Never keep your birthday a secret with those who sleep feet away from you each and every night. I tried. It failed. I still don't know how my day of birth was leaked into the IPACS House. I should have known that when you spend most of your days, weeks, and months with people who know your in's and outs, you're bound for some amor.
In the most impromptu fashion, a dozen of us headed to The Wheel of Life, a Thai vegetarian restaurant that I hadn't yet gotten my taste buds wet in. A sleek utopia of sorts among the commercialized chain restaurants and supermarkets adjacent, my mouth began to water in anticipation and my nose heightened in contact with spiced odors.
The soothing ambiance of earthly-hued decor lay in contrast to the stark, blatant stickers throughout the restaurant - "Vegetarians are sprouting up all over", "Love animals, don't eat them." 21:00 Hours meant they were kicking us out in half an hour, so acute decisions were made, servers were like human Sonic the Hedgehogs, and food was out instantaneously - hot and about to enter the stomachs of college students ready for a good fixing.
And boy was it a good fixing! Soy-protein stir fry with baby bok-choy, carrots, and shrimp-look-a-likes was exchanged for pa-nang curry on brown rice. Spicy pineapple fried rice singed the tip of the tongue, my mind and body instantaneous in grabbing the chai iced tea for recovery. Fried banana rolls, coconut ice cream, and vegan cheesecake rounded the sweet teeth. It was an all-out Thai-vegetarian food fest.
Our stomachs worked full-time tonight. As our intestines began the process, Kim, one of the restaurant owners, took some time to do what I could tell she loved to do - talk with us, her customers. Petite, yet strong, Kim reminded us to enjoy what we had now in college. Behind her glasses were eyes envisioning young adults ready to conquer the world. Needless to say, it was 9:49 and all that was left was a bunch of boisterous college students and an elder restaurant owner. It was a nice evening class - about vegetarianism and life. This time, just without the upheaval of taking notes or exams.
We departed in peace. I'm ready for the next lecture.
Much love to the IPACians,