a few weeks back, i had the pleasure of attending my second official independence day celebration. last year, independence day was the first official holiday i celebrated at my permanent site (we'd celebrated pchum ben with our training host families) and i remember trying to soak it all in and straining to understand the story of cambodia's independence that was blasted from a speaker.
last year, i also showed up to school at my then-normal time- 6:55 am- because i'd been told the celebration would begin at 7.
ah ha ha.
this year, i knew to sleep in a bit and instead join my fellow teacher trainers and our trainees at the independence monument around 7:45. i avoided forty five minutes of standing around and needlessly walking from our campus to the nearby monument.
this year, i parked my awesome bike next to all of the city's policemen's motos, and fell right in with my fellow teacher trainers, who were just heading to line up.
the story of cambodia's independence was told- how former (and the late) king norodom sihanouk secured a peaceful independence from france in 1953 and how cambodia had enjoyed an illustrious national history for the last 59 years.
monks prayed, incense was lit and offered by the VIPs. finally, doves were released, as were balloons.
this year, we went all out for balloons- they were angry birds balloons!
the whole crowd was lit up with giggles as they noticed it too and camera phones came out to capture our province's angry bird balloon celebration of cambodia's independence.
by 8:45, i was back at home and enjoying breakfast.
a most successful independence celebration indeed.