09 January 2011

A very expat Christmas

I've been a bit negligent with the blog...my bad.  I'd say it's because I've been too busy, but I think it's because this is starting to actually feel like home an unnecessary to blog about.  Either that, or I've just been putting off writing about spending the holidays overseas, away from my family and the traditions and the cold weather...I don't really know how I feel about it yet.  Despite the dancing saxophone Santas and lights all over Phnom Penh, there's something about the 80 degree weather that made the holiday season surreal.  I couldn't go home for Christmas, so instead I spent the long weekend in Bangkok with some friends, relaxing poolside and enjoying the finer things...you know, public transportation, real stores, walking on sidewalks without getting harassed, etc.

It was a great weekend, but it didn't really feel Christmas-y.  More like the Disney version of it.  Bangkok's Christmas trees, light displays, and constant blasting of holiday music juxtaposed with the country's own Buddhist traditions and hyper-modernism made the whole thing take on a fakeness that I don't think even the US could do without Mickey Mouse.  But all in all, it was a necessary trip and left me wanting more of a city best described to me as the Asian love child of New York and Las Vegas.

And then there's New Years...

Getting away two weekends in a row wasn't really possible... so while half the expat community went down to the beach, I rang in the new year Phnom Penh style: KNG, PCV, MSGs and DD.  It was good times all around, complete with great friends, fireworks way too close to DD, and a giant bag of popcorn.

And now it's 2011.  I'd like to reflect on the differences between the beginning of this year and the beginning of last, but I think so much has changed that it would just be an exercise in spotting the differences.  Back then, I was a little lost - trying to settle into a new apartment, new job and a new life.  Even though I've found myself in the same situation, it seems much easier this time.  I may be far away from everything familiar, but I feel at home...something I never quite got to in DC.  OK, so maybe not *so* much has changed, just my perception of it - but isn't that what really counts?

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