|This used to be our holiday destination- now we live here!|
The small town feel of bumping into the same people at the supermarket and kids playground, it feels like its easy to get to know people. There are only a handful of shops that sell foreign food, and only a few places to take kids to play- so I often see the same people again and again. Its a lovely community feel. Various nationalities, and it feels like there are quite a few mixed race families (or whatever the proper term is) too, our kids have many playmates who have one Khmer parent and one non-Khmer parent.
I think most expats I know in Phnom Penh are with Christian organisations. I feel like I have much more of a variety of expat friends here, compared to in PP. Might be more related to having kids than having moved to Siem Reap.
Yet, despite the small town-ness, I can still feel anonymous when I want to. The tourist industry is huge here, I can walk around in the restaurant district and feel like I'm on some exotic holiday.
After living in PP, its nice to live in a small town with less traffic and less flooding. It feels so much easier. More relaxed, less hassle to get around. More pleasant for bike riding- a river flanked by grass and tall trees is a much nicer environment than kilometres of busy dirty city.
And the whole reason we moved here has worked out too, better than we thought. Originally we wanted to move north as Soeun wanted to help church leaders in remote places by giving them ongoing training and chances to have fellowship. We had looked at living somewhere really remote- it would be a huge adjustment for me, and I'm not sure how I would cope, especially at this stage of life. Siem Reap seemed like a good place to live for the family, and at the same time quick and easy for Soeun to travel out.
However it turns out the church in town already has this set up, and the church leaders/students travel into town for classes. There are now also some other locations a bit out of town when classes are held as well. So Soeun is able to do the ministry he had hoped to do, but without leaving town too much. And if feels like it makes so much sense to join in what is already happening.
After growing up in a country that has Christmas and then living in Asia, its been really weird. I remember my first Christmas in Asia, seeing people go to the bank and school etc on Dec 25th, it just seemed so wrong. Thanks to the tourist industry, Siem Reap feels Christmassy in December. We can catch a tuk tuk around and see the Christmas lights.