Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Not a saucepan

What do you call this?

The toddler was playing with this kitchen thing and calling it a saucepan. I wanted to correct him and tell him what it really is called, trouble is I couldn't think of a word. So I asked on Facebook. I got lots of responses and I realised why I couldn't think of a word- there are too many. Here's a  summary of the responses so far.
Pretty much everyone from the USA said "spatula" but other nationalities had lots of different words. (also pancake turner)

UK
 "fish slice", "spatula" 

Canada
 "flipper", "spatula"

Australia

spatula
egg flip
egg flipper
turner-overer
egg lifter
flippa thing

Thursday, 14 May 2015

emerging from 4 weeks living in the urgent

First there was Khmer New Year, with relatives coming and going with no notice. Being part of an Asian family is really hard for a Western introvert, and most felt at times of the year when extended families get together. Unhappily coincides with the most hot humid weather.

We were exhausted by the end of it, happy to have our space back when a storm struck and the whole town was plunged into heat and darkness. A flurry of communication surrounded the 5 day power cut as everyone struggled to cope with the heat, cancelled events and not knowing if the power would come back on today or not.  (At this time of year we struggle to sleep even with 2 fans in our room so when there are no fans...)

Two years ago we often lost power for the whole day, so I'd worked out my fridge/freezer strategy for that, but 5 days is a lot longer than 8 hours! So I gave up on my usual shopping/cooking habits, we just had to go one meal at a time. And we didn't know how long the water in our tank would last so we tried not to use to much water, which meant we also gave up washing up, esp at night when it was dark.

The last night of no power the toddler had a high temp, it had started that morning. We were giving him ibuprofen but his temp was still  high. For the next 7 days he didn't eat much or sleep for long blocks of time, it was like looking after a newborn, a few hours of sleep , a few hours of screaming, felt like he needed constant attention. (So even tho New Year was over and the power cut was over we still didn't get a chance to restock the fridge)

After the first few days we were both exhausted and didn't know how long it was going to go on for and if it would turn out to be a normal childhood fever thing or something like dengue. So then we started  taking turns at night so at least one of us got a block of 5 hours sleep.

(took him to the doc on day 3 and 5, had a hospital in mind we would go to if any other symptoms happened ).

(Did I mention the weather is hot and humid at this time of year?)

Then thankfully he got better. I thought we were just going to collapse and breath a sigh of relief but after all that it was hard to change gears and go back to normal eating and sleeping...plus our house was chaos. We have 2 bedrooms and a living/kitchen area. We and others had been sleeping in them over the past few weeks, swapping around depending on the heat, where the sick toddler was and who was looking after him. We don't really have a bedroom as such anymore. (Plus still hot humid and haven't really been proper meat and veg shopping...)

We had lost a few weeks in which we were planning to get ready for a trip we were supposed to be taking. I thought we had 3 weeks after New Year and the trip to psych ourselves up for it but all of a sudden it was almost time to go.

So then it was a 4th week of living from day to day, trying to decide if we should change our plans or not, and if yes which of the options we should choose.

Anyway, I think things are are bit more settled now. The last few days we have cooked meat and veg at home and eaten dinner together!


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Waiting for normal life to start.... last weeks holiday, this weeks fever

I keep waiting for a time when we don’t have relatives staying in our house and/or one of us isn’t sick, waiting to start normal life in Siem Reap. But maybe this is normal life!

We have been here less than 5 months and already had relatives staying with us on about 5 separate occasions.  None of us has been seriously sick, but the toddler has a fever a few times, we’ve all had colds, I have various pregnancy annoying things etc etc.

That’s what I was feeling a few weeks ago, then we had Khmer New Year and I just felt really exhausted after that,  and starting to get anxious about the next thing coming up. Feeling like a holiday. No time/money/energy to travel but started day dreaming about spending a night in a hotel in town.

Then last week was so crazy- most notably a massive long power cut all over town. A lot of things got cancelled because of it, and we never knew what would happen from day to day. Lots of checking in with other expats on fb about whether the power was on or not and what the latest rumour was about how many poles got knocked down in the storm etc etc.

But in a way it was kind of a holiday, some of the normal things we would do in a week were out, and it was hard to cook with no fridge and not knowing how long our water would last for.  No washing up or sweeping in the evening as it was dark and I couldn’t see the mess.

And it was a good excuse to have the holiday I’d been wanting, we  stayed a night in a hotel in town (number 2 place in the world to visit according to trip advisor, big tourist industry). They had a deal on because of the power cut, lots of expats were doing the same thing.

However on the 4th and final night of the outage we were at home with a sick toddler. It was hot and noisy. He is still feverish, this will be the 3rd night. He has been acting like a newborn, sleeping in little bits all day and night and screaming in between or looking floppy.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

The week after KNY

Just when we were recovering from KNY Soeun woke up with this crawling on him. It was the day after the internet went out, the same day the toddler vomited, and the day before a town wide multi day power outage. As if being pregnant with a toddler in hot season wasn't hard enough. And there was the dead things in our drinking water....

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Almost KNY again...

"This week hot season has arrived with a bang in Cambodia, and expats have responded with a whimper."
Move to Cambodia

The other week I was getting only a few hours sleep thanks to a toddler fever then my own cold, it seemed too hard even to just do the normal things...thankfully that pretty much over now. 

Now the struggle is just with the hot weather, extra teaching and preaching for Soeun, the New Year holiday (relatives coming to stay- its never a holiday, its a hot busy time), and the usual things of being pregnant with and looking after a toddler.

So glad our health is better and than we have electricity and water! It was getting quite hard when I still had a cold and the hot weather started , then there was a half day power cut... I tried to get myself and toddler to an air con mall but I was too sore and tired to move......
I bought 500ml of blue food colouring! Water fun, play dough....if only the toddler was as excited as me.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

a bunch of annoying things all at once

Recently the toddler had a fever for a couple of days. Thankfully it turned out not to be anything weird or scary, he also had a runny nose and i suspect sore throat etc. Anyway, he is better now but I have a horrible cold. Its always hard to sleep when I'm pregnant anyway, plus the hot weather, and now with a cold and the toddlers sleep pattern all messed up, eeerk! Everything feels too much effort.

Welcome to the hot season finally

Throughout the long cold cool season we were lucky to have hot showers. This heater pictured above was attached to our shower. It recently made a loud noise, burst into flames and gave off lots of black smoke! Scary. Now the toddler says "fire" whenever he goes into the bathroom.

Anyway, annoyingly that meant we spent 3 mornings in a row waiting for the workman to come, and then waiting for him to work. The water was off for awhile. When you have a messy toddler and you're pregnant its pretty annoying not to have access to the bathroom for so long!

So now we have a new water heater (not that we need to use it at this time of year, the weather is hot and the tap water is often hot too) and the shower has much better water pressure and  we have an outside tap! We can use the hose Soeun bought when we first moved in. Water the herbs, clean the dirt off everything, wash down the toddler after watermelon or messy play and its a great new toy for hot season!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

words from the toddler part 2

He says thank you in Khmer, but please and sorry in English. He can say no and yes in both

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Words from the toddler

These days he is still obsessed with saying "moto" and "helmet" as well as "triangle". Also "robot" and doing a robot dance. Also loves milk and bike but usually hates having a bath- it sounds like we are torturing him at bathtime.

He's really into numbers and English letters/alphbet.

He can count 1-10 in English , it was only 2 weeks ago he started saying seven, he used to always skip it before, we guess cos it has 2 syllables. He has been able to count 1-5 in Khmer since around Dec but gets confused after that as 6 in Khmer is "5-1", 7 is "5-2" etc.

He can sort of join in singing a phonic song and the alphabet song (English) and can recognise some letters, esp A.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Defrosting, feels like "normal" life is starting

A photo posted by Katherine Seat (@katherineseat) on

Most of the last 3 months we feel like we have either been sick or busy doing moving house related things. Or both! Also it feels like its been cold weather for ages.

Finally over the last week things started to change. 

We are defrosting, and spend less time with colds and other annoying unwellness. 
Soeun has been getting to know his new church and going to various things such as services, soccer, pastor training etc for awhile now.  Now finally he is able to start being involved in things.

We just moved some furniture around yesterday, now we have things mostly set up, just need to pick up a bookshelf and then we can unpack the books! Soeun will start teaching in less than 2 weeks so it 'll make prep much easier if he doesn't have to dig through boxes.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

New things in our life since we moved to SR (and some recent photos)


Before I forget let me jot these down...

.....we're not on town water. Which means we have no water bill, instead an electric pump to get the water out of the well. Its often and red/brown colour  when it flows out of the tap. We are thinking of getting a clay filter but in the mean time we buy 20litre bottles of water to drink, they cost about 75cents each. I Carry them home in the stroller.


In Cambodia we use 2 currencies 

......Soeun has an alfresco office. Our house is much smaller but our outdoor area is much bigger and very shady. The toddler loves this and it suits Soeun as one suspect for his dizziness in Aus. is house dust/dustmites.




Hammock fun with friends



.....after spending a large part of my adult life trying to say "cookie" instead of my default "biscuit" I now find I'm going the other way. Up til now all the expats/English speakers I would see in a normal month speak Nth American, but now it seems I'm surrounded by Aussies and Brits! I go to say "diaper" then I realise I could actually just say "nappy". 


There are quite a few elephant statues  around town. I notice them because the toddler yells out the E sound that he learnt from a phonics song.


...the Toddler goes on a moto now. He is big enough for a helmet, and happily we have left the crazy scary traffic of the capital. 
The boys cooked a duck on our new barbie!

...our neighbourhood is the most Khmer looking I have ever lived in, yet the most expat as well. We live in a group of houses all owned by the same family. Some of the houses are occupied by family, and they rent the rest out to expats. Our last n'hood there were heaps (maybe 100?) khmer families in our housing development. It wasn't until we had been there for a year that I got to know another white family. Within a week of living here we already met all the expat neighbours, 3 different nationalities! Yet at the same time the toddler has some khmer play mates who have introduced him to playing with frogs and fish.



Arvo nap in the hammock at the baray.

.....it feels like its raining sometimes. Its actually just the mango sap falling all over us, making everything black and sticky. I think it means we'll have mangos soon!

Enjoying our new sandpit



.....new way of shopping. We used to live near a big market, we could get all our fresh produce there, I could walk there with the baby in the stroller. Near the market were heaps of other shops where we could get nappies and fried rice etc cheaply. Other than that we made trips to foreign supermarkets for things like oats and some dairy products.  But now we've got to figure that all out again, there is a small market over the bridge, and a bigger one about 20 min walk away (ppl don't usually walk that far, but its cool season so I've been making the most of it). There are also some small shops out on the near by main road. I expected that they would have cheap nappies and things I was used to, but turns out they just have beer and post cards and overpriced coffee beans. Obviously for the millions of tourists who come through. There are 2 main supermarkets we go to as well, one of them has a playroom upstairs. 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

the settling in continues

Glad to be in our new home, haven't had this settling in thing for awhile.

Last time we started renting a house we thought we would be there for 2 years but the first year we didn't know from month to month. The landlord was trying to sell it and only had to give us a months notice.  We did end up being there for two years in the end, but I found it easier to make our "only 3 months in Thailand" room more of a home than our Phnom Penh house.

Mostly unpacked but still hadn't seen our external hard drive we use for back. Was starting to get worried, and Soeun was having trouble preparing lessons, missing that and his books still all in boxes. Thanks to a blocked drain today I found it- phew!



Enjoying a visit to the baray with Daddy and the boys group, eating worms and frogs. Mummy enjoyed the chance to stay home by herself.


Finally we have water outside! Its really annoying not to have a garden tap or hose, esp with a toddler and a herb garden. Weeks ago Soeun bought 20 m of hose and set it up but then found our pump wasn't set up for that. Some delays and communication with landlord and plumbers.....nothing for awhile.....Then other day he found a way to connect it to another water source, and happily was able to clean and water everything out the front.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

instant neighbourly-ness

One of the first days we were in our new house it started raining- inside the house!!

We live in the brick downstairs section and another family live in the wooden bit upstairs. I grabbed some buckets and mats, moved some boxes of papers and started thinking about burst pipes and plumbers.

Then I ran upstairs to have the second ever conversation with our new neighbours (English speaking expats). I was relieved to see that the water was just coming from an overflow from the pot plants they had just watered, and not a pipe. Actually they realised one of the plants was missing its saucer, so they promised to make sure there was one there before next time!

Soeun planted lemongrass and some other things in our new front yard!


That evening the toddler locked himself in the bedroom, we had done a lot of things to fix the house up before we moved in but hadn't yet moved the low bolts from the doors. Luckily it was a screen door so we could see each other- but it was still very distressing for both of us. He was screaming, and it seemed like he thought I locked him in there. He seemed to be bringing me peace offerings, as if that would help him get our- one by one he carried all the things from next to my bed and tried to give them to me. My water bottle, my phone, my beanie my kindle etc

Anyway, so I ended up running upstairs again, for the third ever conversation with our new neighbours. They were able to bed the door and get the bolt across. Phew!

We went to the small nearby market this morning to get veg and fish. This is on the way back in our shared driveway.