Celebrating Friends Across Culture

Written by Jenny Dunn, Bhutanese ESL Coordinator

The Asian culture is organized by events rather than by chronological time.  Therefore, when our foreign-born Bhutanese-Nepali friends are asked when their birthdays are, they have no idea.  Upon arriving in America, most of the adults began to write January 1st on paperwork requiring a date of birth.  In Bhutanese-Nepali culture, after reaching a certain age, birthdays are typically no longer celebrated.

Some of our faithful volunteers, Roger and Sheri, have been friends with a Bhutanese-Nepali family for five years, almost as long as that family has been in the United States. They first met in our Bhutanese English Class and immediately formed a bond. Their friendship has ranged from eating one another’s food and drinking tea together, to births and deaths in their families.

This year, Roger and Sheri decided to host a birthday dinner on New Year’s Day for the matriarch of the family, Hasta.  They also wanted to share their Christmas traditions and beliefs with their dear friends.  Hasta is one of the most joyful ladies that I have ever met. She is also incredibly smart and is studying hard to pass her citizenship test in March, which I have no doubt she will do.  Roger and Sheri simply wanted to celebrate her, and even though January 1st is not her God-given birthday, and that’s what they did.  They celebrated their special friend by singing “Happy Birthday” and eating food together as a family.

In other news:

Want to volunteer at Adelante Thrift? We are recruiting volunteers for on-going opportunities to serve once the store opens. You can see the full list of volunteer opportunities at www.adelantethrift.com/volunteer and fill out an interest form to get started. Our next Adelante Thrift volunteer training is Saturday, March 7 from 9am-10am. We look forward to seeing you soon!