This is the fourth country I’ve spent Christmas in, the tenth time I’ve spent the day outside Australia. Christmas is celebrated differently everywhere, so here are some decorations and some of my favourite Christmas videos – just for fun!
I’ve heard people here refer to Phnom Penh as a “concrete jungle” but I find it refreshing. Buildings and gates painted in different colours, coloured corrugated iron rooves, trees dangling over walls and potted plants everywhere. I know these are small things, but they’re small things I enjoy.
I’ve been studying Khmer – the ninth language I’ve studied in a classroom. These days both English and Chinese grammar feel natural to me – neither is awkward. But Khmer falls so in between that I get confused. The feeling that I’m mixing two individually comfortable but different grammars gets me all turned around!
Soon the Cambodian Stars became one of the last things packed and first things put up whenever I moved. And when I myself moved to Cambodia the Cambodian Stars came home. I hung them in my bedroom – a promise, a reminder.
The tuktuk plowed through deep water on flooded back roads. The tuktuk suddenly began leaning toward the right. So there I was, standing under an awning by the side of a small road, looking at a disabled tuktuk and listening to the rain.
I love the sound of rain on a tin roof. It’s like music made by nature and humans working together. I just let the sound of the rain wash over me. Having lived most of my life in semi-dry climates rain always seems special to me.
Yesterday was a big day – I send the first draft of the book to my publisher/editor. I had my first Khmer (Cambodian) language lesson. Finally, it was a big day because it marked one month since I arrived in Phnom Penh.
Cambodia’s Moon Festival is like China’s 中秋节 (Mid-Autumn Festival). It was fun to watch children in our street playing joyfully with lit lanterns while adults chatted and nibbled on food offerings.
It’s been a week now since I left Beijing and arrived in Phnom Penh. All in all, it’s been a great first week – a great start to this “middle” time I find myself in. I am delighted to feel so at home, and look forward to engaging in life here while I can.
At this year’s EPIC conference I had a team of 7 very enthusiastic and skilled young men to lead worship with. I also led a small group; we had a great time, with interesting conversations and some laidback silliness I think all teens need in life.
I really do love visiting Cambodia. I don’t feel drawn to live there, but I very much enjoy having a safe and comfortable place to visit. I was inspired during my recent trip to Phnom Penh so here are some Cambodia stories for you.
August is rainy season in Cambodia. There was rain most days, some thunderstorms and flooding. I love it here. It is, the perfect blend of familiar and foreign. I speak survival Khmer – enough to get around, not enough to converse.