Highs and lows of Cambodian living: Month 2

I’ve been bad about blogging. I knew I’d probably fall behind at some point, but I was hopeful the words would just flow from my fingertips every evening. Wrong. They just want to go to sleep along with the rest of my body. Still, I’m determined to document as much as possible without making it feel like a chore. 

I’ve been pretty busy with work (more on that below) and trying to keep up with my social life here – all while keeping sane and trying to relax and enjoy my time here as much as possible.  

First, let’s start with the bad in February, shall we?

1. I got sick from food. Twice. Both times I found myself trying to lay as still as possible as sweat beads dripped down my face. The latest and strongest bout had me getting up periodically to vomit. It was not fun, but at least each bout only lasted about 24 hours. Also, one of my flatmates – I speak British English now – is a doctor and very sweet, so when I told her about the vomiting, she brought me rolls, jelly and Sprite. She also regularly listens and offers advice when it comes to boys. She’s great. 

2. The heat. Dude, the heat. And the intense sun. It can be stifling. It’s getting intense as we get closer to the hottest month, April. I find myself sweating all the time and putting a fan in my face any chance I get. I also lay down and rest as often as possible because the heat just zaps all energy from me.    

The good:

1. I saw the Angkor temples with students from the Cambodian Women’s Development Agency! Talk about the ultimate roadtrip (with a #selfie stick.) 

2. I wrote a story for The Associated Press about nude tourists at the Angkor temples. Read that here. I also wrote a story for NBC News from Cambodia. My Angkor story and a recent travel piece from my trip last fall to Puerto Rico were picked up by the New York Times. I’m kind of loving journalism right now. 

3. I went for a fun and relaxed hike with my above flatmate and a bunch of other expats on Koh Dach, a small island upstream from Phnom Penh. It was a short hike, only about 3 miles, but it was the perfect way to spend a Sunday. 

4. Making random dinner dates with people. In the U.S., it’s considered weird to randomly email someone out of  the blue and ask to hang out. But it’s not when you’re new to a foreign country! I made my fair share of emails to people during the first month, but I’m now mainly fielding emails from people who have heard about me or found me through this blog or friends of friends. It’s great!

Lessons learned:

1. Water. Water. Water. MUST drink plenty of water. 

2. I need to keep working on being OK with saying no if I have to. I can’t do it all, and I need to be more confident in my decision to say no.  


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