My Dear Cambodians,

For the past two years I have lived in your country, and I have to say, it's been great. Never have I met a more welcoming, hospitable people. You have been gracious with me as I bumbled through cultural minefields, understood my fractured, childish attempts at speaking your language, and have given me wonderful stories to tell. It's because of our great relationship that I feel free to address the following two concerns with you, in the hopes that you will not be offended and our affection for each other can only grow.

First, about your fruits. In general, I like the fruits of Cambodia, and I know you do too. You offer them to me all the time. A mango here, a rambutan there, limes, oranges, bananas, papayas, lychee-- so many things to love. I have tasted nearly all of your fruits, and I love many of them. I even find it amusing that the people of Cambodia seem to want to eat fruit all the time. You could probably teach Americans a thing or two about that. However, I find it crucial to inform you of two fruits that I will no longer eat, in the hopes that you will no longer offer them to me. Durian, a fruit you all seem to love, smells (to me) like raw sewage, has the texture of wet newspaper, and tastes only slightly better than a cross between the two. Please keep it far away from me. Durian's cousin, jackfruit, is only slightly better-smelling or -tasting, and I think eating it feels like someone put a damp sock in my mouth. I hope you will understand why I would not like to have to politely decline either of these fruits (and ultimately eat them to appease you) in the future.

Secondly, I would like to inform you that I appreciate your assistance in educating me about Cambodian traditional seating. However, repeated attempts to cajole me into sitting, on a wooden floor or platform in the "Indian style" with my legs crossed must be addressed. It is not, as you seem to think, "easy" for me to make my legs curl into this position and remain there for great lengths of time. In point of fact, it is quite difficult, even painful, seeing as I have not had to do so since I was a child and my longer legs have some issues with circulation. I've grown accustomed to sitting in chairs, you see, or having the freedom to sit on the floor any way I choose. No matter how many times you tell me that it is "easy for me" to sit in such a manner, while leaning over my bowl of rice on the floor, it will not get easier. Unless, that is, you are prepared to lead me through some stretches or other yoga positions before we eat. Even then, it might be tricky.

I hope you can agree that these issues are reasonable and fair. I'm happy to entertain any replies about ways in which I have asked you to do unreasonable things (repeatedly) in the past two years. Working together, I think we can make our relationship even stronger than it is today.

Hugs and Kisses (in a proper, culturally-appropriate way),

p.s. By the way, I am not, nor have I ever been, French. No matter how much you want me to be.