- the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
Thursdays and me haven’t been getting along! The last 2 have been decidedly meh and so as this one approached I was slightly wary.
I woke ridiculously early this morning (4.15 to be precise) but chose to spend the time pleasantly by quietly lying on my bed listening to the city wake until it got light.
I also made a pact with myself during that time that I was going to shake this Thursday by its boots and have a better experience than of late.
Having kicked off the day with a lovely yoga session (I finally have a mat so no more filthy feet hurray) I decided to switch up my walk to work, diverging from my usual route to wander around the local market en route. This place is a hive of activity in the mornings but seemed particularly so today and for a while I wasn’t sure why. Slowly, it all started to fall into place as I came across stall after stall selling the tiny wreaths of national flowers and other traditional offering gifts, and a steady stream of older women dressed in their ‘Sunday best’ buying these gifts along with huge bunches of lotus flowers. My suspicions were confirmed as I approached the local temple and saw women streaming in, offerings in hand. My wander off the beaten path had led me to the serendipitous witnessing of the comings and goings of one of the 4 monthly Buddha days that are observed monthly here in Cambodia. These Buddha days are aligned to the phases of the moon and until today I hadn’t really known what they were apart from tiny pictures on every calendar/diary I encounter.
Whilst passing the temple I encountered my lovely coffee lady and, on seeing me, she eagerly jumped up to start making my regular brew. Sadly, I had to stop her in her tracks as my purse contained only a $50 note. Now please don’t panic – $50 is more than enough to buy a coffee from her every day for a month, but for this reason it was also crystal clear to me that she would have no way of providing me the change required from a 75 cent purchase.
So I headed to work, little realising that this unfortunate happening would lead to the second serendipity of my day.
Fancying a coffee as 10 o’clock approached I decided to head across the compound to the EU programme office to partake of a nasty Nescafe 3in1 in order to get my fix.
Unfortunately, on arriving I discovered the door locked and so wandered slowly and slightly dejected back down the stairs to head back to my office. On reaching the ground floor I noticed a different exit to the one I normally take and decided to go for a wander. It wasn’t quite a the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe moment but it did lead me to an odd little world.
I found myself in a courtyard, which on further examination appeared to be full of discarded wooden tools. Now as I work for the Fisheries Administration and there were also old fishing nets lying around with the tools I am assuming that these tools are used in the fishing industry. But what they are and why they were there remains a mystery.
I was just about to leave the courtyard when I spotted something in the distance. Wandering over I was slightly shocked to discover 3 huge fish. I think they were real, they were very dead (one had no head) and they were just sitting in a kind of woodshed like area looking somewhat menacing and a bit pathetic at the same time.
Slightly disturbed I wandered on and that when I came upon the most wonderful discovery of my wanderings – Huong’s tiny little home (complete with newly refreshed offerings by the door) and his tiny, smiley wife sitting out the front cooking fish in preparation for their lunch. In clucky Khmer I said hello, told her my name, asked her hers, failed to understand the reply, smiled politely as though I did, took a photo of her home and the fish and was rewarded with a huge long bear hug from this tiny little woman.
As I turned to walk away Huong was beaming at me from his gatehouse and insisted I stop and pose for a photo on route.
The final phase of my wander took me past a tree with odd baskets protruding from the branches. On closer inspection I discovered the baskets housed the fruit of the tree – I’m not entirely sure if the baskets are there to protect the fruit or the cars underneath the fruit should it fall, maybe it’ll become clear one day, maybe it won’t. Either way, it made me smile and took my mind off my lack of coffee so was all good in the end.
These lovely serendipitous moments have set me up for the rest of my day.
I am now no longer a slave to miserable Thursdays having taken control of my destiny and had fun doing so!