Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you had a happy Christmas. 

Before Christmas, and after my wonderful trip with Saint Francois B&B, a priest asked me if I wanted to go to Kampot. This time, I made up my mind to go to Bokor Mountain (I didn’t get to go there last time when I was in Kampot). So I told the priest that I’d join a local tour to the mountain. To my surprise, he said, ‘No need. I will have a Mass in the community around that area. We will go past Bokor Mountain. After the Mass, we can go there and climb the mountain and then come back to Kampot.’ WOW!!!! My heart jumped with excitement and with thankfulness. I really didn’t expect that.

So, I got to visit Bokor, finally. πŸ™‚

Such a scenic ride (but the road to the mountain is actually very winding)!
We went past a statue of a Buddhist nun.
We arrived at the church.
The priest told me, in the past, some priests lived here too.  If you read any travel guidebooks, you will notice that they all call it ‘ruins’. But if you go inside, you will also notice that the walls inside the church are being repainted. The priests have also put statues of Jesus, Virgin Mary, Joseph,… However,…
A week or two before we went there, some people vandalized the church.

It was a sad moment when we saw that. An Australian volunteer that I recently met asked if it was done by some drunkards. But the damaged areas were so precise that it couldn’t be done by someone who was drunk.  Only the faces were smashed. Some icons were stolen too.  The priest told me the church was being repainted recently.  But some people painted graffiti on the newly painted walls. Who would have done all these? Do they know what they were doing?  It wasn’t the statues that they smashed. It’s love that they smashed.  Only people who have too much hatred within them would do this.

We prayed.

As we drove down the mountain, two large cranes (I think they were cranes) flew right above our car.  When the first one flew out of the forest and appeared above our car, we screamed in awe. We even forgot to take pictures. Then the second one followed. They flew so low. The priest said as he drove the car, ‘Pictures, pictures.’  But I was too slow.  That scene can only live in my memory now. The priest later said, ‘I have been to this mountain a few times but had never seen this before!’

Back to the college, students were busy preparing for the Christmas party. Like in many other countries, they sang, they did drama and all of us received Christmas presents at the party. I received a scarf and surprise surprise! I was thinking of buying a traditional Cambodian skirt and guess what else I got? That’s right. A traditional Cambodian skirt! The teachers taught me how to wear it too.

Students prepared these puddings for the Christmas party.
Students were decorating the stage.
A drama at the Christmas party

It was also my birthday before Christmas.  When a Christmas party was held in Phnom Penh when I was there, a huge Christmas cake was served. Some people sitting next to my dining table served the cake and sang a birthday song. At first, I really thought it was someone’s birthday but it turned out that they were just doing it for fun.  Then the seminarians started doing the same at our dining table. After they sang the birthday song, I said to one of them, ‘it’s really my birthday in a few days.’  He said, ‘oh, we need to sing it again to you.’ They started singing again.

But wait, there was no candle. What should we do?  Here’s how:

That portable gas stove replaces the candle. LOL!!!!!! 🀣🀣 One of the seminarians said, ‘blow the candle!’ LOL!!!!!!!! 🀣🀣

That ended my adventure in Cambodia.  πŸ˜€

It was a memorable one. I went through ups and downs like a roller coaster ride within just seven and a half months. I met numerous nice, kind and generous people along the way. I had gone through loneliness (without even noticing it) and frustration but in the meantime, had received loads of love and encouragement.

I know that’s not the end.  

Who knows when I will go back? πŸ˜‰ And who knows where I will go next?  πŸ˜‰

So, stay tuned. πŸ˜‰

5 thoughts on “Merry Christmas!

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