Along with riding water buffalos, we've been having a great time getting to know our new MCC co-workers in Prey Veng, Michael and Lisa. Saturday consisted of a trip to Monkey Island, fresh-pressed sugar cane juice, and the obligatory Prey Veng biking shots.
We finally took the plunge...and moved into a new home in Prey Veng this past week! We feel blessed by the last place, though it was bigger than we wanted/needed, and the nightly karaoke was just a little too, well, nightly. But our new home is already feeling like home...and is just about ready for visitors. So make your plans TODAY : )
More pics coming soon, but here's a view from our balcony. Which looks out on a school yard where cows graze, and tiny tikes come running in their flip flops each morning. Which, if you cross through the school yard, is where our good friends Mok and Seiha's new house is! Yay!
I'll admit, I anticipated my family coming to Cambodia just about every single day since we arrived last February. And now it's already come and gone...with approximately 500 photos (at least. per family member.) as memories. I couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity to introduce Mom, Dad, Naphtali, Nathan and Ella Grace to our friends and our life here. This Christmas was one of absolute joy!
I loved my watching my niece, Ella Grace, in Cambodia. First of all, she's insanely adorable, and already has the most fantastic sense of humor. But something I wasn't expecting was the way she made me see bits of Cambodia through new eyes.
I've honestly struggled quite a bit with figuring out how to make friends here. It's not a surprise - it's a new place. Everyone says it takes a while here. (And maybe I'm too hard on myself in general.) Anyway, I've only realized recently that a big part of feeling on the fringe here has to do not just with our nationality, but also with us being a practically-middle-aged couple...without a family. Family seems to be absolutely central to one's identity and social life in Cambodia. Without it...well, it's just hard to fit in.
And so Ella Grace comes to Prey Veng. I've never had so many people talk to me. Ever. For the first time, my eyes were opened to see how absolutely loving and close families are here. Families absolutely include...despite my tendancy to sometimes feel excluded.
As we biked around town and celebrated Christmas with our church, scores of folks gathered around to take photos or squeeze Ella Grace's chunker thighs or position their little one to kiss our little one on the cheeks. And then I noticed: it's not just Ella Grace. Cambodia LOVES babies!
It's something to celebrate. Along with growing friendships!
We celebrated this New Year (which required staying up several hours past our Cambodian bed time) with great friends, delicious food, a lit tree, and a movie under the stars. Twas also a farewell to Daniel and Amanda as they head off to Bangkok to birth our newest MCCer! : )