Tuesday, December 23, 2014
So far we have both ridden on my bike to find houses for rent.
Today after a medical appointment toddler and i tuk tuked around looking for places.
We have the use of a car while friends are overseas for Christmas and all 3 of us and a friend drove around in that a few times.
Some other friends have also gone overseas for christmas and today we went to pick up their moto and then did some house hunting on that. First time for the toddler to go on a moto out in the traffic. Traffic feels not so bad here compared to phnom penh.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
So last week all our stuff was put on an open truck and spent the day getting jolted around and getting dusty. We arrived safely but tired. Relatives and Soeun stayed two nights to recover , then the toddler and I were left on our own. soeun went back to clean and finish up. While he was gone it was partly a fun holiday for me , exploring our new town and going to
Sunday, December 07, 2014
We went right through the alphabet and recently finished with Z is for zip and zoom.
However, it seems lots of the emails are going to spam (recently?). Please let me know by email or facebook if you get our newsletters in your spam or inbox. I'd like to get an idea of who is getting what and work out what to do next year, thanks
Thursday, November 27, 2014
We've been to our last proper playgroup, were prayed for at the end by a friend while the toddler was SCREAMING cos he was so tired.
My Bible study group which i just rejoined 2 years finally got to the final chapter of Romans, I have one last meeting with them for Christmas brunch.
The other week I bought some packing boxes, slowly putting them together and thinking about filling them. SOme books are already in tubs, and baby stuff we have finished with for now is boxed.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
...my Canadian and Swiss friends (who live in Cambodia) are discussing how glad they are to be missing the cold grey blizzardy weather
...my Khmer neighbours are dressing their kids in their warmest clothes, its getting cold here, I think it got down to 26 deg
...meanwhile I'm feeling relief that its the one time of year when its not too hot
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Its been nice these past 2 years to live in an area where a lot of people put their rubbish in a basket or bucket. The rubbish truck comes and the collectors empty the rubbish into the truck and leave the basket/bucket on the side of the road!
Still the dogs get into the bins and spread rubbish around occasionally. It can be pretty gross to come home and have to step over the dirty nappies to get inside!
And then last week our basket disappeared...I think the collectors dropped it in the wrong place, I walked around and saw some that may have been ours but not sure. So we have a new one now, but there were a few days when we just piled our rubbish up at our gate.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Sunday, November 09, 2014
He had left that morning at 5am with a bunch of young people from church. They had all stayed over the night before so they could leave on the bus, needing an early start as they were headed for a far away province.
My friends asked me what they would be doing on the trip.
"Nothing." I said.
I was jokingly corrected, "Oh thats called a 'retreat'. If you call it a retreat it sounds more spiritual."
Well, they finally got back on Saturday night, one day late as they were having so much fun. I've been looking through the photos on our camera to see what this nothing/retreat was about.
It was a very photographed trip, as everyone had a camera on their phone. While they were away I saw some selfies pop up on facebook, and then on our camera there are photos of the selfies being taken....
Some of the activities included....
....fellowship with the youth at the local church
....visiting ancient temples (spot the random French person!)
|Unable receive the GPS information|
It was amusing to me to hear that there were 22 phones being charged plus 2 other devices. Amused partly because the house isn't connected to mains power, and partly because there were less than 22 people. NB, there was only one toilet- 22 phones and 1 toilet, doesn't add up for me.
Recently solar panels have started getting cheap enough to buy. I don't know what all the city youth would have done without it. I'm not sure how many power boards and extension cords were used! A tangled web on a wooden floor.
They arrived home tired and happy on Saturday afternoon. Soeun then had to get ready to preach the next morning,
Saturday, November 08, 2014
We're leaving Phnom Penh soon and I find myself swinging between the 2 of these. On one hand I feel like I should spend as much time as I can outside with the people on our street as there is not much time left. On the other, I feel like what is the point of putting more effort into these relationship when we will have to say goodbye soon.
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
An example of this came up this afternoon. There are a group of young people (Khmer) from the city who have gone to spend a few days in the province. They planned to have a program with the youth at the local church at 4pm..... but no one turned up until 6pm.....2 hours late......
Even Khmer people have these annoying culture difference events, so imagine the foreigner!
0. Wait until your husband is away.
1. Have a Khmer friend over in the afternoon to put the rice on, she and her kids all wearing red tops.
2. Have one family bring over the curry, Water Festival snack for dessert, drink etc, whole family wearing pink/orangey/yellow type colour tops
3. Have another family bring watermelon cut to look like Christmas trees or fish. This family all wearing green tops.
4. Arrange the tables in front of the TV (to watch the coverage of the Water Festival, boats races, floating lights, marks when the river runs backwards- strange but true)
6. Have the token Cambodian prepare ombok (rice flakes eaten at Water Festival) with banana and coconut in a way that you haven't eaten before even though you have been in Cambodia for about 5 proper Water Festivals.
7. Get one of the guests to sweep and mop the floor after dinner.
8. Store left over watermelon and freshly got coconut juice in the fridge ready for playgroup tomorrow
9. Have a guest take cute photo of all the one year olds sitting on the stairs.
From the newspaper, Festival kindles painful memories (of 2010 stampede)
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|
Monday, November 03, 2014
Later this week is a holiday, Water Festival we call it in English. It hasn't been held properly since the stampede in 2010. Its a huge national boat race week to mark when the river runs backwards, usually many ppl from all over the country come to PP, so its really crowded. Perhaps like Tamworth during January but more extreme as Cambodians generally more packed in than AUssies anyway.
Saturday, November 01, 2014
|Afternoon fun- I often see motos or bikes around with a string of roller blading kids attached to the back!|
|Here is one of the roads in the filled in lake- or the refilled lake?|
Monday, October 20, 2014
It s so nice to have this space, in Phnom Penh its hard to find a place to hang out out side as most of the surfaces are covered in either buildings, ppl selling things or rubbish. Also its mostly too hot. Our neighbours mostly bring their kids out around 5-6pm. Most of the day this area is deserted but around that time its a colourful chaos of prams, roller blades, scooters, balls, pet dogs and even a monkey!
There are also a group of older women who do laps, walking around the outside doing exercise. I only recently realised our toddler put his hands together in a formal Khmer greeting (prayer hands) when he sees the "grandmas". They have been greeting him almost his whole life, and they all know his name.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Thursday, October 09, 2014
When I first came to Cambodia I was told that people don't go out to things if its raining. I thought that was kind of funny. I still turned up to teach my English class when it rained, but found no students there!
And the other week it rained in the morning. It was a Sunday, the time we were normally getting ready to go to church. We decided not to go as it was raining. When you are on a moto or even a tuk tuk a lightening storm with strong wind is scary! Also the roads around church flood, and its just so much work to drive through them, esp as you can't see the potholes under the water. I've come off my bike 2 times while riding over flooded pothole streets so I'm afraid of them now.
Some people in this part of the world stick a white menthol patch to their head when they have a headache. Looks really weird and funny to me. Last week I had a headache and neck ache. I got Soeun to stick some band aid looking things on my neck, it make it feel nice! Was able to get to sleep.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Sometimes the question doesn't mean the same thing to the askee/questioned as it does to the asker/questioner.
In Cambodia its one of the major holidays, the religious stuff goes for about 2 weeks and the last 3 days are public holidays, many people travel to see relatives. So around this time everyone in Cambodia asks each other what they are doing for the holiday. Its totally relevant to ask within Cambodia but totally irrelevant to ask of people who live in Australia and are not Cambodia.
It reminded me of 2 other questions:
What are you doing for Christmas? (when I'm asked by a fellow Aussie, or other white person)
What are you doing for the summer? (when I'm asked by a fellow expat white person , usually from North American)
Friday, September 26, 2014
*I saw some Australian friends!
*I found out Canadians say the final letter of the alphabet "correctly"
* Knowing that today my government is planning on signing the refugee deal with Cambodia, happening now
* Knowing the budget cuts kick in and this is the last week of the Aussie channel, hardly compares to the yuckiness of the refugee deal, or the other budget cuts but it has been nice to watch Aussie TV, the baby watches Playschool and Giggle and Hoot, I watch Sunday night dramas and the news. If I want to hear and Aussie accent from nextweek I'll have to turn on the radio or internet.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
I recently saw this cinnamon packet in a shop and asked Soeun about the khmer name for cinnamon. I hadn't heard of it used in Khmer cooking so I was surprised to see this was made in Cambodia. Soeun said when he was little he heard people talking about "sweet wood" used in medicine. THen i remebered when i was in CHina i used to buy cinnamon from the chemist.
For some reason I alwyas thought I had to buy cooking foil at the market, I guess I haven't seen khmer use it much, but recently I got some at the market after ages trying to explain what it was- like paper but made of metal.. "oh you want to cook fish"" no i ddon't want to cook fish but i said yes anyway and the seller handed me the foil!
And the other thing is cheese cloth, well thats what I call it. PPl use it cover dishes and food, and wipe dishes and maybe strain food too.
Saturday, July 05, 2014
The process of choosing what I want to buy had been so much like it would be in Aust and in the big supermarkets like Thai Hout and Lucky, I had unconsciously expected that when I went to pay I would be part of a line of people. However it turned out to be claustrophobic huddle like at the market.
I don't think it bothers me at the market, I know its going to be like that, having that expectation is the difference between just going with the flow or getting irritable.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
- eating a hamburger with a Khmer couple,
-some Cambodian curry with a Dutch/Aussie family,
-cottage pie with a UK/Aussie (Chinese Malaysian) family
-as well as lots of coffee and bread with the Danish couple we stayed with. That was great for me but poor Soeun was starving so they brought in some white rice for him (they don't have any in their house).
Also had a visit from some of the extended family. As an Aussie I find the relationship titles on the Khmer side so amusing. For example with met a 3 year old boy who is our baby's "nephew" and our "grandchild".
Our baby enjoyed the company/ entertainment of the 4 half Aussie kids we spent time with, as well as his Cambodian nephew.
Our trip there was an adventure, one good thing was the TV was broken.
When we got there we found that all the expats pretty much only go on the expensive safe bus which costs almost 3 times as much. I didn't realise there was such a difference, but we were happy to go back on a bus with brakes that worked, had 2 drivers on board, had leg room (no need to squash in sideways), suspension (bumps become kind of fun rather than painful), and it was really clean and they gave a water and a snack!! And the places they stopped had toilets with hand washing facilities and toilet paper which was a nice surprise, although the food was more expensive, some meals were $4.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
I find it weird that even though we may not know the family we know straight away that this is happening. Whereas Soeun finds it weird that we know nothing else about people who live less than 100 metres from us.
Later that day a huge tent was set up in the street with tables, and another tent outside our house for the kitchen. The noise of music, monks and cooking continued for a few days, often starting around 4 or 5am.
Soeun heard that it was a grandma who had died, and he heard the announcment about when they were taking the body to the place where they burn them. It just sounded like noise to me, constant clanging and babbling. Soeun spent his pre-school years with his grandpa who was a religious leader, he often went to death beds to chant, and Soeun went with him.
It was a relief to me when I saw a vehicle like this the one in the photo coming down our street. It was to take the body away and the 2 tents packed up on the same day. No more noise!
Similar things happen for weddings and one year old parties around here.
Saturday, June 07, 2014
7 of the previous 11 days we had workmen in our house, plus Soeun had been sick. It meant that some days we had to stay home when we had planned to go out, and some days go out when we had planned to stay home. Most of our regular weekly activities went out the window, along with some one-off special things we were looking forward.
Some days we had to stay home and let in the workmen, who sometimes turned up on the day they said they would. Some days we had to go out as there was no where safe for the baby to play or because we felt it was wise to go to the doctor, with Soeun's headache getting worse each day. And mostly we didn't know ahead of time- the workmen would come unexpectedly or not turn up when we thought they would, and with Soeun health we kept thinking he might be getting better so no need to go to the doctor.
They fixed heaps of stuff that we had been waiting for ages to fix eg plumbing issues we noticed 6 months ago that would have been there the whole time. We are the first people to live in the house, its new, so its not like these leaks happened with the wear and tear of time, the shower drains were just never hooked together and sealed, so the shower water was seeping into walls and ceilings. Fixing that only took a day, but then they had to deal with the 18 months of water damage that had caused - sanding and painting.
Also the upstairs electricity has always had issues. It keeps turning itself off , I think thats a safety feature. We have had people into look at it before but the issues are ongoing, and these guys also couldn't find anything wrong with it. But then, because they were here for so long they got to see what happens when its on (I think one of them got an electric shock).
They also fixed a leaky toilet, that only took a few minutes, but the leaky roof ended up taking a few days.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Its been so hot and sticky lately, well I guess it mostly is that way here. I pretty much wear the same all year round: t-shirts and open shoes (usually thongs, or flip flops as most English speakers call them, or slippers if you are from Singapore etc). So different to when I was growing up, winter clothes, summer clothes etc.
...his headache got heaps stronger, he's had it since Thursday. And last night he had some funny episode where he suddenly felt really weird, a bit like after he got bitten by a scorpion. So this morning when his pain was increasing, it scared us and reminded us of the 2 years we were in Aust recently. We actually talked about going to see the doctor, and Soeun is really sick of going to hospitals, so must be pretty serious He had been taking parra, but then this morning I went and got something stronger and that seemed to help for today. Still pain, but not so intense.
So because of that we asked 2 younger sisters/aunties to come over to help out. They had breakfast at our place, they arrived while I was out going from chemist to chemist looking for painkillers.
And then 3 tradesman turned up. They came last Saturday, and then for 10 hours last Sunday and a few hours on Monday. I had thought it was all done so we were surprised to see them. I thought they were just checking their work. But they ended up staying all day, needed to do more stuff on the roof and also sanding and painting inside. So it was noisy and dusty! (still need to come back again)
Quite a contrast to how I thought the day would go.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
And the last few months (March- April) are the hottest in Cambodia, and where I come from we call the hottest time of year summer.
And before that was Feb, and I went to visit my parents and siblings, which is something I would usually only ever do in summer.
And before that was Dec/Jan when it is summer in Aust, and while not very hot here, still warm. Also, that's when Christmas is so that made it feel summery.
Monday, May 05, 2014
2. alcohol, building materials, hygiene products
3. Khmer, Nth American, Korean
4. roof, plumbing, electricity
a) common things advertised on TV
b) things that need to be fixed in our house
c) things the baby has eaten recently
d) people we see in a normal month
Thursday, April 24, 2014
I was so surprised, I have never seen/heard him do that before, and I didn't know he would recognise them.
Just then Soeun noticed some orange flowers near our gate. He was surprised to see the blooms as there was no soil in the pot He had chucked a whole heap of bulbs in there ages ago after digging them up to use the soil for herbs.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 2014
-Lots of cold showers/ bath/ hose downs (if your tap water isn't stored up in the sun!)
-Embrace the mango
-Don't be 30-something weeks pregnant
-Lots of cold showers/ bath/ hose downs
- Get fly screens on the windows so you can get some air flow at night without too many mossies.
- Keep fans, lights, devices charged
-Lots of cold showers/ bath/ hose downs
-Don't be a mad dog or English man
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Friday, January 31, 2014
over here on overflow blog.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Sunday, January 05, 2014
Saturday, January 04, 2014
|Countdown NYE food at church! Are the chicken using their feet to countdown?!|
Yesterday I took a friend and her kids to an indoor play area in town. We were going to stay there all day to make the most of the one hour tuk tuk ride. But the daily protests turned violent and people advised us to go home, as they were worried the streets would become more chaotic. A few people were killed, that was what everyone was talking about.
We had a power cut for about 10 hours, so I didn't have much internet access, and I discovered Baby does not like the dark. I was very glad when the lights came back on around 7.30pm!
Baby is enjoying sitting and eating with a spoon. Doesn't seem to matter what s on the spoon , he just likes eating from it.