Happy Anniversary

Last night Andrew and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary by kayaking across the Tonle Sap River, dressing to the nines, eating at five different food carts, trying out the winery selection at a French restaurant, stuffing ourselves with haute couture, and then wildly celebrating our marriage back at the hotel.

Ok, that was the plan. However, when you're jet lagged in a foreign country, this is what really happens.

Andrew comes back the hotel around 4:30pm and we both crash like an airliner. I set my alarm for an hour later. It goes off, I throw it across the room, and sleep for another two hours. At 7:30pm, I wake up, and nudge-kick-throw cold water on- Andrew about ten times, with a grunt for a response. Finally, we stumble out of our hotel room, throw the same stinky clothes on that we wore all day, and, bleary-eyed, wander out onto the street. We head in the general direction of the riverside, only a few blocks from our hotel. We find Pacharan, a Spanish tapas restaurant that I saw advertised in a travel magazine.

The entrance to the restaurant feels like sneaking into a speakeasy. The restaurant is in the top floor of a tall French colonial-style building, and the door is around the back. Unlike most restaurants on the riverside, there are no guards standing outside or girls in short skirts calling out for you to look at the menu. Instead, we open the door and see a set of red stairs lit up with strings of light curving upwards. We climb the stairs, ducking our heads to avoid hitting them on the low ceiling, and emerge into a dimly lit dining area, with large canvases reminiscent of Mirot hanging on the walls and gray-haired Spaniards gesturing over glasses of rose-colored wine, glinting in the candlelight. We sit down and stare at the menu. Tapas are something of a foreign language to us, and we spend about fifteen minutes just trying to comprehend the simple phrases on the menu, which, after about five minutes, I realize are actually in English. I focus on two items that I do recognize: gazpacho and bread. And they certainly weren't a disappointment.

Foreign cuisine restaurants attract curious crowds in places like Cambodia, and I have to admit, I spend a good deal of my time eavesdropping on the conversation around me, trying to pin down the various lanugages and accents floating through the air. An immensely tall man with black hair slicked back into a ponytail and with the posture of a matador or bolero dancer circulated the room, chatting with guests and discussing wine in Spanish with the gentleman sitting behind us.

Eventually, we did wake up enough to appreciate the delicious meal in front of us. I realized that we had ordered and shared every dish that came to our table - indicating that our tastes had melded over the past two years. But much more than our tastes have melded together; indeed, every part of our lives has become so intertwined that I can't see where I end and he begins. And I don't know how else we could successfully come to Cambodia and work, if that were not true.

So here's a toast to marriage - to my husband of two years, Andrew. It's been an adventure, and I've become a better woman because of you. I can't imagine any other life than one lived right by your side. Thank you for loving me.