The last month of our trip will be spent in Cambodia with the final three days in Hong Kong. As we are not returning to Canada until January 12th, we will be spending Christmas in Cambodia. Thank you to Aunt Loretta for asking about our Christmas plans.
We expect our Christmas celebrations to be very low key since Cambodia is 95% Buddhist. There are a few signs of Christmas in some restaurants and stores but those are clearly for the benefit of tourists. It seems that all faiths are accepted and there is no indication that as Christians we should feel at all uncomfortable. On Saturday we were invited to watch a Buddhist religious celebration at the monastery where we are currently teaching English and we felt very welcome and comfortable being there. Our experience in Cambodia has been typical of SE Asia: foreigners are welcome and society is secular.
Buddhism is a very passive and peaceful religion. Some say it is not a religion at all because instead of believing in an external god, Buddhist believe like the Mystics that God and all the answers are inside of us. Buddha was merely a man and is not believed to have had any special powers. Meditation is central to Buddhism. Meditation is merely a method of focussing the mind and although it is a spiritual practice it is not at all in conflict with the practices of other religious faiths. In fact it can be practiced by any one of any faith without accepting the teachings of Buddhism. There is no attempt on the part of Buddhist to convert members of other religions. In fact, the Buddha said that we should explore fully the faiths we were born into before turning to Buddhism.
Back to Christmas, though. We will likely be on the Cambodian coast, teaching English in another small town as volunteers. Although we may enjoy a special dinner on Christmas day it is more likely to be seafood than turkey. We will attend church on Christmas Eve at a Catholic church if there is one. Christmas will not include gifts this year as we have decided to donate our gift allocation to a charity in Vietnam (see Kids Can’t Wait page). Besides we will have been on “holiday” for four months of the current year. The many incredible personal gifts and experiences that we have received in SE Asia have negated any need for physical gifts.
Bissky Dziadyk Family
Travelling the world as a family since 2008.
In September 2008 our family embarked on a four month journey through South East Asia. Traveling with a child who uses a wheelchair presented its challenges, but following the Mekong River through China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam with a wheelchair was truly an adventure.
When we move beyond our fears and embrace our dreams, the Universe has an odd way of not only supporting us but giving us more opportunities than we ever imagined. Embarking on a journey with an open heart we can not help but be changed forever by the experience. Indeed it would be a waste to return untouched in the spiritual realm.
September: China (Beijing, Xi’an,Kunming, Yuanyang)
October: Northern Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong Bay) and
Laos (Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane)
November: Southern Vietnam (Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta)
December: Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampot and Sihanoukville).