The highs and lows of Cambodian living: week 2

The highs:

1. I helped take some of the girls who stay at the NGO’s safe shelter swimming. It was a bit of an ordeal finding a pool since the one we had planned on going to was closed, but we just crammed nine people into a tuk tuk and headed north for a while and found a replacement. The girls seemed to have had a blast and I finally feel like I’m getting to know some of them.

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2. My housemate Saphy performed his experimental music at Meta House, a gallery and bar that offers a variety of cultural events. Part concert and part art, the performance was my first time experiencing this type of music. It was a good chance for some of the housemates to all hang out together, too.

3. I wrote and turned in my first story from Cambodia, which is scheduled to run later this week! Needless to say, I’m super excited. I’ve already pitched a few more ideas, one of which has been accepted.

4. I’ve become more adventurous in my eating. I tend to get into habits very quickly with my food. Foodie I am not. It’s no different here, but I’m really trying to push myself to try more. I was hesitant to eat a lot of street food, but I’ve been going to more places where I see crowds of people, including Westerners. So far so good.

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The lows:

1. I got sick. Thankfully it’s not intestinal parasites – which I’ve been told will occur at one point or another here. Instead, I have a cough and a running nose. My students think it’s because of the iced coffee I’m always drinking. (btw, how am I already getting crap for my drinking habits?!) I tend to think the cold is the result of the constant exhaust fumes, the extreme weather change and the general environmental changes that my body is dealing with more than drinking ice with my coffee. Whatever it is, it’s annoying and I hope I get rid of it soon.

1. The loneliness has been setting in at times. I think the initial awe that comes from visiting a new place is dissipating and now I’m getting into a groove of working, exercising, eating and sleeping. I’m continuing to meet new people all the time, but finding the time and energy to fit in everything each day is difficult at times, too. It’s no different than life in the U.S. in that regard.

2. Trying to learn the language. I realize I need to try to learn more key phrases and words and understand what is being said. Right now I only know a few phrases. Languages, however, do not come easily to me. And I get intimidated when I hear other people speak it so well after only being here a few months. But I really do think just trying is the key. I usually get a positive response when I speak the few phrases I do know.

Lessons learned:

1. Watch where I walk. I missed this during my first week here but now notice it all the time: men and boys stopping on the side of the road and just using the bathroom. Tuk tuk drivers just pull over on the side of the road and start peeing. The other day I was walking down the street and a little boy just started peeing right in front of me. I’ve learned that it’s very important for me to watch where I step, especially if wearing sandals!

2. On a related note, if I get hit by a car, tuk tuk or moto (motorbike) here, I guarantee it will be while walking on a sidewalk or in a cross walk. Sidewalks are mostly used as parking spaces anyway, and I’m not really sure most drivers even know what a cross walk is. I already experienced this in other southeast Asian countries, but it’s been eye-opening to see cars flat out drive through red lights as people are crossing the street in a cross walk.

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2 comments

  1. glenn chance · January 21, 2015

    I enjoy reading your blogs very much keep them coming

    Like

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