Some of you may be wondering what the title of this post means. Liebesfreud is the German word roughly translated into English as “Love’s Joy” a song composed by Fritz Kreisler. The title was mainly inspired by yet again, “Your Lie In April” where Kousei asks his mother, “Why do you always play Love’s Sorrow?” (Liebesleid) in which she replies:
“I play it so you’ll get used to sorrow.”
I was blessed with the presence of 26 friends of mine on February 6 to celebrate a significant milestone in my life and I am so happy that they were there to spend the evening with me. Even those who could not attend were there in spirit as they wished me their best regards. I gathered as many friends as I possibly could for drinks and dinner at Ray’s restaurant, Bambudda where he and his staff ensured we were well taken care of. We all enjoyed the amazing food, drinks and service which I’ll get into later.
I was lucky to have sat beside the lovely and wonderful Amy who had struck a conversation with me early into dinner service. I had been meaning to do something like this for a long time, more specifically, last year but school, work, and life got in the way. She raised the question of why I chose to celebrate my birthday with so many friends and what inspired me to do so (or at least something along these lines) I explained to her that this year, I want to make an extra effort to be more appreciative of my friends and family, to make an active effort to be closer to everyone, and more importantly, to show that I do not take them for granted whatsoever. I’m a year older, a year wiser, and you know what? Life is short. I want to be able to cherish all these memories and to move forward in life with all these people. Because I’ve already learned what Love’s Sorrow is. I want to experience what Love’s Joy is all about.
Despite the fact that I managed to round up a larger than expected group of friends out that evening, the sheer number of people who showed up already speaks magnitudes of the quality of friendships I have built over varying degrees of time. I still strongly believe that the quality of friendships are much more important than the quantity. Most people pointed out that I have an interesting array of friends consisting of varying ages, cultures, backgrounds, professions and whatnot. I like having a wide variety of friends because they are the people who inspire me, helping me make it through everyday life. They are the ones who add that splash of colour in my life. Without them, I would not be who I am today, nor would I be where I am today. I am extremely grateful and proud to have you as my friends.
More importantly, Amy had shared with me that I had inspired her and Wilson to take a different approach to showing gratitude, which actually caught me by surprise. She mentioned that ever since I sent them the thank you card after their engagement party, they too, have taken up sending cards to people. It was because a few of their friends asked them why send a card when e-mail will do? Well, it’s not so much that I don’t believe in e-mail, but it’s the impact that is made upon the person who receives the card. When you put in the time and effort, something as simple as a thank you card, sent by mail, can make the hugest difference. We often forget that the simple things in life are usually the best. And to know that I made a difference in both Amy and Wilson’s lives means a lot to me. I can only hope that more people catch on with this “ancient” craft of sending cards to people. And of course, thank you both for the amazing gift. No matter how big or small it is, I know deep down inside, it is always the thought and efforts are what count the most.
For dinner, we had a set menu consisting of the following dishes:
Scallop & Kale dumplings
Albacore Tuna Yuba Rolls
house xo sauce, pickled ginger, radish
curry vinaigrette, beef floss, winter melon
taro, fermented red tofu, lime
Black Pepper Hangar Steak
brassica, shallots, shishito pepper
Stuffed Cornish Hen
sticky rice, shiitake, lap chaong
The biggest hits were the dumplings, beef tongue, hangar steak, and the Cornish hen. Everybody enjoyed their meals and had a great time with the drinks. Ray and the beautiful and charming Charlotte took good care of us while Curtis and his team ensured the food was up to snuff. We all kept Tarquin and his right hand man busy at the bar and the recommendation to try the Port Charlotte and Great King Street scotch/whisky were fantastic. To pull of a dinner service for 27 hungry guests in such a small kitchen is a real feat. Ray kept us all busy with drinks on the house and a few snacks to keep us all nibbling away. These folks are true professionals in their line of work, no doubt about it. I have to thank Armilda for introducing me to Ray’s restaurant. For it not had been her push into the deep end, I would never have found this gem of a restaurant. This certainly was one of the most memorable birthdays to have been celebrated in a long time.
Added for hilarity.
Click on the picture to get a rile out of the inclusive banter and file name too.
Thinking back to Amy’s question made me think of both my maternal and paternal grandfathers. My maternal grandfather was an extremely popular and social man in his village. Every evening, friends and neighbours from the village would go to his house after dinner to smoke, have tea, and socialize until a good 11pm. My mother remembers having to struggle with keeping up with firewood in order to boil enough water for tea for his friends. He was well-liked and respected for his contribution to his community in its social development and economic flourish.
On the other hand, my paternal grandfather was well known for his compassion towards others, always lending a hand to help those in need in any way he could. Him and my grandmother were very well respected for their inspiration to their peers for being compassionate people. It is no wonder that when my grandmother passed away in 2006, hundreds of people went to her funeral to pay their respect to her. And no matter how far away people may be, whenever they run into my parents, even here in Vancouver, they’re always asking how my grandfather is doing and always wish him good health, good fortune, good luck, and eternal happiness. I can only wish and hope to live up to the same ideals and principles as both my grandfathers.
Furthermore, Amy’s question made me think a little deeper about what inspired me to have this celebratory dinner with everyone. I would like to think that I’ve grown up and have overcome certain fears in life. I’m much more confident in a sense that if I know I need to do something, I’ll follow through, especially for my friends and family. And I had to ask myself, “What do I hope to achieve in the next five years and onward?” You know what? That’s the million dollar question, but I can confidently say that it’s to leave behind a legacy or framework in which I inspire people to take care of those close and dear to them. Whether it’s sending them a card, or supporting a friend’s business venture, or simply clinging on to your roots, kindness, patience, and gratitude are often ignored. I was asked what my fears were and to be honest, death is not on the list. We all have our expiry date. I’ve come to accept that. What I fear more is whether or not I achieved my legacy in inspiring others for the well-being of humanity in which we become more compassionate and kind to others. And as grand and silly as it may seem, I believe that it is possible, no matter how big or small my influence and actions may be.
This year and for the years to come, I hope to experience what Love’s Joy is all about. And Amy, thank you so much for being so candid with me. You and Wilson are amazing friends and I am extremely thankful for all that you’ve given me.
P.S. – Some of you asked what gifts I received. Below is a list in no particular order:
– A bunch of amazing friends
– An amazing social dinner and evening with friends over drinks and dinner at a fantastic restaurant
– The Big Sur DVD and a 996 Porsche GT3 model kit (Armilda)
– A bag of freshly roasted hipster coffee from Matchstick along with Honey Stinger waffles and Clif Bars (Amy & Wilson)
– An Edwin Jagger safety razor and Merkur blades
– The reassurance that life is awesome when you have wonderful friends
P.P.S. – Jenn’s favourite food is Sheppard’s Pie!