Vacation Fail and Buddhist Offerings

Yesterday started Puchum Bun, one of the biggest Khmer Holidays. Everyone leaves the city and heads to their home province; IMG_3475

Phnom Penh becomes a ghost town. It feels odd to have the feeling of the “Holidays” around here. People are hustling and bustling around the city as if Christmas is right around the corner. Families load up in large tuktuks, vans, cars and head home. During Puchum Bun families go to the Buddhist temples and give sacrifices to dead ancestors.

On Wednesday I was getting a coffee before work and one of the waitresses and I began talking about the holiday. She then began to compare it to Christmas or Thanksgiving. In her mind all Christmas involves is families getting together to spend time with one another. My waitress is so lost. Not only does she feel spiritually obligated to offer gifts to the monks that pass by the coffee shop every morning, but she has to travel

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hours home to offer a sacrifice to a dead ancestor believing it will give her merit and a better life. She also doesn’t know, like many Americans, what the real meaning of  Christmas is all about.

Jesse and I were going to get out of town for the weekend. We found a great deal on a little hotel and began our travels. The hotel was about forty five minutes out of the city. Jesse called our regular tuktuk driver. When the tuktuk driver called to say he was “here” we went downstairs but he was no where to be found. We called him and we came to find out he went to the hotel out of the city to pick us up. We were able to laugh it off and chalk it up to communication fail. We jumped in a different tuktuk and headed out.

When we arrived at the hotel the gates were closed and a sign in Khmer read that they were closed for Puchum Bun. We booked it the day before via Agoda, we had gotten a confirmation and everything. None of the numbers were working but the gate were left open. I was determined to find someone, but as I opened the gate what I saw with my eyes was nothing like I saw on their website. Now it was only $20 a night so my expectations were not too high but

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what I saw was not even $20 a night worthy. It was flooded and run down, it looked like no one had stayed there in ages.

If this would have happened a year ago, I would have been so upset and thrown off but Jesse and I, after a few moments of frustration, were able to laugh it off remind ourselves where we live.

I am thankful for these days off because of the time I get to spend reading and relaxing with my husband, but things like my conversation with my waitress are a constant reminder of where I live and the darkness this country is under.

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Please continue to pray for the Christians in this country and that more will rise up to proclaim Jesus as the true savior.

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