17 September 2009

Hooray for Holidays

Hooray. I have survived the first six weeks of school, and I finally get a break, albeit a short one.

This weekend is one of the important Khmer religious holidays, Pchum Ben, which is determined by the Khmer lunar calendar. This year it is in September, but two years ago, it was in October. Pchum Ben is the "Festival of the Dead" and a time when the Khmer people feed the spirits of their dead ancestors, who supposedly walk the earth during this time. It is time when Phnom Penh is largely deserted, as many people head out to their "home" provinces, and so the roads are quieter, and shopping can be a challenge. This can be a challenging time for Khmer Christians, who don't want to offend their families, but no longer wish to "celebrate" these traditional festivals.

So what do I plan to do with all this extra time? Well, actually, I won't have much extra time. Tomorrow I am off to Takeo Province, with my teaching assistant. The trip will take about an hour and a half by moto (or some I'm told), and I'm not sure over what sort of roads. If you're reading this in time, pray for safety on this journey. This will definitely be a stretching experience for me, and I'll admit to being a little nervous about it.

Saturday and Monday I plan to spend at school, catching up on some marking, and planning for the week ahead. Sunday I'll relax part of the day, and will lead worship (& play piano) at ICF in the afternoon. Then it's just one and a half days of school before more "holidays", only this time I don't really get a holiday. We have a compulsory staff retreat happening at Koh Kong (more than 4 hours travel by school van each way), departing lunchtime Wednesday and returning Friday evening. Not looking forward to it, but I'll do my best to make the most of it.

By the way, I finally have all my students. The last one arrived today! It will take him a while to get up to speed, but hopefully he can do it next week so everyone starts fair after the holidays.

Bye for now


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