Christmas by the Sea

They’re playing the Kmai version of “Poker Face” right now. I kinda like it better than the original.

Thank you thank you thank you for all the holiday wishes, cards, and presents! You are all the best! Aunt Shirley, I stuck those Christmas window clings on the family mirror and my little sister thinks they are the coolest thing ever (although at first I think she thought she could eat them– they do sort of resemble jellies, I guess)! And the album of Christmas music was especially awesome. I listened to Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” a couple of times just to feel sorry for myself. 😉 Mom, I gave the MSU shirts to both my families as Christmas presents and they are totally reppin’ State now. Now I just have to teach them the Fight Song. Also, if any of you sent me something and I haven’t thanked you yet, it’s possible it hasn’t gotten here yet. (For example, one of my friend’s boxes showed up barely on time, apparently sent one month ago, with “REROUTED TO LAOS” written on it. We all looked at it and said, “Yes yes, an easy mistake to make, anyone would think so.”)

So anyway, about Christmas. It was like Christmas in July here, it was really bizarre. I kept thinking, Why are they playing Christmas music? At first it drove me a little crazy, all the lights and trees and decorations, it was a little theme-parkish (and they started before Thanksgiving– hey, just like back home!), but after a while I came to appreciate it. Surprisingly it didn’t make me homesick. I only had two minor Christmas meltdowns. One was when I ate one of the Christmas cookies that my friend Taylor’s gramma sent to her. We were eating them and feeling really happy and Taylor joked, “I think I’m gonna cry!” “Me too!” I said. Then, “No really, I think I’m gonna cry!” Then we both cried and her host brother stared at us, and looked at the cookie she had given him, and was very confused. It was awesome. (Also, her little sister didn’t like the cookie we gave her, and threw it on the ground, and I ate it.) My second Christmas “moment” was when one of my Kmai friends asked me what my family would do on Christmas Eve, and I got all choked up trying to tell him about it. So much for cultural exchange. Anyhow.

The beach! The beach was awesome. Christmas on the beach was a very novel concept to me. My friends and I laid around on the sand and ate grilled octopus and drank sugar cane juice (the most delicious to date) and did basically nothing. It was awesome. That’s not true, I took a few long walks, and I even studied a little Kmai. I can read and write a little now. I know all the consonants and most of the vowels, but their vowel system is enough to put one in the hospital. I mean the mental hospital. My tutor keeps telling me, “A little at a time, one day, one day, soon you know all!” I think it’s a big secret in Cambodia that if you try to learn them all at once you’ll lose your mind. That’s why it takes kids like three years to learn how to read.

As for your holiday, everybody, I hope it was a good one. Please make snowpeople for me. Naturally they will need snowcastles to live in. And if you go to all that trouble you may as well have a snowship for them to get around in. And if you really accomplish all this, I want photo evidence! Hey, I miss snow, I’ve developed some kind of complex about it!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
Love,
Liz

p.s. so so sorry for my horrendous English. I read through a couple old posts and was like what?! I really can’t speak my native tongue anymore.

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