I certainly have enough books to make this, but they're all in storage in Sydney. This is my ideal Christmas tree. I found the photo on My Modern Met.
Christmas is just around the corner, the signs are even showing here in Buddhist Cambodia. The Independence Monument is surrounded by lights in the shape of Christmas trees. The fountain encircling it shows jets of red and green water being shot up under coloured lights. The many western haunts around town are filled with Christmas trees and decorations.
What we don’t have here is the mad push to buy buy buy. The decorations went up on 1 December, not in October. And yes, I do miss Christmas carols (I wonder if they’ll show Carols in the Domain on the Australia Network), and the Christmas parties, but that’s ok. Christmas feels a little calmer, less stressful.
I won’t be in Phnom Penh for Christmas, I fly to Bali on 23 December where I will meet my parents as well as my brother and sister. I’m very excited to see them, it’s been nearly seven months! Although I think we will miss the tradition of mum’s pavlova (unless she finds a way to make it in Bali). I plan to learn how to surf. Apparently I managed to grow up in Newcastle without ever touching a surf board.
I know some of my friends here are missing the Christmas festivities back home. But if there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s my ability to adjust to new situations and enjoy myself anywhere.
How are you all spending Christmas?
Time for an update. Pretty sure I passed the mental health check, at least no one has called me to follow up. It was an online test with questions asking if I consider myself to be a happy person, have I ever considered harming myself or taking my own life. I always wonder if anyone who seriously had considered that would a answer yes in a test like that, but I suppose they need to ask the question. Nearly everyone in my family seemed surprised that I’d passed and asked me how much I had lied. Oh ha ha ha ha…
Physical health check done, was told I am half a kilo overweight, my doctor kindly suggested in might be that little extra bit she felt on my stomach when testing there. Blood tests done and vaccinations will be done in the new year. Time now to concentrate on Christmas! Only seven sleeps to go!
Finally, this blog now has a purpose! When I started this blog about a month ago I had hoped it would become a travel blog. Earlier this year I applied for three positions with the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD), two in Cambodia and one in Nepal. On the day I started this blog I had an interview for one of the positions in Cambodia. In my excitement I started planning my move there (I get carried away very easily) and wondered how I would stay in touch with family and friends without overloading everyone with those awful group emails. Then I remembered the blog, a perfect way for those who want to read all my goings on to do so without overloading the in-boxes of all my friends too polite to decline the influx of group emails they have no intention of reading.
But in my enthusiasm to start a blog I forgot that I had not actually been successful in obtaining the position yet. It would break my heart to start writing about the move only to be rejected. Hence the inactivity. So this week the news I had been waiting for finally arrived, I got the position and am moving to Phnom Penh in April next year! For those who would like to, you can follow my preparations here as I undergo a mental health check, physical health check, vaccinations, pre-departure training, visa preparations, and finally fly to Cambodia. Once I arrive I will be based in Phnom Penh working with the victims of forced evictions, and in the country side on a sustainable tourism project.
I have been to Cambodia before in 2001 and fell in love. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people. It is where I discovered sticky rice with mango, Chinese dumplings, amaretto, football, and a good deal of myself. The temples, one of which is shown below, are only one part of its beauty.
Finally this blog is on track…
Meanwhile, I have just put up all my Christmas decorations and am listening to Bob Dylan sing Christmas carols. Perfect!