The bride got the wedding her heart has been set on since high school. T has always envisioned a backyard type wedding and with the help of friends with a massive property, we were able to provide that for her. She always dreamed of an Indian fusion wedding so it was very convenient that God led her to marry a Tamil Indian. Her wedding was everything she envisioned - sari fusion dresses, henna, bangles and Bollywood dancing. Thank you to those who attended and didn't complain about it being outside without air conditioning and who enjoyed it for what is was - T's dream.
do, but left little time to debrief the entire experience. Our flight back was quite uneventful, which is always a good thing. We apprehensively flew China Southern Airlines for the first time and we were very pleased with the size of the seats.
Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, after our showers, we immediately set out to replace my SIM card, which had been lost in Canada. Greg was parked out in front of a booth close to our house and a truck carrying gallon buckets of cream coloured paint bumped by, spilling two large buckets of paint all over our car. The drivers got out and Greg asked them to try and clean it up. As Greg stood by, a crowd of on lookers gathered to watch the action. They got most of the paint off, but we've had to do some fingernail scraping. Our poor car in in rough condition these days. (We've had three accidents with motos, all damaging the exact same spot on the driver's door.)
The next surprise was the damage termites had done to our cupboards. Greg had realized the problem before he left and had arranged for extermination but for some reason, it had not been taken care of while we were gone. Termites had eaten through all my boxes of tea, labels on my bottles and through the wood. Worse, the exterminators had left bait and traps and I was not allowed to clean up the mess because it would scare the bugs off. So, I had to live with massive amounts of termites in my kitchen, while I was preparing food.
A large, grand, high end mall has recently opened close to our house. It makes life a bit easier as we can escape to a massive air conditioned space, park easily and enjoy coffee shops, restaurants a book store etc. It is quite convenient that a very Western looking oil/lube shop is at the mall. Instead of battling the literally insane intersection to get to our trusted mechanic, we decided it would be easier for me to get the oil change at the mall. My car has never been the same. I am not sure what they did to it, but the engine light was on after the oil change. I asked them to hook it up to find out why and 3 hours later, I drove the car home as it sputtered all the way there. Greg took it back the next day, but they clearly could not deal with it, so he brought it our trusted mechanic, at the insane 5 direction intersection. Greg and the owner of the garage drove it around and the car would NOT act up. The mechanic thought the car was in fine condition. I can guarantee you that I am going to have to battle said insane intersection to fix our struggling CRV.
Despite a build up of this craziness, I confidently declared my complete contentment living in Phnom Penh. No sooner were those words out of my mouth and things seemed to sprial downhill. It takes a lot to break me. Major surgery two weeks into living here didn't break me, but I lost it this week.
Enjoying a lovely morning with two of my Aussie friends, I either left my wallet, which I had just filled with copious cash to shop, on the grocery cash register belt or it fell out of my hands while I was loading my groceries. Regardless of how it happened, the wallet is gone. Thankfully, I have learned to keep my Canadian cards and ID in the safe. Shockingly, and stupidly, I had my Cambodian PIN on a piece of paper in my wallet with my bank card, conveniently labeled Cambodian PIN number. (I have since learned another way to keep my PIN safely with me) My heart sank when I realized my wallet was gone. Panic set in but I was able to convince myself it was just money and Greg and I could sort the rest of it out. Greg was able to get away and help me cancel my card at the bank, where somehow we were convinced to get a new VISA card through them. Our replacement cards will take 10 business days! It was very annoying to remember our son getting a replacement card on the spot when he lost his card this summer in Toronto. I was still smiling, happy that our account had not been compromised despite my foolishness in carrying around the PIN number in my wallet.
Next, I went to inquire about replacing my Cambodian driver's license. I thought it would be easy because there is a new licensing department at the fancy, new mall. How easy. Not so. Even though all of my information was in the computer and there is a record of my license number, they require a trip to the police station for me to fill out a form that my wallet was taken. Rumour has it, this will be a difficult process. There was something about the gentlemen serving me that put me over the edge. The entire experience was very unsettling for me emotionally and I cracked. I truly felt I couldn't handle another minute in Cambodia. I don't know why this one experience pushed me over the edge, but it did. My license situation still isn't resolved and will likely require help from a Cambodian friend.
That night, I cried myself to sleep for the first time in Cambodia. I posted on Facebook that it felt too difficult to live here, needing the prayers and support of my friends and family. I received that support from all over the world and I am so grateful because it lifted me out of the dark place I went. Family and friends wrote me wonderful words of encouragement and I felt the love and support I needed to find hope.
The next morning, two friends visited me, both providing the exact words I needed, having been there themselves in the past. They listened, showed genuine disbelief in my crazy circumstances, and helped me understand that Satan would like nothing better than for Greg to have to leave Cambodia because of an unstable wife. That same morning, the exterminators arrived, drilling holes through our floor tiles, literally less than 2 feet apart. The noise was unbelievable. There were men standing all over my counter with bare feet, putting termite bait on the top of our cupboards. By the grace of God, I took it all in stride. My heart was healed enough that I didn't even lose it last night when they drilled through the water pipe under the tiles, causing a leak on our main floor. In order to repair that damage, they had to take the entire tile out and there is only ground under the tiles. There isn't a nice sub floor or concrete. Nope, currently I am living with dirt inside of my living room.
It is good to remember why we need the Lord! Life was feeling a bit too comfortable with the fancy mall, affordable massages, eating out and upcoming travel plans. It is also good to remember the things we love about Cambodia, which are many. We enjoyed a wonderful night out tonight with Greg's Ratanak colleagues. That wonderful night had us eating cow brains and baby duck eggs, but that's the adventure of Cambodia.
We are looking forward to a holiday in October for some rest and relaxation after our busy time in Canada. We will be traveling to Malaysia, arriving in KL and driving to the Cameron Highlands. We will enjoy tea plantations, strawberry fields, devonshire teas and hiking before a few days of shopping in KL.
I truly thought we were totally settled in Cambodia, but the last month has proven to be worse culture shock for me than our initial arrival in Phnom Penh. Culture adaptation is an interesting thing. Thankfully, I was entertained every time I drove the car today. Instead of feeling annoyed, I was truly humoured by the foreign things that continue to amaze us out on the streets. But really, it is God's leading of Greg to work at Ratanak that keeps us here and engaged in Cambodian life. Hopefully that will remain forefront in my heart and mind when the next disaster strikes.