Friday, December 20, 2013

Water freezes at 0 deg C, Cambodians freeze at 22deg

The main thing people are talking about is how cold it is these days, the paper said its the coldest in about 30 years. Some of my friends are feeling sick and miserable because they just can't get warm, even though they are wearing their warmest clothes.

Its been in the low 20s, so for me its a relief as Im usually feeling too hot. I went for a walk the other day, about 2km, something i would do everyday in Aust, but its just too hot and dusty here (and I'm sharing the road with motorbikes and 4wd, even without a pram and the potholes it quite exhausting).

This is one of the times that being an expat is frustrating/isolating. Most of the the people I see in a normal week are genuinely feeling really cold, and I don't think they believe me, or really get it if I tell them I'm not.

It is much colder than usual, ( I even found my pair of socks as I wanted to wear them the other night. In the end I didn't because it was hard to walk, too slippery, all our floors are tile) but I feel happy about it, not something to complain about!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

You know its cold season when...

... people wear big jackets in the morning.
...going outside takes way less effort.
...doing anything physical takes way less effort.
...people tell to you to put long pants on your baby.
...all the other babies are wearing winter clothes. Aussie missionary writes on fb that it got down to 23- Freezing! Awesome! Bible study group the fans get turned off and the scarves come out.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

expanding city, changing neighbourhood, time to explore!

Now that the city has expanded out to us (in a way), and I've done all the hard things for the year (in a way- moving back to Cambodia twice, once from Aust, second time from having Baby in Thailand) I'm finally getting to know the people around us and enjoying the area. Also now that I'm not pregnant and I've had my shots not so concerned about what i eat- eg MSG, typhoid etc. (not that i'm trying to get sick!!)

Plus its cool season- doing everything is WAY EASIER than in hot season.

Recently discovered some places to eat, close by, cheap. Dinner is about $1.50 (US dollar) and this pork and rice breakfast in the photo is about $1 dollar.  And unlike other khmer places i've eaten it doesn't feel to chaotic. I used to eat for 50 cents with some khmer teachers, it was on a street corner, lots of motos whizzing by just just centre metres away etc, so exhausting. This food is 3 times the price and for me thats worth it. They even hold my baby when I eat.

And if you know phnom penh traffic and "public transport" you'll understand what a big bonus it is that I can walk there.
Out for breakfast, pork and rice, yum!
There was a 50 cent place near us when we lived before but whenever the Bible school students went there the got sick, so I never tried it. I did eat "khmer noodles" on the street near by but they always made me a bit sick. But they were so yummy and the seller was so nice so I kept buying them and eating them and getting a little bit sick. I don't think I ever got sick from street food in China, but here its different.

Eating out alone at nearby shop, so easy and cheap, free baby holding with my 1.50$ fried rice, comes with icedtea, great for weekends when Soeun is at church til late
When I first moved to this area of town there weren't any internet cafes, and we didn't have it at home either, it seemed like no companies service this area (maybe they did but it was expensive). Now we have net at home and a net cafe a few min walk away! So internet access is much easier, and at this time of the year not many power cuts, probs as easy as it gets.

Also these days there are lots of paved roads, which make means my back isn't so sore and my house isn't so dusty.

There are a number of Western cafes/ food chains that deliver here now, we tried a few years ago but they always said they only deliver with in the tourist map, now I get get food from Java (1.50 delivery fee), The Pizza Co, The Shop Too and probably others. Also there are now some supermarkets only 5km- ish away from here, it used to be a longer journey. Sometimes I'd be bringing cheese back by bike, 40 min in the PP sun is not good for dairy products!

We used to eat either on campus with the students (which also cost around 50 cents) or buy food from the near by market and cook it ourselves, not living on campus has been quite different.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Lull between broken things getting fixed

Over the last week we've been enjoying not having any people coming to fix our house. The original tradespeople from the company who built the house didn't come back for ages, so our new landlord found another one. So finally they drilled up more tiles and cement on our roof and in our bedroom, and fixed the electricity the bought some more tiles and put them on. So now we have electricity and the power works- and we don't have to step over holes of rubble to get to the washing machine. And we don't have water seeping in in the roof.

Having the noise and dust and people was pretty annoying, felt like there wasn't anywhere safe for Baby.

However the wet/ mildew patch on the downstairs ceiling is growing. And we noticed there are other wet patches on internal walls, so maybe a pipe is leaking or something. We did point the patch out to the landlord last time, but there were more urgent things then. Fixing this might been not just drilling up certain bits of the floor, maybe they have to hack out huge chunks of wall???!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Recently Soeun went out with the Baby and I stayed home (it was during the month that we hired a car). He found it amusing that people saw him with a "white person" baby and assumed he was paid to look after the expats baby. Kind of the same/opposite to when other white Aussies with Khmer husbands get asked when they adopted their baby.
Well since I wrote the last post things have been a bit more settled, a little more sleep and a little less dealing with broken things.

Although one room doesn;t have power now, and we are still waiting for them to come back and fix the roof after they hacked it up to fix the power to the washing machine. And today one of the powerpoints in our room was making a loud noise and the floor near it was really hot, so i turned off the power to out bedroom too. Hope they don't need to hack up our bedroom. So noisy and dirty and it takes ages, and they have to keep going to do other jobs, we never know if they are coming back later today or later in the month.

Friday, October 18, 2013

this month

Today is the 8th day of the fridge not working! The ice boxes are great as a sub fridge but not as a freezer. I've been buying ice once or twice a day, and eating through all the food that I was storing in the freezer.
Also the roof is leaking, the electricity to the washing machine hasn't been working, the internet was off,  and we are between landlords atm. So lots of different people in and out of the house.

The baby slept well from mid July to mid Sept but last few weeks has been hard to get to sleep at night, he goes to sleep from around 8pm but only sleeps for a few min then wakes up screaming again, usually until midnight-ish, then sleep for 2-3 hours at a time after that. We're getting tired! And since tuesday am Soeun has had a sore neck/back/head. It gets a git better each day but he has been in pain and not been able to move very much last few days.

So with all that it feels like we haven't done much this week, other than open the door to trades people and rock a screaming baby.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Getting ready to travel words, and travelling photos

Last week was a bit crazy. Our internet was off for about a week, the power upstairs wasn't working, Baby had a few nights of bad sleep... so we were both tired and Soeun was busy making calls and letting trades men in and out. To fix the power they had to smash up some cement to get to the line... they only just built the house, lol! have to smash up cement already.

We put his mat under a mossie net on the verandah at grandma's

So we were starting to think we might have to call our trip off. We have hired a car for a month, and borrrowed a baby car seat. This time of year everyone is visiting their home province. It worked out well for us as I wanted to visit Soeun's family around now, Baby is pretty easy to look after these days. When he was younger he screamed and didn't sleep so we were really tired, and in the future he'll learn to crawl etc.

Bath time lit by a car battery

I was nervous about the trip cos it was my first time going to visit my mother in laws new house. She lives in a more remote place now, with no power, and not near a big market, shops, internet cafe etc.  I've been to the village before, back in 2009, its so different to what i'm used to. Also there's malaria and traffic accidents to think about, which feel more risky being away from the medical care in the city.

So we were busy and tired, and no internet and it was noisy cos they were smashing up the cement...and then I was packing for somewhere I'd never been before... it was a bit stressful!!!

But it worked out ok, the previous posts have some photos as well.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Baby's first province trip, some photo

It got a bit cold, we took our warmest clothes

Too many bananas growing, sometimes they end up on the ground

No kitchen sink, or kitchen bench- I don't understand how their kitchen works! Its hard to offer to help, i can' really work out what is going on. Soeun made this pump so they can get water in the house easily.

on grandma's farm, pineapple photos

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

on the road

 We hired a car to visit people.. mostly the roads we needed have been smooth, they are new and happened to be free from flooding, occasional water buffalo herds.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fun-style summary

Just found this scrap book style timeline of recent events- its got tweets, photos etc from the post election protest that happened here recently.

Monday, September 16, 2013

What happened yesterday/ last night

So last night after i posted the previous bit someone I follow on twitter sent a photo and said somebody had been shot and killed. Thomas Cristofolleti was there at the clash on the bridge. As well as that first photo he has these amazing ones here. I wasn't sure if it was true, there have been also sorts of rumours going around on fb etc all year, but it turns out it was true, so sad. (altho different stories on what happened to time.) Hopefully this isn't a taste of whats to come? When I was watching this video on youtube the clips coming up in the side bar were all to do with Eygpt.
This video is a good summary of what happened yesterday, also the blog by fellow expat explains it well too.
I havne't been on twitter as much as yesterday but here are some photos from day 2 of the freedom park protest. Looks festive!
Today also leaders talked for a few hours and came out with 3 points.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

both boys sick today, i spent a lot of time on twitter and watching live feeds from in town, day one of protests- esp followed Kevin Doyle as he followed around the protestors- right now he is where a clash is taking place near a bridge you can see in this traffic camera 
Lots of action on twitter this morning as day 1 of a 3 day protest starts. Lots of barricades and roads blocked off, lots of police around, 1000s and 1000s of protesters- they marched even though were told they weren't allowed to. They are planning to stay out during the night as well but have been told it must finish at 6pm each day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

These days in Phnom Penh

Since the end of July the post election issues have been the main thing in The Phnom Penh Post,
 and since even before the election heaps of stuff on facebook esp from "i love Cambodia Hot News".

I found a blog from an expat that sums up what has been happening etc, I don't know this women but I gather she also lives in PP with Khmer family. New Tomorrows

On twitter people are using #electionskh

On Saturday there was a huge protest, which despite fears turned out to be peaceful, as they had planned. Starting on  the 15th there will be 3 days of protest.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


At the start of the year it felt like we had a lot of hard things to do, and now those things are over. Phew! Feeling more relaxed and happy than I was in March.

Pack up our place in Aust, work out how we were going to get back to Cambodia, visit people in various places, set up house in Cambodia, work out what country to give birth in, go to Thailand, have baby, come back and get settled again.

Now we've done all that and as far as I can tell most of the rest of the year I'm just doing the same thing each day- feed baby, wash nappies, etc. Big sigh of relief!

Also, now we have less heat, less mozzies, less time with the power off AND as of yesterday sounds like the issue with our house is resolved. Another big sigh of relief.
Daddy and Baby at church a few weeks ago

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Settling back in...

It was weird coming back after being away for 3 months. Trying to remember where we keep things in the kitchen and which TV channels have which numbers, so many new buildings, roads etc.

The baby is mostly sleeping at night now, and feeding is much easier than those first few weeks. I don't have a sore back anymore, and there are lots of different places I can feed him so feels more relaxed. And i guess once you do something for awhle it just gets easier. I was given a kindle so i've been downloading and reading lots of free books while I feed. I don't think I could have done that in the first weeks.

I've been spending time with neighbours thanks to the the fact that the baby prefers to be outside with people than inside with boring mummy and daddy. Other kids around here the same size as him seem to be 10 months old! He is bigger than a khmer baby.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Back in Cambodia

I've been warned about it.

I've seen it done to other people.
And this morning it happened to me.

Just arrived back in Cambodia with new born, took him outside this morning for a walk in the cool air, as its so hot inside. A grandma who was walking along came to talk to me.

She said something like :Your baby is cold, wait until the afternoon then he wont feel so cold. He will catch a cold if you bring him out now with not enough clothes on.

I wanted to tell her that when we spent the whole day in aircon (on the way back the airports and planes all had aircon) he was happy and slept well. I think he actually finds it too hot here.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Thankful for last few months

My first trimester was hard, Soeun was sick, I was sick, we didn't know what country we were going to have the baby in. Where could we go???- hoping for somewhere we could trust the medical care, where we could both be healthy and have somewhere to stay. It seemed like it was all to hard.

We had wanted to go back to Cambodia with an organisation but that didn't work out with everything else going on (we would have had to stay in Aust longer to go through the application process which involved health checks), and it was scary when I found out they required us to have health insurance but I couldn't be covered for maternity as I was already pregnant. We felt like we needed to get settled back in Cambodia asap as we weren't coping with life in Aust, and really needed to feel better before having a baby. But there would only be a few months for us to be in Cambodia before the baby came, so it wasn't ideal to go back anyway, as we would probably need to leave in a few months if we were to give birth outside Cambodia.

For most of my pregnancy I was travelling , first within Aust to visit church/supporters/family etc, then to Cambodia and finally to Thailand. And most of it we were trying to work out which country to give birth in. (Phnom Penh? Bangkok? KL?if in aust, which state/town? there is no one natural/obvious place)

 Thankfully we were together for the birth and had good experience of labour- painful of course, but happy we could be together for it and it went smoothly. The combo of the expat Birth Team here (who helped us prepare for birth ,and have been helping with breastfeeding etc) and the Christian guesthouse (designed for Christian workers in the region to come for a rest/ medical care etc)  have made it a fantastic place for us to be. Along with the good medical care here in Chiang Mai , Thailand it feels like the perfect place for us to be spending these months as we transition from two to three.

Three other families have also had babies here this month, the others had their 3rd and 4th kids. We've got to know lots of different guests from all over the world in our time here, mostly they only stay for a week or so. The other 3 families have also been here for about the same time as us, so it will be weird when it comes time to say goodbye!

The guesthouse does food and laundry for us, and has lots of nice people and trees, so its the perfect place to be when you are sore/ sleepy/ stressed. Also the rest of life is on hold and we can both just focus on getting to know the baby.

Once we go home we'll be busy with the rest of life, work, housework (its been great not having to go to the market and tryng to plan meals we both like) and obligations to people.

 Although its only the 2 of us in the house we rent we end up having various relatives and fake relatives staying for meals and nights, sometimes planned, sometimes spontaneous. Recently some friends stayed in our house cos their roof blew off in a storm, other times they have got locked out, or its been too stormy to go home (lightening + motorbike!!)

Its great we can be part of community and help people out, but I find this aspect of life stressful, esp as I've only been back in Cambodia a few months, so I'm still getting used to things.

I think I'm going to find it hard going back, I'm sure there will be plenty of people who will want to help, which can have its pros and cons in our situation.

We've applied for the first bit of paper work, when that comes through we can do the second stage, then we'll be able to leave Thailand.

The photo album from Kronicle Extra blog is here, if you go right to the end you'ss see the baby photos- the most recent ones are last, and this photo album has all the photos from our overflow blog.
On our other blog Kronicle Extra see Getting the Baby out 

first four photos of the 3 of us

Thursday, June 13, 2013

More on Baby

If you want more details about adventures in newborn land, and more baby photos have a look at my "overflow" blog Kronicle Extra

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

a less busy week

So it looks like Tuesday night is the big social outing night- the last 3 weeks I've come home from the clinic with other pregnant people. One of them has already given birth, but a few new ones have appeared!
Last week we worked out although it looked like there were only 5 of us in the car there were actually 8 people.

Yesterday I went to the hospital where I'm planning to give birth, I filled in a paper and got a hospital number on a card back. Then back to our leafy guesthouse for lunch with a women who will be helping with the birth (hopefully, if he comes while she is in town). She is Swiss but studying to be a mid wife in the Philippines.  I met her through the expat birth team network here.

We're still working out how to do the paperwork for the birth, looks like we have a few different options (sending a person down, sending the documents by EMS).

Buying dinner on the way home from the Tuesday night pregnant  outing to clinic

Soeun is trying some new med and less exposure to inside dust. The doctor here reckons if we treat his dust allergy his inner ear will be more healthy and it will deal with his fatigue and insomnia.

At this point in time it feels like being pregnant and trying to get healthy is a full time job for us! I think i imagined we would be doing stuff in these weeks, but we only have enough energy to do the essentials it feels like. So we are very thankful we are staying somewhere that means we can just focus on health for now.  Don't feel like we have energy to look after a baby- but we don't have a baby yet so thats ok for now.
I'm enjoying public transport here, feels safe, smooth, easy and comfy. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

something new to try

I think my memory of Thailand is going to be all about 7 eleven and doctors! We spent the day in the hospital, so missed lunch, although it was nice to be in air con all day!!

 Saw a doctor about Soeun's health and it seemed to make sense. We only went to this doc cos we have time now, it didn't feel like it was going to be useful as we have already spent a few years seeing different docs and trying different things. We ran out of energy in Aust, but now that we've had some breathing space we started investigating again, and seems fruitful (to our surprise). We'll see what happens over the next little while with meds and lifestyle changes.

slowing down

Feeling like things are less hectic now, thankful yesterday both of us did pretty much nothing all day which was a relief. Enjoying staying here with the trees, grass, birds and various other things like geckos.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

within 2 weeks

Over the last 2 weeks I've lived in
1 room, visited
2 hospitals, been to
3 doctors clinics and
4 birth classes.
 I've lost track of the number of 7elevens and song thaews (red ute, public transport) I've been in, and the number of nice friendly helpful people I've met.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

blue spot

We just had lunch with a couple from our birth class, and at one point in the convo I felt like they had got together before hand and come up with a baby fact I'd never heard of, it was a bizarre experience!

The other father-to-be is American (white) and the other mother-to-be is Chinese (from China). The father told us how he had recently found out that most asian babies are born with a blue spot that normally fades after a few months.

Soeun and I were both surprised for different reasons. I was surprised as I'd never heard of it before, and he was surprised because he thought all babies had that and was surprised that I and the other father-to-be didn't know about it.

So now all 4 of us are wondering if our half asian babies will have the blue spot.

Thursday, May 02, 2013


The thought of having a baby is quite daunting, and the thought of going to a new country is also daunting. But thats what we are doing... well we've just arrived in a new country and getting ready to have a baby. 
We've been travelling in these red utes, much more comfy than a motor bike!

Getting ready to come here and travelling here felt like a big effort, thought once I got here I would be more relaxed, but the first week has felt busy, good busy! Enjoying getting to know some people here, other expats from various places and others giving birth as well as those who can help us at this stage of life.  The main reason we came here was because of the network, and so far it has been great.

More of our first week is on other blog click here.
Lots of nice trees!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Khmer New Year- frogs, a funeral and stormy weather

Fried frog!
Soeun spent a few days with friends in a village for the biggest holiday of the year. Normally we would visit relatives in the province, but its not practical for me to travel at the moment so this was the next best thing.

 Lots of dancing, games and yummy food, also a funeral. This time of year is extra dangerous on the road and a member of the community he was visiting had a fatal moto accident.

It was awkward as the dancing place in the village was right near the deceased's house. Normally the funeral would have involved everyone and gone on for a few days, but they just had some monks chant for half an hour and then the dancing continued as normal. That was on the 3rd day of the holiday, the 4th day there would have normally been dancing too, probably as by then everyone knew about what happened and didn't feel it was appropriate.

It was only meant to be 2 nights away for Soeun, but on the day he was supposed to ride the moto back to Phnom Penh it was too dangerous due to wind and lightening. So he tried again the next day, but there were still storms. He finally came back, 2 days late and got some friends to ride with him to make it safer. So they cut their stay in the village short to help him, but then found their student accommodation wasn't accessible so ended up having to stay 2 nights with us!

So the last 4 nights have been different to how we expected, but seems like its all settled down now. Even the weather seems to have gone back to mostly just hot.

Monday, April 15, 2013

new year, the year of the snake has finally begun in cambodia

The new year angel arrival time was 2am this year, so it was pretty noisy the other night. We're usually visiting relative in the province where its very noisy at the angel arrival time, it didn't seem such a big event in PP- maybe cos less peeople here, or maybe cos I'm in a big brick house so didn't notice it? Strangely the weather seems a bit cooler this week, sometimes even dropping below 30 deg C, I needed to use a top sheet the other night!!! Nice to have some cool restful days at home.

power cut update

Charging our lights- these ones can be charged either by the sun or mains power, our best friends in March, along with our ice sellers
Well, the last few days the power cuts have been back to "normal", ie how they were in Jan/Feb. Yesterday the power was off 3 times, but for less than an hour each time. Much easier to cope with than in March when it was mostly off during the day- and for us there was a week where it was totally off day and night for 4 days in a row!!

The hardest thing was being hot and having to throw out all the food in the freezer that we didn't have time to eat/cook/give away.

 I had been stocking up as with the heat, pregnancy and traffic the way it is I didn't want to have to go out too much in April. But my planning ahead was in vain! Although the ice boxes/ esky helped keep some stuff cool, they didn't really work for keeping raw meat and bread frozen. i don't think I'll be using my toaster again until after the baby is born, but we've got some meat in there now.

Market photos

Buying beef

Our local market is quite new, lots of construction going on. When we were here 2 years ago this was a lake!

Lemongrass, chili and ginger (ginger is often used more like a veg rather than just for flavour)

You can get shredded coconut to make milk for curries.

Fish sellers

Duck eggs. You can get chicken eggs, but harder to find. 

bananas and jasmine sticks sold for worship

Setting up house, settling in... yes, still doing that even tho been here a few months

Buying a water filter

Less mossies, more airflow, thanks to Soeun's invention
 So, although we've been here for a few months we're still doing things like getting curtains for some of the rooms. With the hot sun streaming through the windows, the rooms are pretty much un- useable. Its taken awhile to to as both of us find it hard going out in the traffic (no one like PP traffic, but finding it particularly hard with dizziness and pregnancy). The heat, bumpy roads and chaos mean we only go out when we have to.
Fly screen making, part 2
Soeun has a drill, and hooks and rods for curtains, as well as fabric. He's measured and marked the wall. He invited a friend over a couple of times to help with the drilling, but the power seems to be always off when his friend comes to help. Hopefully the friend will be free at the same time as the power is on, as we'll be needing to use more room soon!

He and a few students recently spent a few days giving our fly screens an upgrade. Earlier he had stuck some screen up on a few windows, but some of them had fallen down. Soeun came up with another way to keep the screen up, so he and others went to buy the materials and then spent a few days re-doing some windows, as well as doing some for the first time.

Some students had some extra free time with the holidays- as it took longer than expected so we ended up having people stay the night and have extra meals here.