The holidays this year were probably the most un-holidayish holidays since we’ve been here! It was a bit disappointing, but it was fine! The church had our Christmas party on Christmas Eve. So we were gone most of the day getting ready for that. It was different than any other Christmas party we’ve had.
We decided we were just going have it for the church people to keep it small. Well, I got there in the morning to help with preparations. And apparently a couple of the people from the fishing village let the word spread that we were having a party. There definitely was not just church people there. I didn’t think I knew half of them! But that’s just Cambodia for you.
They made a new kind of soup for the meal! It is pretty much a conglomeration of lots of stuff! It has vegetables, noodles, pork, sausage balls, and crispy garlic to name a few. Then you pour your broth over that and add additional toppings and sauces to it if you want! It was delicious.
After the meal, we set up a bottle roll game for the adults. That was entertaining! We put tape down onto the table and put a something between each piece of tape. They had gifts, soda between the tape. But for a twist, they put in a couple pieces of chili and some slices of lime too! For a while people only landed on the prizes, but finally a couple people landed on the chili. Everybody would just nibble off a bit of the chili. Poor Austin though, didn’t know and he was going to be a good sport about it. So he popped the whole thing in his mouth! He made a face and coughed a bit then rolled again. It landed on the chili again. Everyone told him that he doesn’t have to eat any more since he already eaten more than everybody else combined! He said he had a stomach ache for a while after that…
Christmas day was, well, disappointing this year! Right after breakfast, Some of the Khmer guys asked if they wanted to go cast net fishing. They thought they’d be gone for a while, but be home in time to do something with the family. They left, then called and said that a couple of the ladies were going too, and that we could go along to if we wanted. Carissa and I decided to go on the moto with Pon and Sok after we did some of the housework. They ended up not being ready to go till after lunchtime! We finally headed out around 1 o’clock. We drove on the highway for a while and then turned off onto a smaller road. After some confusion, we finally found an even smaller road to turn onto. It was a path really, not made to be easy to drive a moto on! I could just imagine myself losing control of the moto and either sliding down the bank into the water or laying the moto over into the rice fields. Thankfully we made it without any accidents.
Once we got to where everyone was gathered, they were just getting ready for lunch. We had whole grilled fish, rice and several dipping sauces. I ate a couple bites of the little tiny fish with all the bones in it. They were good. But I decided it would be easier to just eat rice with the sauce than trying to chew the bones well enough to swallow!
After lunch, we washed more 2-3 in. long catfish and put them onto skewers. It wasn’t a necessarily enjoyable task, jabbing the skewer in through the gills and out of the eye socket. For every couple that I’d do one of the eyes would come popping out! And if you aren’t careful the catfish barbs jab you back. And let me tell you, it’s not a very enjoyable feeling!
Finally, around 5 o’clock, they were ready to go home! We made it home an hour later. Both the daylight and our time to do something with the family had disappeared. That fact put some people in a very un-christmasy mood! There was nothing we could do to change it though. So we had pizza for supper and by the end of that, most of us were in better spirits. We made up for it the next day with a good Christmas dinner and holiday snacks in the evening.
Since soon after we moved here, we have come to realize two areas that the Khmer people are very different from Americans are being on time and actually giving invitations! We had no idea what we were going to do on news years eve because of it!
We had been hearing all week that Goy’s were having a new years party, but we had no idea if we were invited or not. They’d talk about it around us. And some of the stuff they said made it sound like they were planning on us but other stuff made it sound like they weren’t! We were invited to two other christmas/new years parties, but also would have enjoyed spending it with just us. Since goys are from our church, we wanted to make them the first priority but we honestly didn’t know what was going on! Finally, the morning of the party, Pon did come and officially invite us. At least we finally knew for sure now!
They killed one of their pigs for supper. I absolutely love their grilled pork! After everybody was stuffed and the dishes were washed, Chhum informed dad that he could share some scripture now. Dad had no idea they were planning on him sharing, but he found a passage and shared it. They had just assumed Dad would be doing it and didn’t bother saying anything to him about it! After that we song a couple songs. Chhum was finished, but Mum asked if they could keep singing. So they did! They sang the rest of the evening! As the evening wore on, the singing changed from enthusiastic singing, to barely getting the lyrics out! I was relieved when it was almost midnight. We had a prayer welcoming in the new year, we headed home and slept very very good!
So, that’s how our Holidays went. Definitely different from at home, but we can still enjoy being with the ones we love even