Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year from Phnom Penh

Happy New Year! I want to tell you all about dancing under the stars by the river with lots of children on New Year's Eve, and exploring, by torch light, a once beautiful, now abandoned art deco hotel on top of a mountain in the dead of night, but you will just have to wait until Friday. School holidays and visitors are keeping me busy. Take it as proof that despite having a cleaner/baby wearer extraordinaire each morning (I want to tell you about her too), I really am a full-time mother first and writer second. But enjoy the story below just to keep you going. Oh, and perhaps tomorrow I shall treat you to a letter from me to my farcically anti-social neighbours - just to give you a good laugh.

Here is a nice story I have been meaning to share with you. A few weekends ago, in Kampot province, we took a boat down the river to the sea. The boat man jumped out and after we all gasped and ooohahhhed we realised that it was only ankle deep. Ha ha, what a joker. We spent the next half an hour running and splashing fully clothed through the water in what felt like the middle of the ocean.

Remember that there really is nowhere very nice to run in Phnom Penh and it is usually incredibly hot. For what felt like the first time in two years we had the space and breeze to run and run and run. It was beautiful, the sun was setting and the water was deliciously cool. Jemima and I played a game where we ran away from each other as far as we could and then turned and ran towards each other with our arms spread wide, ending in a huge hug.

I will never forget the look of delight on her face, nor how alive I felt during a stage in my life where I am usually hot, sweaty and lethargic. I hope Jemima will always remember this rare moment of magic in our lives.


mandi said...

happy new year to you too! i'll look forward to hearing all about your new year and your baby-wearing cleaner, how wonderful (!)

kasia said...

I loved the story about about your daughter and you running towards each other. I think your daughter will really appreciate reading these stories one day (and hopefully your book too). I started a journal for my firstborn (and have to start one for my second now:) where I write down funny and meaningful experiences we have together. I hope to give it to him when he is older (going away to university or something of that sort).