Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My pain and fever gone, but still low energy and feel sick when I eat. I went to church on Sunday but couldn't stand up for a whole song. Still can't ride my bike. And talking in khmer is exhausting on the best of days so you can imagine now.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How rude!

“ When you’re ready to go out for dinner come to our room,” I said to my mum.

My husband Kimsoeun and both our mums were on holiday together. As my mum only speaks English and my mother-in-law only speaks Cambodia it was an interesting experience for them to be sharing a guesthouse room for the week. And it meant I had to say everything twice.

“When you’re ready to go out for dinner come to our room.” I said to my mother-in-law in Cambodian.

She had a funny look on her face. I guess she didn’t understand me, so I tried again. She still had a funny look, so I tried to say the same thing in a different way. It’s so hard to learn a new language! Maybe I wasn’t pronouncing something correctly, or my words were totally out of order.

I gave up and went back to the room I was sharing with my Kimsoeun; I guess she’d figure it out.

That night as we were eating Kimsoeun explained to me that he had just explained to his mum that I didn’t mean to offend her, it’s just the way we talk in English. Huh? How had I offended her? And I didn’t even talk to her in English.

It turns out that I was being really rude when I said “our room”. I should have said “my room”. I did make a language mistake, but it wasn’t to do with my pronunciation or grammar. If I had been talking to someone younger it would have been fine. It’s not something I would have guessed at all.

I was glad that Kimsoeun was able to explain to me that I had offended her and why, other wise I would not have known. And I was also glad that he could explain to her that I wasn’t intending to be rude.

I wonder how many other times I have offended people and not been aware. If there is no friend around to explain it must be so easy to come across in the wrong way and not even know about it. It highlights how important love and humility are in cross-cultural relating.


I haven't been online much recently as I've been sick. Thankfully I'm almost better. It looks like I had dengue fever although for most of the week we thought it was a fever due to an ear infection, then an allergic reaction to the antibiotics.

I only had a blood test yesterday, 6 days after the fever started and the doctor said probably too late to show anything, my temp was already down and body aches gone. But he just rang and said that its likely I did have dengue as my platelet count was 135,000. He said normal is between 150,000 to 350,000.

Hopefully I'll get better completely and quickly, dengue recovering sometimes has complications.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Well, here is a photo of our kitchen wall, and in the corner you can see KS cooking...

The thing about snails detox that I forgot to write last time is that before he cooked the snails KS gave them chilli to eat, to clean them out.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Snails detox and exciting marking

This week Soeun has been marking an exercise where students need to observe, interpret and apply a Bible passage in prep for a sermon or Bible study (SMBCspeak: triangle). He's been excited to see that students have worked hard and learnt a lot. Its unusual for me to hear Soeun talk about marking student's work as exciting, he usually finds it really tedious.
For those of you in Oz who packed an Operation Christmas Child box, you might be interested to read this blog by a girl who lives in Phnom Penh.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mostly wedding meals aren’t that social, at least in my experience. The music is loud. You sit at a table with the nearest ten people who you may or may not know. Recently there was a wedding held on campus that was relaxed and fun. It was nice that it was so close; not having to travel was a plus. And I spent most of the day with people that I did know, students who live on campus with us.

The Cambodian pastor from Australia who did our wedding came to do this one too, and stayed the night at our place.

We also recently went to a wedding of a couple who had been engaged for four years. They got engaged before we did!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cooking foreign food to share

Our house stinks! Soeun has been making kimchi again as you can see from the photos. He takes a bit to share each time he eats with the students. Its Korean but it seems to be very popular with Khmer too!

I'm making a peanut sauce for lunch tomorrow, we are having people over. Its made with stuff from the market, all khmer ingredients, but its not khmer food. We'll find out if they like it tomorrow. I'm also going to make sushi rolls.

And this is some very non foreign food- smoked fish.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our friend’s father recently passed away after being sick for some time. Our friend and her mother are Christians, and are so thankful that their father/husband accepted Jesus just before he died.

Recently I’ve heard of a few Christians who have ended up having a Buddhist funeral. As soon as some dies, or when they are dying, the monks are called in to carry out the Buddhist rituals. Apparently it all happens automatically, with friends and neighbours playing their part. As the major religion is Buddhism, and many parts of life are very religious it seems that everyone knows the proper thing to do when someone dies. So this is how Christians end up having Buddhist funerals, even when they have lived their life as a Christian and their family knows they are not Buddhist.

In the case of our friend, if she’d wanted her father to have a Christian funeral, she and her mum would have had to confront her relatives with this strange idea. I’m guessing that wouldn’t have been an easy thing to do at any time- but especially hard if you were to do it the same hour your father/husband had passed away. So I think they just let everyone take care of everything, knowing it was only his body and that they will see him again.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kimsoeun is excited today because he has just finished writing another song! I have been listening to him sing it the last few days but I can't understand that much so I can't tell you what's about- except to say its something to do with Jesus.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Nov 9

Click here to find out what is happening today in Phnom Penh:
Independence Day celebrations in Phnom Penh November 9, 2009. Cambodia celebrates its 56th anniversary of independence from France on November 9.


Bible School Graduation was held recently. It was great to see old friends who came for the day. I also enjoyed singing. One of the songs we sang is picture below. I went over in my language sessions in the week leading up to graduation so I was able to sing all of the words!

In English we call it "Because he lives".In Khmer its called "God sent his Son". One of the words in it I learnt from an advert on TV for MSG. Ajinomoto MSG claims to "dissolve easily", that word for dissolve/ melt is what happens to fear (in the song).

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Point of View

I just watched a show on National Geographic called Meet the Natives.

Some men from a south pacific island go to Western countries to meet the natives and learn about their customs- its interesting hearing a different point of view, I'm used to hearing the western POV of other cultures. The one i just saw they went to the UK and were shocked to see that there were homeless people. They said in their home place Tanna, no one is homeless.

I found that interesting as to me their society looks poor, they don't have electricity, running water, "proper" clothes- yet no one is homeless, but in our "rich" society we have people sleeping on the streets.

They were taken to see some pet dogs washed and groomed, were amazed people would go to so much trouble to look after animals; they made a deal with the English- they said: when we go home we will try to look after our animals more, and you should try to look after people more, like those homeless people.

Hearing this different point of view reminded me of China Ramblings by Suzanne Rowe. Most of the pieces in her book are about her experience as an Aussie in China, but she has some written from the Chinese point of view.

This one is from the POV of a Chinese teacher who has some foreigners visiting her class.

I didn’t want the children to be frightened so I prepared them well. These foreigners, I told them, are people just like us, but different too. Their skin is the colour of a grubby whitewashed wall with splattered speckles. Their eyes are blue, but not as blue as the sky. More like the blue-grey exhaust coming from a run-down tractor. Their hair isn’t yellow like the books say, but closer to the colour of a muddy river.

Later in she wrote about how she felt sorry for the foreigners when it was toilet time. In China the public toilets are just that- public. I'm used to cubicles but in China its a lot more open plan. Anyway, the teacher in this story found it strange that the white person wanted to go in by themselves.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Back in Cambodia

Some of you may know that I recently went away. These photos on my other blog say a bit about that: Holiday 09.

Now I'm getting to know the new students at the Bible school, so many girls this year.
Ali has great photos of Cambodia. I really like these ones from around Phnom Penh. As she notes, her commute in Cambodia is quite different from going to work in Sydney.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mum visit (part 7) Kompong Cham

Kompong Cham is known for its rubber trees.

We visited a Bible school that has solar power and pigs.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Stepping stones

The water has gone down now, but the other week this is what the campus looked like. They used bits of the drain to make stepping stones.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Recent flood photos

This morning I went for a ride down our road. The duck farmers house is flooded, so they were doing it all on the road. I also saw people using boat type things to get around. I've been posting photos on our other blog Kronicle Extra, also some of the fishing nets that are set up on campus.

I have a friend whose house is really hard to get to, so she and her 3 year old are staying with her mum. But her husband has to stay and look after their ducks. They were joking about how its like they are divorced for rainy season. She's looking fwd to the water going down so she can be married again. Although for the long weekend she is going home, and taking some friends to visit her house. They are excited because they will be catching and eating fish.. fishing from the comfort of your own home!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sheep head anyone?

'We began to realise that, as much as we were committed to adapting to our adopted culture and doing things the Mongolian way as much as possible , sometimes we had to draw the line. In three areas we were unable (or unwilling) to give up our own culture's ways: birth, death and breakfast."There's a sheep in my bathtub by Brian Hogan
page 165

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The water levels on campus are about as high as they were at their highest last November. If you click here you can see photos from last year, in each set there is one or two for when it was pretty flooded, and one for when it was really flooded.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Inside the temple

At the moment Festival of the Dead is on, as I mentioned below. Last year Rachael went to see what they were all up to at 4.30am in the temple. Have a look at her photos here.

That time of year again!

The other week we had our first big rain of the season, as Karen noted on her blog.

The flooding started earlier last year, and the roads were really flooded, as you can see in these photos (click here) I took August 2008. Today Our roads aren't flooded but on campus is!

I don't think we need to water the veggie garden today.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Looking after your deceased family members in Asia

Last Thursday as I rode to and from work I saw people burning things outside their houses. They used metal bins or big metal bowls to burn money and other paper things for their dead ancestors. I'll try to get a photo next year. I think they also had a special meal that day. Its a Chinese festival, although I don't remember seeing it in China. Religious things are more obvious here.

And on Saturday the Cambodia "Festival of the Dead" began. It's called 'Pchum Ben'and goes for two weeks. During these two weeks the streets are filled with people in their best clothes going to temples to give food to their ancestors. Some photos: KI Media, Pchum Ben photos
See also Feeding the Dead
The last few days are public holidays and everyone goes back to their hometown.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Shadow puppets (mum visit part 6)

We visited Sovanna Phum and saw a performance of drumming and dancing. We also saw these shadow puppets on display, an ancient art form SP keeps alive.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

PS (mum visit part 5.5)

Just found Rachael (who is now back in the US) has a great blog about the cooking class too. She did it awhile ago- have a look here.

Cooking Khmer food! (mum visit part 5)

While Mum was here we went to a Khmer cooking class and made lots of yummy food. This is a photo of some of the herbs and spices.

First the teacher took us to the market so we could learn about some interesting things there, then we went back and made a few dishes. One of our classmates did a blog on it. She has lots of photos and explained lots of the highlights of the day. Have a look at Ali's How to be a domestic goddess: Khmer edition

Almost all our classmates were Aussies- it was funny to hear them all talking in Aussie accents to each other! Not something I hear often, esp as I can't seem to get Radio Australia very clearly these days.

And if you want to see a video of cooking Khmer food have a look at this. I don't know if its any good or not as my internet isn't fast enough to watch videos.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Banteay Meanchey (mum visit part 4)

The road from Siem reap to Sway sisophon (Banteay Meanchey province) is done! Last year it was so bumpy with lots of detours and we felt like we were out in the middle of nowhere.

Battembang (mum visit part 3)

In Battembang we saw a train station- can you spot the train tracks?

We also saw this guy with 8 arms...

...and some crocodiles. We also saw a graduate of the Bible school who is now working at a church there.

Sunrise over Angkor Wat (mum visit part 2)

While we were in Siem Reap we saw the sunrise over Angkor Wat, the famous ancient temples that are on the Cambodian flag.

Last few weeks... (mum visit part 1)

We drove around the big lake again. Almost the same trip as last year, but this time we went in the opposite direction and we took both our mums! I'll tell you more over the next few blog posts.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crossword clues part 2

Some of you may have just got our crossword in the mail, please ask us if you need more clues than you can find on here. And if you want to see our news and photos, I keep a journal on Kronicle Extra.
* The Mekong river runs through Kompong Cham
* Our church meets at a place where students live
* Floors can be made of bamboo
* Kimsoeun's first contact with Christianity was by watching a movie

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pol Pot's old high school (crossword clue)

Here is the gate of the high school that Pol Pot went to, although his family wasn't from Kampong Cham. This school is named after Norodom Sihanouk, father of the current king.

This should help if you are doing Kronicle Crossword! Ask us if you need any more hints.

Friday, July 03, 2009

the end of the year

Today is the last day of the school year at the Bible school- so bye bye students! Over the last week we have also said goodbye to a few expat friends, and to the tree outside our house. It fell down in a big storm as you can see here.
So we spent last Saturday cleaning up bits of branch and tiles, then got a student to help a few days later.

How many bananas can fit on one motorbike?