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Posted by on Mar 24, 2013

Our Big, Fat Western Anniversary


I was feeling homesick.

It was our nearing our five-year anniversary and I was craving the old familiarity of our Northern California life.  I wanted our tried and true tradition of celebrating our anniversary in Healdsburg among the vineyards and basking in the California sun. I wanted to walk into the courtyard at Bear Republic and in its empty space reminisce about how full it felt that wedding day when we were surrounded by our friends and family. We had celebrated like that for four years and it just felt plain weird to not be there.

Our wedding site, a few years later, and a little emptier.

Our wedding site, a few years later, and a little emptier.

It seemed crazy to feel that way.  Here we are, living in Southeast Asia, embarking on a dream trip around the world and all I wanted was a drive up Highway 101 through the rolling Sonoma hills.

We tossed around ideas of traveling outside of Phnom Penh for the weekend, but the thought of spending 6-plus hours on a round-trip insane bus ride for just one night didn’t seem worth it.  Then Dave got asked to visit a province with his NGO leaving early Sunday morning.  It looked like any celebration was going to be postponed and I was getting even more homesick.

But we both needed some time away from our everyday life, so we hastily booked a night at The Plantation in Phnom Penh.

The weekend will now be referred to as our Big, Fat Western Anniversary.

Poolside at The Plantation

Poolside at The Plantation

We took naps and frequent dips in the pool.

We switched pools at happy hour and drank 2-for-1 glasses of wine.

The red pool for happy hour.

The red pool for happy hour.

We ate cheeseburgers and french fries for dinner at Freebird Bar & Grill.

We drank martinis at Bar.Sito, a speakeasy. (If you live here, go there. It’s down an alley off street 240 by the British Ambassador’s house. Follow the signs for the Artillery Cafe).

Nightcap cocktails at bar.sito

Nightcap cocktails at Bar.Sito

I wore my contacts and I put on make up. Yup, things were getting crazy.

After 24 hours of fancy hotel bliss I realized it wasn’t Healdsburg I was necessarily craving. It was the act of stopping, of indulging in spending quality time together and of finding something familiar.  When we do something “western” in Phnom Penh, I often feel bad about it, like I’m turning my back on Cambodia.  But the cheeseburger, poolside drinks and speakeasy martini was just what I needed to regroup for our final month in Phnom Penh.

I’m taking it as the universe telling us that this trip is our trip and that it’s okay (and a damn good idea) to look for comfort when we need it.  In fact, isn’t that what the universe tells us about life anyway?





  1. never tire of reading your posts! i completely sympathize and love how you ended it, it is indeed your trip, do it the way you want! continued safe travels, give dave my best!

    • Thanks for reading Gus! I figured you would know how we felt 🙂

  2. What a fun night for you! I had tears thinking of you being homesick, then I had tears of joy for you after reading what a wonderful Anniversary you had!

    Miss you and love you,

    • Yup, it all worked out just right!

  3. Cheeseburgers are good but a garlic bagel and lox, with an onion and a potato knish would be better. Throw in
    a bobka cake and now you’re talking.

    • Does NY Bagel & Bialy deliver to Cambodia??!

  4. You have that right Jill. So tickled you had a Big Fat Anniversary,,,,espically that Martini. <3

    • And the martini tasted so good compared to anything else we’ve been drinking! 🙂

  5. Pool, 2-for-1 wine, cheeseburgers and martinis?!? Sounds like the perfect 5 year anniversary! Healdsburg Sq and Bear Republic will be waiting and will feel/taste that much more awesome when you return to wine country (hopefully I’ll see you there!). Happy anniversary!

    • Great point Andrea – it will still be there and will be all that much better. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  6. Happy to hear you guys had a great anniversary, it’s not always where you are, but who you are with that matters. Miss you guys.

    • So right Scott! Miss you too!

  7. What I love about your postings is that I either laugh or cry while reading them. Sometimes I do both. Has it really been 5 years? Love to u through my tears & laughter. Mona

    • I can’t believe it’s been 5 years, it definitely doesn’t feel like its been that long. But, when I look at how old our nieces and nephew are now compared to our wedding, that makes it seem like more than 5!

  8. I love everything about this post! Good for you for doing this big trip YOUR way. Congratulations on your anniversary and cheers to many, many more!

    • Thanks Jennifer – it felt really good to be doing what we wanted!

  9. Awesome post, Jillz! A belated congrats on Anniversary #5 and glad to hear it went well. The rolling hills of Sonoma, Napa, etc will welcome you back whenever it is that you return with gorgeous views, and of course plenty of delicious wine & & tasty beer.

    • Thanks Marna! I think once we get to New Zealand we’ll get a little taste of home which will help hold us over!