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6 Jan 2011

A Kratie Christmas

A Cambodian Christmas...

Christmas Eve was spent in excited anticipation of Paul, Jeltje and Ingran arriving and it also involved me and Sam going to church at Christmas for the first time in our lives. My VA organises celebrations at his church and invited us to attend the service.

It was a really lovely morning with carol singing in English and Kmai (at the same time!), some songs with actions, traditional Kmai dancing and of course the obligatory singing from the barangs.

Me, Abi and Sam were handed microphones, ushered to the front of the 60 people gathered and we rose to the challenge and sang a fairly good version of Away in a Manger (some might say this was due to the fact I was not given my own microphone but was forced to share with Sam).

When Paul and Jeltje arrived on their motos from Mondulkiri and Ingran from Stung Treng, we celebrated all being together again with some chocolate cake baked by Jeltje, tea with milk and some Dutch ginger cookies, perfect for dunking.

A Christmas Eve sunset

At sunset, we met by the river for drinks with the other volunteers and then we all piled onto our motos and headed for the Vietnamese restaurant down the road for Ban Chao (yummy crepe type things filled with pork and bean sprouts and covered with a peanut/lemon sauce).

On Christmas morning, we were up by 6am (I was very excited, as usual*) and started the day as we meant to go on: with sparkling wine and a massive fry up. Christmas is all about the yummiest food and nicest alcohol! And the presents, of course (although in church we did learn that Christmas is not just about the presents and parties...).

*Note from Sam: "She was bouncing off the walls when stocking time came."

Sparkling wine...

A Fry up extraordinaire, Sam style

Secret Santa stocking presents from the five of us to each other

My stocking, hand sewn by Sam and filled with lovely presents!

Our first Christmas morning together...

Christmas lunch: cheese with...

...salad and baguettes! Yummy.

Dinner altogether at Joe's, the local Western restaurant

More carol singing

A note from Sam: "shortly after this photo was taken I was told to leave the restaurant and never come back by the owner because I pointed out that his spirit measures as served were smaller than advertised on the menu. (Yes, the consumer champion doesn't stop at Oyster cards and Ryanair!) Paul and Ingran have both written up the event so I'll pass over to them as impartial observers to provide the details (Paul's comes after the first block of photos and Ingran's four paragraphs from the end). In hindsight it was something of a blessing in disguise as we then wandered along the river and gatecrashed the University's end of term party. This was a highly energetic affair with lots of photo calls for me and Gilly from my ex-students..."

He's behind you!

It was such an exciting christmas weekend that I think me and Sam used up all our energy and spent the following week going to bed at 8pm every night and when NY's eve came, we were lacking in enthusiasm and ended up asleep before 12 for the first time in our adult lives. 2010 has been an amazing year for us with lots of exciting events. Roll on 2011 with lots more fun and games! Happy New Year, everyone.

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