It's a classically depressing scene. Now, I'm not writing this because I want you to pity me. Actually, I'm quite alright with the situation, as out of my element as it happens to be. I just find a beautiful poeticness about it, and actually, this might be the first glimmer of Christmas spirit I've felt all season.
It's Christmas Eve. I'm sitting in a beautiful hilltop bungalow overlooking the Kep seaside. Well, actually all I see is a black abyss, given the fact that the sun has already set. I'm sipping a glass of wine, sending out last minute Christmas e-mails, watching as displaced families and couples eat their makeshift holiday dinners. Overhead, Christmas songs play. Songs reminiscent of Christmases growing up -- a mix ranging from Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You." Nostalgia sweeps over me as the tunes transport me back to drives home from the Brugger family Christmas Eve gathering, bundled up in a coat and blanket, eyes drooping groggily from food comatose despite excitedly awaiting the coming morning.
However this year, tomorrow will not bring presents. There will be no tree. No Santa. (Not even the grumpy variety.) No stockings. No candy canes. But Christmas is here. It's bittersweet, but it's beautiful. A friend of mine raised a good point. As unlikely a Christmas as we have here in Cambodia, we have an advantage over the rest of the Western world. We've escaped the Christmas commercialism and can see the season for what it really is.
This year, I'm ok lacking the material things that usually accompany this holiday. I've realized just how important it is to me to have friends and family around during this time. That is what I'm going to miss most of all this season.
So on that note, I want to wish everyone a blessed and very Merry Christmas. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers and that I miss you and love you.