Thursday, December 17, 2015
A long termer nodded knowingly when we shared our frustration. They explained that as we were from Australia, where people drive on the other side of the road, we also subconsciously walk on the other side of the road too. So all the people in our host country thought we were the ones being rude?!
I try to remember this experience when I'm feeling frustrated with things in Cambodia. Sometimes it seems people are being so rude, or various other negative things that make life hard. But I keep trying to tell myself maybe they see me as rude or lacking common sense/doing something weird/doing things the wrong way/wearing weird looking clothes/ liking ugly furniture/ thinking good things are bad/ putting value on what I see as worthless etc etc.
Soeun is a Khmer church leader, so Sundays are a big day for him, and of course he should have his family being part of the church as well. So he is really involved, preaching, music etc while for me it mostly doesn't feel like a spiritual or even social thing, but a language and culture experience. And it means I have less time and energy to go to an English language church. And even if I do its not a family thing, its just for me. So each new place we live we have to figure out how to do it. Some years in Phnom Penh it was working when I went to a Tuesday morning English womens group and we went to church on Sunday morning together, and I sometimes made it to an English language church in the afternoon. Over the years we've tried a few other combos that haven't worked as well.
So this year..
For a few months Soeun was sort of going to both the morning and afternoon service, earlier in the year when we had just moved here. I was going to the English language church in the afternoon, I visited the morning Khmer one a few times.
Once we got back from the having-baby-in Aus trip Soeun had worked out that he would be mainly serving at the afternoon service, so now we all go there as a family. Ive started going to the English language womens Bible study during the week, sans toddler.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Most have had their lives changed dramatically- they can't work full time anymore, or sometimes at all, they can't look after their kids, they can't drive. Its only diagnosed after eliminating other things, and by the pattern of symptoms so it usually takes months to work out what you have before you can even think about how to manage it. By that time its already taken a big toll on your mental health, social life, work life etc.
And from reading what other write it seems some people have worked out their triggers, but for many it seems so random. Sometimes cheese sets it off, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the attacks come out of no where, often the buzzing and ear pressure is just always there and you have to try to live with it.
The diagnoses from a sydney doc was "vestibular migraine", but if I use that term people often assume its a headache thing (and there is a headache involved actually, but its more an ear thing).
Members discuss things like whether its useful to go to the ER at hospital if things become acute. Theres not much they can do for most ppl , and it seems many doctors aren't really aware of these disorders anyway.
People often have trouble explaining it to their family and friends, its probably the same for any invisible chronic illness (or many others things). Family often think members are making it up, or get frustrated when sufferers keep not showing up to things. They get blamed for being unreliable and/ or lazy.
It seems like there are lots of different drugs people are trying.
Thankfully SOeun's symptoms are much less debilitating in Cambodia, so he can do many things here and live almost normally. It s hard when he is a bit sick though, it becomes a bigger problems than pre march 2011. Life is still frustrating but not as bad as when in Aus.
Just a short plane ride away is Bangkok, full of doctors and hospitals. Maybe we should start seeing a doctor there to help with management or maybe that would be a waste of time and money? Its hard to know.
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
10kg of wholemeal wheat flour
a solar panel
at least 2 kg of honey
some breakfast cereal that was on special in Aus when I was packing, it cost $2, i saw the same thing for 5USD in the supermarket in Cambodia
a loaf of saltana bread
a Christmas cake (homemade)
a bike helmet
Ironically this last trip back from Australia I actually had baggage weight to spare! It felt a bit wasteful and frustrating in some ways, given that other times I'd made the trip I'd had to get rid of so much. But it was fun to bring back some treats and useful things that are harder/more expensive to find here.
At the end of 2012 we moved back to Cambodia after 2 years in Australia. It was hard getting 2 years of life back down to 20kg. Sad to leave behind the new bed sheets we had, and pretty much all of my clothes as I was pregnant so they were going to be any use anytime soon.
It had to be 20 kg not only for the place ride back but for all the travelling in Aus on public transport I was doing before I actually got to the plane. My pregnant self had to be able to carry everything between stops and stations and on and off vehicles.
I think I stayed in at least 3 different towns before and caught quite a few buses, planes and trains before I hauled my bag to the international airport. Somehow during that time I lost my only pair of shoes (not including thongs) I was keeping esp for the plane ride. I ended up taking my brother in laws O day freebies after an extensive search of both my sisters and my parents house. (including the wheelie bins as I was carrying things in plastic bags, could be mistaken for rubbish)
Sunday, November 08, 2015
|We had a power cut recenlty so we got to try out our roll up solar panel with got in Aus|
|The bread machine broke! I asked around on facebook about getting it fixed, no luck. I tried to buy a new one but came home empty handed to find Soeun had taken it apart. When it put it back together it worked again.|
|Soeun recently got a bike, and we got some safety gear for it in Aus.|
|A meal Soeun had with the toddler and a friend, within the temple park.|
With a baby and a toddler the days are pretty exhausting. Although actually I feel a bit better than when I was pregnant. The toddler doesn't really like going to sleep or eating so thats a constant challenge. I was so excited to make him blue pancakes. He likes pancakes, and he likes colours so I wrongly assumed he would like blue pancakes...
Wednesday, October 07, 2015
That set the theme of conversations for the week too. Lots of expats we know teach and send their kids to a particular school that has a long muddy road, it sounds quite dangerous at this time of year! The international church is meeting there too now, and the church bus ride this last Sunday was apparently a little too interesting.
|This month 2008 in Phnom Penh|
You know things are bad when a tow truck needs to be towed.... from Oct 2008
Thursday, September 17, 2015
But we were well looked after and the birth went well, very fast and safe. And the baby is easier to look after than we expected.
The toddler had lots of fun getting to know his Aussie relatives and enjoying Aussie things like parks with grass and play equipment.
I had fun making use of the oven. (One day we want to get a full size gas oven but they are expensive and we don't really need one at this stage.)
In Aus I not only had the use of a full size oven but also people who like eating oven cooked things as well as the ingredients and other equipment that goes along with it. Oh and also good oven using weather.
I made some food I've made before also quite a few new things mostly involving flour and often yeast and or butter!
Friday, September 11, 2015
|Taken from just outside our front door, our floor was covered in water last night.|
Luckily, in the evening our floor was suddenly covered in water. It had been raining for ages and stormy. We were waiting for the power to go out. We raced to pick things up and moved the furniture so we could get to the cardboard box of books hopefully before the water soaked through.
As we were racing around the toddler was trying to help us and slipped over a few time, while the baby lay neglected in her bed crying. Once we got all the things up that needed to be up I sat down with the toddler and baby and tried to calm them down while Soeun took the water out using a dustpan (with a long handle, kind of like a spade) and then a mop and then floor maps. Then he washed the whole floor- so its really clean now!
Friday, September 04, 2015
The endless supply of wheat and dairy is over, and once again I'm feeling the frustration of not being able to find somewhere comfortable to sit.
The first little while back in Cambodia each time is hard.
Things are ordered differently here, beautified differently, hygiene is done differently.
And of course I'm tired from travel and the different time zone and weather takes awhile to get used to again. Also I didn't speak/hear Khmer for about 3 months .....
We only just moved house a few months before we went overseas, so we are still settling in here. It was not a case of come back , unpack and get on with things. We are still moving furniture around, looking to buy a few cupboards and a bed for the toddler, rummaging around in boxes and bags to find the blender/ that book for the lesson Soeun needs to prep/ the baby things etc etc....
I miss having a bedside table to put my glasses on, and my clothes stored in a cupboard in the bedroom. At this point in time there is no spare floor space on either side of the bed and my clothes are in various places so getting changed/having a shower takes a bit of planning ahead.
And what to do with the Toddler here...?? In Aus he enjoyed visits to parks- vast spaces of grass to run on and exciting play equipment, all free! We don't really have those spaces here, there is a private playground we can visit on Saturday mornings, its cost 2 US dollars tho, and at the mall there is a small soft playroom, that cost 75 cents.
|First time to fly solo with a baby|
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Sunday, July 05, 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
|What do you call this?|
Thursday, May 14, 2015
We were exhausted by the end of it, happy to have our space back when a storm struck and the whole town was plunged into heat and darkness. A flurry of communication surrounded the 5 day power cut as everyone struggled to cope with the heat, cancelled events and not knowing if the power would come back on today or not. (At this time of year we struggle to sleep even with 2 fans in our room so when there are no fans...)
Two years ago we often lost power for the whole day, so I'd worked out my fridge/freezer strategy for that, but 5 days is a lot longer than 8 hours! So I gave up on my usual shopping/cooking habits, we just had to go one meal at a time. And we didn't know how long the water in our tank would last so we tried not to use to much water, which meant we also gave up washing up, esp at night when it was dark.
The last night of no power the toddler had a high temp, it had started that morning. We were giving him ibuprofen but his temp was still high. For the next 7 days he didn't eat much or sleep for long blocks of time, it was like looking after a newborn, a few hours of sleep , a few hours of screaming, felt like he needed constant attention. (So even tho New Year was over and the power cut was over we still didn't get a chance to restock the fridge)
After the first few days we were both exhausted and didn't know how long it was going to go on for and if it would turn out to be a normal childhood fever thing or something like dengue. So then we started taking turns at night so at least one of us got a block of 5 hours sleep.
(took him to the doc on day 3 and 5, had a hospital in mind we would go to if any other symptoms happened ).
(Did I mention the weather is hot and humid at this time of year?)
Then thankfully he got better. I thought we were just going to collapse and breath a sigh of relief but after all that it was hard to change gears and go back to normal eating and sleeping...plus our house was chaos. We have 2 bedrooms and a living/kitchen area. We and others had been sleeping in them over the past few weeks, swapping around depending on the heat, where the sick toddler was and who was looking after him. We don't really have a bedroom as such anymore. (Plus still hot humid and haven't really been proper meat and veg shopping...)
We had lost a few weeks in which we were planning to get ready for a trip we were supposed to be taking. I thought we had 3 weeks after New Year and the trip to psych ourselves up for it but all of a sudden it was almost time to go.
So then it was a 4th week of living from day to day, trying to decide if we should change our plans or not, and if yes which of the options we should choose.
Anyway, I think things are are bit more settled now. The last few days we have cooked meat and veg at home and eaten dinner together!
Monday, April 27, 2015
We have been here less than 5 months and already had relatives staying with us on about 5 separate occasions. None of us has been seriously sick, but the toddler has a fever a few times, we’ve all had colds, I have various pregnancy annoying things etc etc.
That’s what I was feeling a few weeks ago, then we had Khmer New Year and I just felt really exhausted after that, and starting to get anxious about the next thing coming up. Feeling like a holiday. No time/money/energy to travel but started day dreaming about spending a night in a hotel in town.
And it was a good excuse to have the holiday I’d been wanting, we stayed a night in a hotel in town (number 2 place in the world to visit according to trip advisor, big tourist industry). They had a deal on because of the power cut, lots of expats were doing the same thing.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Tuesday, April 07, 2015
Move to Cambodia
The other week I was getting only a few hours sleep thanks to a toddler fever then my own cold, it seemed too hard even to just do the normal things...thankfully that pretty much over now.
Now the struggle is just with the hot weather, extra teaching and preaching for Soeun, the New Year holiday (relatives coming to stay- its never a holiday, its a hot busy time), and the usual things of being pregnant with and looking after a toddler.
So glad our health is better and than we have electricity and water! It was getting quite hard when I still had a cold and the hot weather started , then there was a half day power cut... I tried to get myself and toddler to an air con mall but I was too sore and tired to move......
|I bought 500ml of blue food colouring! Water fun, play dough....if only the toddler was as excited as me.|
Saturday, April 04, 2015
Friday, April 03, 2015
Anyway, annoyingly that meant we spent 3 mornings in a row waiting for the workman to come, and then waiting for him to work. The water was off for awhile. When you have a messy toddler and you're pregnant its pretty annoying not to have access to the bathroom for so long!
So now we have a new water heater (not that we need to use it at this time of year, the weather is hot and the tap water is often hot too) and the shower has much better water pressure and we have an outside tap! We can use the hose Soeun bought when we first moved in. Water the herbs, clean the dirt off everything, wash down the toddler after watermelon or messy play and its a great new toy for hot season!
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Saturday, March 14, 2015
He's really into numbers and English letters/alphbet.
He can count 1-10 in English , it was only 2 weeks ago he started saying seven, he used to always skip it before, we guess cos it has 2 syllables. He has been able to count 1-5 in Khmer since around Dec but gets confused after that as 6 in Khmer is "5-1", 7 is "5-2" etc.
He can sort of join in singing a phonic song and the alphabet song (English) and can recognise some letters, esp A.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
A photo posted by Katherine Seat (@katherineseat) on
Saturday, February 07, 2015
|In Cambodia we use 2 currencies|
|Hammock fun with friends|
|There are quite a few elephant statues around town. I notice them because the toddler yells out the E sound that he learnt from a phonics song.|
...the Toddler goes on a moto now. He is big enough for a helmet, and happily we have left the crazy scary traffic of the capital.
|The boys cooked a duck on our new barbie!|
|Arvo nap in the hammock at the baray.|
|Enjoying our new sandpit|
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Last time we started renting a house we thought we would be there for 2 years but the first year we didn't know from month to month. The landlord was trying to sell it and only had to give us a months notice. We did end up being there for two years in the end, but I found it easier to make our "only 3 months in Thailand" room more of a home than our Phnom Penh house.
Mostly unpacked but still hadn't seen our external hard drive we use for back. Was starting to get worried, and Soeun was having trouble preparing lessons, missing that and his books still all in boxes. Thanks to a blocked drain today I found it- phew!
|Enjoying a visit to the baray with Daddy and the boys group, eating worms and frogs. Mummy enjoyed the chance to stay home by herself.|
Finally we have water outside! Its really annoying not to have a garden tap or hose, esp with a toddler and a herb garden. Weeks ago Soeun bought 20 m of hose and set it up but then found our pump wasn't set up for that. Some delays and communication with landlord and plumbers.....nothing for awhile.....Then other day he found a way to connect it to another water source, and happily was able to clean and water everything out the front.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
We live in the brick downstairs section and another family live in the wooden bit upstairs. I grabbed some buckets and mats, moved some boxes of papers and started thinking about burst pipes and plumbers.
Then I ran upstairs to have the second ever conversation with our new neighbours (English speaking expats). I was relieved to see that the water was just coming from an overflow from the pot plants they had just watered, and not a pipe. Actually they realised one of the plants was missing its saucer, so they promised to make sure there was one there before next time!
|Soeun planted lemongrass and some other things in our new front yard!|
That evening the toddler locked himself in the bedroom, we had done a lot of things to fix the house up before we moved in but hadn't yet moved the low bolts from the doors. Luckily it was a screen door so we could see each other- but it was still very distressing for both of us. He was screaming, and it seemed like he thought I locked him in there. He seemed to be bringing me peace offerings, as if that would help him get our- one by one he carried all the things from next to my bed and tried to give them to me. My water bottle, my phone, my beanie my kindle etc
Anyway, so I ended up running upstairs again, for the third ever conversation with our new neighbours. They were able to bed the door and get the bolt across. Phew!
|We went to the small nearby market this morning to get veg and fish. This is on the way back in our shared driveway.|
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
For Soeun's new (pre) ministry trips he needs a big bike (250cc). End of last year we sold our small moto (125cc), received some gifts from Aus, and got the deposit back from our old landlord (3 months rent, new landlord only asked for 1 month). So then we had enough money.
He has a friend who knows engines etc who has been looking around for him. A few times one has come up but it hasn't worked out. As we live inSR now, and the place to get one is PP its meant at least one trip back, and lots of phones calls. Then recently finally money was transferred and a bike bought. But then how to get it up here?
Usually people put them on buses, taxis , trucks to transport. Soeun had friends running all over PP to find someone who would do it. The road has got so bad in the last 3 months it seems no one does it anymore.
In the end he found a bus that would take it part way the other way around the lake, the he road the last 3 hours back. (after staying at a friends church over night).
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Been sleeping at our new place maybe half a week now. The toddler has started screaming in the evening instead of going to sleep. Stressful. Hoprfully will get easier as we all get used to our new space.
After a month of no tv and no home wifi we now have both. Akthough still using mobile data and usb stick as the wifi isnt always working. Sadly our new cable doesnt have aussie channel or the english language entertainment channels we had before but it does have at least 3 english lsnguage cable news ones.
We re not on town water so it looks brown!
Friday, January 09, 2015
This is the most khmer looking neighbourhood I've ever lived in but also the one with the most expats. Before we even moved in we met nearby residents from aus germany csnada snd heard about the uk family who were on their way back.
Its also the closest ive lived to downtown , but as this town is smaller people talk about this area as if its way out.
Had our first breakfast in new place this morning. Then spent the day at the old place packing etc.
The family who live there will be back in just over a week. The house helper already started doing a big clean ahead of their return. She has her own key. I was surprised one day to come home and find our toys and books packed up on the shelves with the other familys things. I hunted around the house to find some stuff. Another day we were there at the same time so i tried to ask her if she could wait until we are all moved out. Then she wont have to keep cleaning our muddy foot prints. So now we really need to get our stuff out asap.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Getting lots of work done on our new house before cleaning, and then will unpack. Got some power points and lights, bought a stove and washing machine (fridge was already there) . Got the screen door fixed today, getting a covering made for the front door. Trying to get rid of house dust. Hoping to get something on the bathroom door so we can close it from the outside.
We can hear the people upstairs walking around, and I think the toddler understands what it is, he says "walk" and "jump" when he hears it.
Mostly been eating lunch outside, and other meals at our old placeor out. First time today to eat a meal inside, now that we can see the table.