2021 was a pretty crazy year for my wife and I. There were a lot of major milestones. So here is a timeline of how it worked out.
10th – arrived in Cambodia. Began 2 week quarantine.
24th – left hotel quarantine and was picked up by Vitou. Arrived in Vitou’s new house, ready for a blessing by his church and an impromptu party.
30th – Went to the province to catch fish and duck for Vitou’s house warming party.
31st – Vitou’s housewarming party.
6th – My birthday
12th – My motorbike got stolen outside a friend’s house. I had to go to the police station (accompanied by three Khmer friends). There were so many mosquitoes there.
18th – Khmer wedding number 10 (I think).
20th – 22nd – my organisation’s prayer retreat in Kampong Thom.
This is also the weekend that it was announced that COVID-19 was finally moving through the Cambodian population.
4th – Kristi arrives into Cambodia.
19th – She is let out of her quarantine very late into the evening.
Kristi and I got engaged.
We went to Olive & Olive, a favourite Mediterranean restaurant of ours. I popped the question. She said, “I’d like that very much.”
25th – engagement party, where we only managed to get very bad, hot sweaty photos.
24th – I baked Kristi some scones, so she could actually experience them.
Then the first lockdown in Cambodia was announced. It was chaos.
16th – Kristi’s birthday!
22nd – Went to Silk Island with the staff at LEC
23rd – Kristi and I signed the rental agreement for our first marital home.
6th – Vitou and Sophy’s anniversary party.
Got married online (our first wedding!)
Had our wedding ceremony (streamed on Zoom)
Yes, it was just 4 months after we got engaged! No wonder we were so tired afterwards.
Honeymoon in Kratie
Where we went on a boat trip and saw Mekong dolphins.
Had a celebration meal provided by Kristi’s organisation.
Started new roles as New Member Supervisor and Language Learning Supervisor
Enjoyed setting up our new home together.
We completed a ‘Cambodia Week Challenge’. We had only use Cambodian markets, shops and cafes. It actually really helped us grow in confidence in doing things the Khmer way (without Cambodians holding our hands) and using our language skills.
4th – We had a little staycation in Phnom Penh… mainly because we both wanted a hot bath. The hotels here are cheap and nice!
Started 2nd year of my masters degree in Missiology.
18th – We had the staff from LEC (our Khmer school) over for dinner.
28th – Kristi fell off her motorbike and cut her left leg badly. Fortunately, there were no broken bones.
I got elected as future leader of the Cambodia branch in my organisation.
30th – We took Vitou’s children to the Phnom Penh Safari Zoo. I didn’t get a photo, but we did see a keeper in the tiger pen. He was stood there next to one of the tigers… in the pen. I often think about it.
19-20th – Went to Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem with Vitou and his family.
24th-28th – Went to Siem Reap, this time for work.
12th – Had some friends, including teachers from LEC, over for a Christmas party.
Christmas Day – we had Vitou and his family over for Christmas dinner. It was almost a repeat of the above (we had hoped to have ham). Vitou’s daughter was so excited and she just loved the ornaments on the Christmas tree.
Looking back, it really has been an amazing year. Of course there were some difficulties and low points, but overall we’ve had some pretty amazing experiences. I know that many people have had a difficult 2021; COVID-19 is still making many people’s lives miserable.
I will hopefully write a post that is more of a reflection on 2021, which will perhaps include more of the emotional rollercoaster that we experienced during this time. However, I will give a teaser and just sum up the things I am most thankful for. First, it is Cambodia. I just love living in this country and it is a blessing to be here. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it is the people. Friends and family, both in Cambodia and other countries, contributed massively to the joy that 2021 has been. So, if you’re reading this because you know me, that probably includes you too! So, thank you.