- a comfortable, safe, secure, dry (well mostly) place to live;
- plenty to eat (too much in fact sometimes);
- a comfortable bed to sleep in;
- a great job working with delightful kids;
- a family that loves me;
- friends; and
- above all, a God who cares about everything that happens in my life, knows me through and through, and loves me beyond anything you can imagine!
Earlier this week, two of the girls in my class came to me and said, "Ms Karen, we didn't give you a birthday party last year, so we want to have one for you on Friday. Please can we do it?"
"But my birthday's not until January!" I replied.
"But we didn't have a party for you last year, so please can we do it on Friday?" was their passionate plea.
How could I say no? Actually it was reasonably easy to say yes, because I knew two of my students had birthdays coming up - one today and one tomorrow, and having taught them both last year, I suspected a cake would arrive for him sometime during the day, so it made sense to have a party this afternoon. So I said yes, and they gathered some support from their friends and this afternoon they had their party.
After lunch we packed up the classroom, and headed downstairs, since I don't think it's fair on the cleaners to party in the classroom. The children collected their goodies, and I collected Vitu's cake from the office and we started to get organised. First of all, I organised the children for a game of "Cat and Mouse", which they just love, starting off with the birthday boy and girl as the cat and mouse. Then we gathered around and tried to light the candles, failing miserably, so sang "Happy Birthday" anyway, then cut the cakes. Here's some snaps of the cakes before we cut into them.
So Vitu and Whattey enjoyed a special treat for their birthdays, and I was privileged to be so loved by my students. They had also made some cards for me, which I unfortunately left on my desk at school, but they were equally precious and I'm looking forward to reading them again sometime soon. So I had an extra birthday this year, but I refuse to become another year older until the end of January 2012!
Now that's enough to make a teacher feel pretty special, but then something else happened this afternoon which was equally blessing. The postal system here in Cambodia is somewhat different to that in Australia. If something is addressed to a post office box there is a fairly good chance that it will arrive (although that's not always the case). In the event that a parcel is sent, several things might happen. First it might just get put in your box (if it's small enough), and you get to discover it when you open the box. That has happened. Alternatively, it may just get sat on the counter, and you need to check the counter regularly just in case something has come in. Sometimes there will be a slip in your box to tell you it's on the counter, sometimes not. Then, they might decide that they need some revenue, and in that case, you will get a yellow slip, with a price on it that you have to pay, in order to collect the parcel. That's what happened to me this week.
The guy whose box we use found a yellow slip in the box, and so he dropped it into the school office so I could go and claim the parcel. I finally managed to do that this afternoon. Well, it took them a while to find the package, and when she finally handed it to me, it was alive! Yep, it was crawling with ants. I'm not sure whether they were Cambodian ants or Australian ants, but they were definitely alive!!! The parcel was addressed simply to Karen K, and since I'm the only Karen who uses the box we were fairly sure it was for me. Well, I opened it in the Post Office to do my best to get rid of the ants. What I discovered was a card in an envelope and a small package of crystallised ginger! Unfortunately in ridding the package of ants, I inflicted further damage on an already injured finger, accidentally bursting a lovely big blood blister on my first finger of my right hand. That's OK. It was messy, but I found a packet of tissues and a bandaid to solve that problem, found a zip lock bag to put the package of ginger into (I was fairly sure I'd got rid of all the ants by that time but I wasn't going to risk it otherwise), put the card and envelope in my backpack and headed out to meet two of the Khmer staff from school, so we could check out a field trip possibility for the students. From there, I headed off to my tutoring job, and finally got home around 6pm.
While I was eating dinner I finally had a chance to open the card. I should mention that when I got the package, the senders details were limited, but I thought I knew who it was from. Well, when I finally opened the card and read it I was blessed to discover that this sweet package, and note had come from someone I don't actually know. This person has been reading my blog, courtesy of a mutual friend, and had taken the time, and effort, to put together a special package for me. Sharon B., I discarded the post pack at the Post Office because of the ants, so I don't have your address, but please know that your thoughtfulness was greatly appreciated, and gave me a special thrill! I will enjoy the ginger! Thank you!
What a blessing this was. It may seem like a small thing, but the thoughtfulness of it was a big thing for me. We do not know how the little things we do impact on other people, but doing small acts of kindness can bring big blessings! Who can you bless today? I'm not asking you to bless me. I've been blessed beyond imaginings. Now I'm thinking about who I might be able to bless in a similar way! Thanks again, to Sharon, and also to our incredible God for his awesome blessings every day.