that are accepted at different places. Here, you can provide a monetary donation of your choosing. You kneel in front of the Monk (trying to stay at a level lower than the Monk) and he says a prayer for you as he ties a bracelet to your wrist. The bracelet (or charm as some people refer to it as) is to provide you with luck. He continues to bless you with water and cuts the ends of the bracelet. For me it was a beautiful way to start my day. 20140214_075059 On my way back down the mountain, I found a happy little baby elephant. Now unfortunately a lot of places in Thailand do not always treat their animals with love and care. Because elephants make for such a wonderful tourist attraction, many places only view them as money makers, not animals. Some places it really shows. This little lady, however, was very happy. She interacted freely and willingly with tourist and her keepers, and there was not a barbed stick in sight. Monies donated went towards providing food and medicine for elephants. She really made my day. 20140213_111509 20140213_111527 20140213_111546 Following this I headed to meet with my training partner at the local raw cafe for some ‘cake’. Chocolate Cheesecake to be exact. We had been drooling over a photo of this cake for about a week and decided my birthday was the perfect way to try it out. Despite being raw, gluten free and vegan friendly, it was one of the most amazing cakes I have ever eaten. If you are in the Nai Harn/Rawai area, I strongly advise you to check this place out – http://www.atsumirawcafe.com/ 20140213_115136 Following this I decided to head in to training. Seeing as I had just fought 2 days ago, I decided to do some boxing for fun. I had such a great session, my trainer is a hoot – cheeky – sometimes annoying – but all in all I love the dude. And if this wasn’t enough, I finally got to see a sneak peak at the video from my fight! I can’t wait until it’s all done and up on the website (blog post to follow). 1229800_592973244078227_248253860_n To cap off an already wonderful day, a few of us went to one of the local Thai BBQ’s where we ate until we could not eat any more. I caved and ate some ice cream (damn you all you can eat ice cream!), but am back on track with my food today. Gotta have some treats sometimes I guess. Thank you to all my wonderful friends and loved ones back home – I could not keep on top of my Facebook yesterday with all the wonderful messages from home. And to my new island friends, thank you for helping me make my birthday so very wonderful.  This is one happy lady who will be celebrating her birthday’s from here on out!

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