Last week I made my neighbours laugh by having the same conversation I've been having with Asians friends for the last 10 years. I still remember when I discovered that Asians generally prefer white skin, over the tanned look that is often considered beautiful in my own culture.
“Teacher, your face is white.”
In my first few months in China I felt kind of offended to hear this. Was she saying I looked sick? Or like a ghost?
My friend across the road here in Phnom Penh knows we are thinking of living in a remote province one day, she doesn't think its a good idea. She gave me the warning about my skin turning black as if it was something really bad.
It just sounded funny to me I almost laughed. And she and her "younger sister" did laugh when I told them some people in Aus who have white skin try to make it darker.
|First 3 weeks I mostly saw Soeun holding the baby, so in contrast the baby looked white, but then my Aussie friend with beautiful skin arrived and suddenly my baby was brown!|
The other 2 warnings:
Another neighbour used to work in the province in question (development/aid kind of work), he also warned me:
"It was hard for me to find food and live there, and I'm a local, so it will be harder for you."
And my closest Christian Khmer girl friend also knows it will be hard.
"Life is easier in Phnom Penh and there are more schools for your kids."
Soon we will be moving out of the capital city, but to live near the remote (altho fast changing) province, not actually living away from doctors, mains power etc just yet.
If we do live out in a village there will be lots of lifestyle changes for me to get used to, I think it will be pretty hard. But at this point in time the thing that sounds hardest to me is being away from medical care, just being in PP is already a bit scary for an Aus (I went all the way to Thailand to give birth), so being outside the big town is another step.
Also it will mean homeschooling, which previously I only had heard negative things about, but since joining playgroups I've met a few homeschooling mums (or "moms" I should say) so now feeling a bit more open to that idea.
|There is no need to learn the phrase "Where is the toilet?" It can be anywhere. So much freedom in Cambodia|