Tuesday, February 26, 2013

beginning of the end?

I suddenly became really clumsy yesterday, and its continued today. Dropped a few bowls etc. I've been feeling hot, tired and a bit uncomfortable today. Actually since I got here 2 months ago I've been feeling hot and tired, but now feel things take a little more effort.

I'm not sure if its just this week, feeling extra tired cos of heat and some extra trips around town last week, or this is the start of how its going to be for the rest of pregnancy.

The baby seemed to suddenly feel extra big as of last night, and extra active. Since I got here I've been trying to get certain things done before I start feeling too uncomfortable, and before the weather gets too hot. Running out of time?

Tomorrow I'll spend a few hours at the hospital having some tests done. I'm kind of looking fwd to it, I think it will be a lot of sitting around in an air con room.

Monday, February 18, 2013

some more photos from the first month back in cambodia

Buddhism and local animism exist side by side, if I wasn't aware of it already I see this every week on my ride home from my Bible study group meeting.

Riding home from the market- nice smooth roads as we live in borey.

Our nearby market is still very new, at first there was only one beef seller, and it cost more than 2 years ago. Wasn't sure the price was up cos 2 years on, or cos I'm white or cos she had monopoly.

A group of youth from church/Soeun's music class came over for the day to cook and eat. They all had so much fun!

buying chicken meat

I try to do my meat shopping in the morning,  less flies hopefully.

old places

This was open area and a swamp, 2 years ago I used to ride my bike around in the afternoon and enjoy the quiet roads. Now they are building new houses and there is a new market that gets bigger each time I go (multiple times in a week.)

A near by street, more new houses being built

new places

Happy to have a window at church, feel less claustrophobic
 We just started going to a church that has some windows and a much higher ceiling, here is one of the windows! There is a cage below for people to park their motos. I always seem to have a sore back on Sunday afternoons in Cambodia- I think its a combo of the the church seats and the moto ride, and generally feeling exhausted.
Many new buildings went up in PP while we were away, and still more being built

Friday, February 15, 2013


A ceiling so high I can't touch it even if i were to stand on a chair, windows on one side, lots of lights on the ceiling and aircon!!!!

These were the main things I noticed at the church we went to on Sunday. I was able to use more energy for listening and singing as I wasn't using it all up just being there. I often feel a bit claustrophobic when a room has a low ceiling and no windows or air flow, esp on hot days.

I still felt tired and sore back ish for the rest of the day, due to the seats and the moto ride there, but I think its going to be easier to go for both us. We have been part of this church before, but away from it since end of 2008, it used to be about 45 min moto ride away (too far), it meets much closer, only have to spend 15 min on moto.

Monday, February 11, 2013

"1st world problems in 3rd world country"...too much rice, not enough dairy vs growing up in post Pol Pot time

...Soeun said this phrase as he tried to eat some bread for breakfast the other day. His whole childhood he didn't have enough money to eat 3 meals of rice daily, but this week is finding he is concerned about eating too much rice.

We're going to some childbirth classes run by a European doctor. Last week we learnt about nutrition and our homework is to eat according to the food pyramid.

When the doctor looked at what we each ate for the past 7 days she advised Soeun rice shouldn't be his only carb- he should try to eat different types. Last year I was advised not to eat so much white rice as I developed some health problems. I used to eat it 3 times a day, but now as I settle back into life here I've been shopping at foreign shops buying brown bread, brown pasta, brown rice, and basmati rice so I can eat lower GI as advised.

Our childbirth teacher advised me I need to be eating more dairy. I really miss dairy products when I'm living in asia, but as they are harder to get, generally more expensive and sometimes don't taste as nice its harder to put them in my weekly diet.

Trying not to spend too much, and trying to get used to how Khmer eat I just thought thats how life is for me here. (Atm we live in the city, but if we were living away from a town it would be even harder to get and store dairy products, and if we are considering moving to a remote location maybe I should be preparing myself.)

But now maybe I'll start spending more on food? Wondering what all those millions of Khmer people do, as far as I know there is no dairy industry in Cambodia but people seemed to have survived all these 1000s of years, albeit with a lower life expectancy.

Just one of the many things we think about as a Khmer- Australian family, trying to work out how to live well. There is such a huge and deep gap between what many would consider being rich, and what I as an Aussie think of as rich, which relates to priorities and how we spend money.

Proverbs 30:8

New International Version (NIV)

give me neither poverty nor riches,

    but give me only my daily bread.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

back into Khmer language- market, friends, church, TV

After 2 years in Aust what's happening with my khmer language...?

I started shopping at the market almost as soon as I got here, and thankfully, in terms of language its still pretty easy. I guess it was what I used the most, and with so much context easy to remember, mostly names of veggies, meat etc, and questions like "How much for 1kg/100g etc?". (the heat, chaos and noise makes it challenging tho!)

I've been meeting up with a Khmer friend to read the Bible and pray, and hopefully at some point put to use some Bible storytelling. We are reading a passage in both languages, her English is way better than my Khmer as she teaches English. I printed out different versions of the passage for her so she can read the same thing in different English words, and she read the passage in Khmer for me on to voice recorder so I can listen to it.

Yesterday she got me to read the passage out loud in Khmer, which I hadn't tried yet and didn't think I was ready for, but she insisted. I had hoped to do it during the week but just felt so hot and tired, and it seemed too hard. it wasn't actually too hard- slow going, and probs sounded funny, but after listening to it in Khmer lots, and reading it in English lots it wasn't too mysterious.

I used to go to Khmer church regularly, was great place to learn and practice Khmer language, I've been once since I got back, but we're not sure what we are going to do on Sundays. I don't really have a good way to travel here, and Soeun hasn't settled in a church yet so each Sunday is different at the moment. He is still teaching music and helping with music at our old church, but without a long term commitment its hard for me to make the effort required to get to know people at church (and make it thru the hot, bumpy traffic).

I've been trying to watch TV, the cooking show is easy to understand- food words with lots of context, familiar. The news and dramas are also good to watch, I can't understand everything though, the adverts are the easiest to pick up, its nice they keep repeating the same short ads over and over, great for language learning!

Over the last week all the channels were always showing stuff about the late King Father, as it was 100 days since he died. There were some docs on what he did in his life, Khmer history since 1950's, and I think they might have showed some of the movies he made.

Thursday, February 07, 2013


I lost track of how many cool showers I had yesterday, trying to cope with the heat. In the evening I went to have a piece of chocolate. I tried to break a bit off, then remembered why I used to keep chocolate in the fridge. It was all running- still yummy but messy and hard to get the bits of foil out, all mixed together.

Feel like my brain melted too, hard to think clearly.

Monday, February 04, 2013

when to persevere, when to have some recovery time

"different not wrong" something i remember from one of my senior high subjects "Society and Culture", it often comes in handy!

Being back in Cambodia after 2 years away is exhausting. There are so many things that are different here, that I was used to before but find that they are strange again, like when I first arrived.

I'm reminded that what I find normal/good/beautiful etc is not the same as most people here. I find myself wanting to tell people how to do things properly (properly = my way) or to turn up my nose or laugh at some things here. Wondering how Khmer people see me- maybe also wanting to laugh at me?

I find myself wanting to go inside and have a rest. Its hard to know what a good balance is- the harder I work at getting used to things the sooner I'll feel settled, yet I think I do need to take a break sometimes. I don't want to be lazy and take breaks all the time, yet I don't want to get sick/ go insane.

Living in Phnom Penh (as opposed to somewhere else in Cambodia) we have access to "normal" food (Western food) and we have cable TV, with some English language channels. Its great to have these comforts, but want to keep interacting with Cambodia too.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

unpacking...getting to know people

Well, over 2 months ago I started putting my bags in clothes and now I have finally taken them out. Makes life so much easier! I lost some things along the way, with all the different places I stayed at- my shoes went missing, and I seem to have lost a calendar. I did so many packs and unpacks and culling I can't remember which things I decided to leave behind and which things I lost, and where I left them- did i give them away? throw them out?

My first few days here I was hanging out outside trying to get to know some neighbours. My main goal for these first few months was to set up our place, and get to know people so things would be easier after we have the baby. However, when we found out that we may have to move at any point in the year I lost the energy for getting to know neighbours. I do still try to be around outside at the time of day others are there, but its hard to come up with the same energy and initiative now.

And we were planning to set up the house- like maybe get an oven, think about fly screen (try to prevent dengue), think about what the baby is going to sleep in, make it feel like a nice familiar place to be with photos, pot plants etc. But with the maybe moving news we kind of lost our energy for that, so just working on the basics now, like having a place to put clothes, and thinking its better not to get too much kitchen stuff  so feeling like we are a bit limited in what we can cook and eat.