Cambodia, Expat, Food, Personal, Phnom Penh

So much thanksgiving.

mmmm

Technically I am a day late posting for Thanksgiving (in Cambodia and even America). My slight lateness does not reflect how grateful I am for what I have been received this year, both tangible and intangible.

Thanksgiving 2012 was very different. I was surrounded with a few people I knew and a lot of people I didn’t. I was vaguely woozy on special truffles while carving (really stabbing and tearing at a large Dan Meats turkey) and just a few months of settling into Cambodia. Thanksgiving 2013 started with going from black hair to orangutan orange to Paris Hilton blonde to a Daenerys Targaryen grey (or so I’ve been told). I then went to good old Lucky Supermarket to pick up the necessities for a “Cambodian Thanksgiving”. Which means no potatoes, I tried doing those last year and found that potatoes in Cambodia tend to get gluey. I also couldn’t find brussels sprouts or cranberries. Oh, and I don’t have an oven (or enough friends to feed) for a turkey- so opted for a roast chicken instead with a stop off at KFC for mashed potatoes and gravy. Don’t you dare judge me, you know those taters are divine.

I made stuffing, my favorite piece of the Thanksgiving meal puzzle and sides while letting the chicken re-roast in a tiny confection oven. For good measure, we popped a bottle of $7 champagne. As we sat over our small but bountiful meal, I asked Ritchie to share 10 things he was grateful for this year. His answers were honest and beautiful and mirrored many of the things I had on my list.

I am happy, thankful, and very humbled to have celebrated this holiday in the way I did. I am gifted with so much and taking the time to reflect on all our blessings should be practiced every single day.

A few things I am very, very thankful for:

1. My warrior of a man who will fight for my honor, but would let me give it a go first. Who grows with me every day, who doesn’t allow things or people who are negative or bring us down to be part of what we have, and is one of the most talented, gifted people I know. Who is patient with my attitude that I have to harness a lot and supports my ideas and goals with wisdom, direction, kindness, and understanding.

2. My gracious, understanding, and super-fun mom and friend being here in Cambodia. The choices she has made have put her in an alarmingly fantastic place full of excitement, talent, and people with hearts of gold. I am grateful for the times she  has said “yes” and the times she has said “no”; they were the right answers for both of us. I am overjoyed for the next chapters to unfold in her life and to bear witness to the greatness she channels.

3. My friends back in the states who I still connect with on an almost daily basis. Even with the unthinkable distance, there are times I feel even closer to some. Knowing that they will forever be in my life and I in theirs in some way or form makes being far away not only bearable, but interesting.

4. New friends who have recently entered my life and I into theirs: I am grateful for their humor, trust, generosity, and loyalty. I am impressed with their stability, strength, and willingness to be transparent in a city so full of bullshit. I enjoy spending time with them, like appreciating a delicious parfait: scraping past each layer to find some other sweet moment or hidden talent.

5. The VERY exciting projects I am blessed enough to have a hand in; whether they work out or not. Even when some work can be testing, I learn new nuggets of wisdom that I hope propel me forward in positive ways.

6. The meal that sat in front of me….and not for long. Gravy gravy gravy.

7. My apartment- which feels more and more like home by the day.

8. The opportunity and gift to be in Cambodia where it teaches me lessons (sometimes infuriating ones) that I would never face anywhere else. To be in the midst of an incredible culture that is changing right before our eyes and witnessing history in the making. Being surrounded by people who welcome me into their country with warmth and charm, something very rare.

9. Having found an outlet for my angst and to unwind all while gaining muscle: the gym! This isn’t to say I’ve forgone pizza or cheeseburgers- hell will freeze over before that happens. It’s pure magic to have the ability to spend time at the end of a hard day on my rooftop taking it out on some weights or the treadmill, something I’ve never done before. Good habits are hard to get into- it seems this one may have stuck.

10. My surprisingly unwavering faith that feels like it only continues to grow. Even though I may not be the evangelical type or talk much about it- my relationship with my God is special and unique. Frustrating at times, but I have not once doubted the place He has in my life. I worry- a lot- but learn to a bit less as my understanding that living in the present is one of the biggest leaps of faith one can take.

I would say I have a lot to be grateful for…and that’s the short list.

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