Thursday, December 29, 2016

I thought I knew that

Recently I was surprised by my own surprise. 

Our washing machine broke 5.5 weeks ago. We had especially bought it brand new from a good shop so we wouldn't have to deal with it breaking a lot. 
But after 2 years it broke. Boo.

The first thing out of my mouth was "Well, I guess I'll take the washing to a laundry shop or see if I can use a friend's machine." Soeun laughed at me- "No, we'll just wash our clothes." 

To him hand washing clothes is the normal, easy and logical thing to do, my suggestions sounded ridiculous to him. Likewise his suggestion of hand washing all the clothes and sheets and towels that the 4 of us use just sounds really hard, it didn't even consider it.

Our broken washing machine strapped onto a moto about to ride over bumpy dusty roads to the fix it shop.

I already know Soeun grew up without a washing machine, and that most people in Cambodia don't even have mains power , let alone a washing machine. And it's not like we just have one by default. When we were thinking about getting married we considered how we were going to live as a Khmer/Australia family in Cambodia and whether or not a washing machine would be part of that.  Yet I was still really surprised by Soeun's reaction to our broken washing machine.

Its not the first time I've been surprised by my own surprise. There was also the time I went to teach English in my first year and no students turned up. I had been told that often people don't go out in the rain, but it wasn't until I saw it that I really got it. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas in a tropical tourist temple town

After most of my adult life in Asian cities where Christmas is not/was not  really noticeable, I'm now living in a small town that seems to mostly run on tourism.
I'm partly amused, and partly annoyed and partly enjoying the fact that Siem Reap has a Christmassy feel. Hotels have light displays, bookshops sell tinsel and Santa Clause clothes for all sizes and the expat community is discussing which places have the best Christmas dinner. 
Even our fried rice shop has put up tinsel and Coke cans!
Bookshops around town are selling gift wrapping, decorations and Santa outfits for kids. This shop has a mannequin dressed in a red dressing and white beard. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Phew! time to take a breath

It feels like the busyness and stress of the last couple of month is easing!

 Since I got married things usually get more busy around this time of year as Khmer churches put on huge Christmas celebrations so Soeun is usually extra busy this month. And while there is lots of Christmas busyness happening at church how its worked out with Soeun's subjects and other things means things feel less deadline-ish and intense for us this week.

So now we are catching up on all those odd jobs (Soeun just got the data off my broken laptop and fixed the kitchen leak) and thinking about how we are going to celebrate our wedding anniversary!

We actually have 3 days in a row free so we could have gone somewhere but decided staying home will be more restful. Its such nice weather at this time of year, and there are so many touristy cafes to visit and Christmas lights to see. Siem Reap feel like the perfect holiday destination for us right now!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

the puzzle pieces were in place....

I have a working laptop now! After 8 years the other one gave up. Sorry if you sent me an email over the last month, if you are waiting for something from me you may need to send it again.

We thought we had childcare and household stuff all worked out to fit around Soeun's teaching for Oct&Nov but a few unexpected things happened. No show nanny, a virus etc means the kids haven't played with others for over a week now. It really makes a difference.

Monday, September 05, 2016

"Context is your friend"

My teacher was famous for saying that. I heard about it before I studied with him. Then it turned out he did say it a lot in class so we all joked about it while we were in
his class, and still think about that phrase over a decade and a half later.  It’s so useful in so many situations.

I remember seeing a friend lug his laptop to a café in Phnom Penh years ago.  I suggested to the visiting Australian that he might like to just go to an internet cafe and use a computer there. It was cheaper and easier.  No need to carry your computer in crazy traffic and you only pay a few cents per half hour instead of having to buy a café drink.

A couple of years later I went to Australia and noticed many people use the internet on their own laptops, and they are used to it. His decision had seemed strange to me while in Cambodia, but when I saw the context he was used to being in it made perfect sense.

If I, an Aussie get confused about what’s happening in Australia these days it feels like there is even a bigger gap for people who live in Australia and want to know what’s happening in Cambodia. Sometimes there’s moments when I realize people reading our newsletters are missing so much context but it’s great that they can pray anyway.

And then it’s quite overwhelming to think how this applies to me not understanding the Cambodian context that I live in. And then another huge jump to think about the gap between Cambodians who have never been to Australia and how they would see me and all the weird things I do.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

barang health and safety

A workman was setting alight a pile of rubbish leftover from construction work. Some nylon bags, things leftover from painting and building. It smelt and looked toxic!

 I was glad the French lady who runs the daycare centre asked them to wait until after the kids went home, otherwise our toddler would have been breathing in that smoke while he ran around outside.

There are burning piles of rubbish everywhere, even it town where we have rubbish collection so we don't need to deal with all our rubbish ourselves. Mostly the piles near our house a leaves so it's not too bad.

The daycare centre attached to the French school is where our toddler has been going over the last 6 months or so. Starting  him there was the first time we had left him with people other than family.

As an Aussie living in Cambodia there are always so many things which seem risky and dangerous to me, and from my Aussie point of view a huge lack of safety regulations, or if there are written rules about it people don't really consider it important. It's natural that people do what they have always done and what others around them do I guess.

So I was happier to leave him with a French person in charge, I'm assuming she has a similar idea of health and safety issues to me. Even if a Cambodian had good intentions it's doesn't mean they would look after a child in a way that a Western would consider safe.

But of course living here means taking some risks (risks according to my Aussie pov). Somethings are necessary, but sometimes its hard to work out which things I should just go with so we can be part of life here or which things I should choose differently so we can be safer (even if it means we look weird).

Sunday, August 21, 2016

fascinations and frustrations of the last fortnight

We've all had colds/flu over the last 2 weeks. Not much sleep! All out of routine with cooking and shopping. Things already felt a bit hard just with the normal stuff (baby, toddler, Dizzy Monster) so this felt a bit too hard.

But also have found myself fascinated by the kids language development, and with a friend have been talking about bringing up bilingual kids. Today on our facebook group we just created people started sharing and recording tickle games in Khmer!

We're at a transition sort of period which is why things are hard as well. The baby has outgrown coming to Bible study with me, and the toddler is finishing up at his current daycare. We need to start some new things and plans are underway. Previously  I was feeling like it's going to be hard to adjust to the new stuff but after these last 2 weeks when it has felt like we are just getting through each day- I'm feeling ready! Even if the next few weeks are hard in terms of sleep etc, as least we're making a change and heading for some new hopefully good routines.

A baby's life of Es

She loves seeing Big Brother playing and dancing. She watches his every move and tries to copy him with a huge smile on her face.

As soon as the music begins she starts dancing and singing. Her whole body is moving.

When Daddy comes home she starts trying to jump up to meet him.

She loves finding things she can drop on the floor so she can say “Uh oh!”

The way she concentrates as she pulls herself up on to the bed. Or the way she tries to take the lid off something.

Being tickled makes her laugh so hard she falls over.

Crawling towards an open door before Mummy can catch her.

Although she can’t walk by herself yet she can push a plastic chair across the room. It’s a new way to see the world from this upright position, a new type of independence.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

When the Dizzy Monster joined the family

Here is our story of what happened when we lived in Australia a few years ago. Soeun got sick, its published here on My Migraine Brain.
The events of those years I wrote about in the Timeline on Chronic Kronicle .

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

raising bilingual kids

"Ask Grandma if she wants to come in." I said to my toddler today as his Khmer Grandma stood outside the front door.

He turned to her and did just what I asked in Khmer! I was surprised and impressed.

He speaks to me in English so it's hard for me to know what his Khmer is like.

He often goes on church trips and outings where everyone else is Khmer, so that's when he gets to hear a lot of Khmer, when I'm not there.

Just in that moment today it was nice to see that he understood me in English, and he knew to speak Khmer to Grandma, and he knew how to say it in Khmer.

So far it feels like it's just kind of happened , our kids are being exposed to two languages. But recently I've been chatting to a friend in a similar family situation and feeling like we need to make an effort to make sure the kids have some Khmer language exposure at this point in their lives.

We're raising Khmer kids in Cambodia with the one Khmer parent, so it should be easy, right?

English is so important to Cambodians so many people know it, even some toddlers at church seem to know English and speak it with their parents.  Apart from the government schools it seems like most schools are in English. My friend has been searching high and low all over town to find a school with a Khmer program.

It seems like reading to and singing to our kids comes naturally to many parents from English speaking countries, but its not such a big thing for Cambodians.

There are less books and less literacy around to start with, unlike where I come from most people can read and write and it's really important to us. We've been reading books to our kids since they were babies, some other expats gave me their old board books they had for their kids. We have made an effort to seek out some Khmer kids books, and we read those too. But in volume its never going to compare to all the amazing kids books in English.

And singing- so many songs in English to sing with and for kids. Including the alphabet song- so long before you actually start reading you already know the alphabet. There is an alphabet sort-of song ish in Khmer, our toddler has been learning it too, but it doesn't seem to have the same place in the culture.

I've been asking around and searching for Khmer kids songs, I haven't really come up with that much. A friend has offered to teach us some she translated from English, so that will be fun! And another friend directed us to some songs made by a project to teach health, they are also fun and easy to listen to. But so far I haven't found anything like our nursery rhymes.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Better health these days

Thankful for good health over the last month. The months prior to that were full of fevers and tummy things, thankfully nothing long running or too dangerous. Although Soeun has been more sick than usual recently, but we are thankful it's not as constant and debilitating as when we are in Australia.

Also thankful for this website by a chronically ill Christian. She writes to help sick people as well as to be a bridge between chronically ill and the church. If have chronic illness in your life then you'll know why that's important, and if you don't you can read and find out! Fruitful Today

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"home assignment" actually at home this time

People in our line of work usually have to do a thing that some call "home assignment". That is every so often leave Cambodia for a period of say a few months to (among other things) reconnect with people in Australia.

Some have semi- jokingly referred to it as "homeLESS assignment", as although people are back in their passport country they are actually away from their current place of residence. Some of the craziness is described here on an Aussie missionaries blog. Travelling to the another country to try to give ministry partners a glimpse of what happens here.

We just enjoyed something like a homeless assignment at home! So great! We got to show a bit of our lives here to some ministry partners without having to leave home. A couple of people from a supporting church left their home  to visit us for about 10 days. We mostly did what we do in a normal week- so they got to see it in real life rather than just in a PowerPoint presentation.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Overwhelmed (in a good way)

The last two mornings I've arrived home with a full tuktuk and 2 tired kids. Both mornings we were given SO MANY presents! Due to about 3 different factors we now have lots of fun new toys and books for the kids and some other things too.
We haven't had a chance yet to sort it all out. I'm hoping to choose some toys and books to play with now and some to pack away for later.
The toddler has become attached to one particular book already, he even had a nap with it today.
I don't know that I'll get a chance to say thank you to all the people who gave us presents, so this is a general thanks.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

"Beautiful, made from good quality natural products, worth 1000s of dollars, saved up to buy this investment."

"Ugly, uncomfortable, useless, takes up space."

Two descriptions about the same thing. Solid wood furniture, sometimes decorated with carvings of flowers and animals. Expats who rent in Cambodia often end up with wooden things that look like they are meant to be sofas...

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

still struggling with spontaneity in siem reap

Ever since we moved here about 18 months ago  we keep getting surprised when people change plans at the last minute.

Soeun finds out he is preaching tomorrow,
or finds out his course he has been prepping and planning for ages is suddenly having a holiday.

After living in Cambodia's capital city and working in a Bible school we're finding it quite different in a small town church context.

It feels like people are always changing plans at the last minutes and we just have to adjust to it.

 The young adults at church often work as babysitters for us, but sometimes don't turn up and then we find they were needed elsewhere.

The other day we noted it doesn't seem to stress out other people, maybe that's just how things work here. Which reminded me of the traffic - it looks really chaotic here but people just go with the flow, go around each other, adjust to whatever is going on around them.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Migraine Awareness Month

So apparently June is Migraine Awareness month, according to My Migraine Brain.

Five years ago Soeun was diagnosed with Vestibular Migraine , he was suffering from 24/7 symptoms for almost a year before we got that diagnoses.

His ear symptoms are the main thing, so we normally tell people he has a chronic ear thing similar to Meniere's Disease because the word "migraine" makes people think of headaches.

I was trying to write something short for our newsletter or this blog for Awareness Month, I'm still working on that, so far in rough draft brainstorming stage on this other blog called Chronic Kronicle. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

the juggle begins. First 3 months of working since having kids

It had been a hot, humid morning,
the power was off,
the babysitter wasn't sure if she could come as it was raining/stormy,
kids had fevers,
we'd all been sick and hadn't slept much.

Soeun was home, he had been hoping to work at his desk but instead had to spend the afternoon and evening looking after a sick baby and toddler.

It was really hard to leave the house as the kids were waking up from afternoon naps, knowing Soeun would be by himself with sick kids and no fans until bedtime.

At one point Soeun messaged me to say that the feverish baby had come out in a rash and was making strange jerky movements.  It had already been really hard to leave the house, and when I heard that I was regretting not calling in sick.

Between classes I talked to my boss, I was feeling like I might need to go home and take the baby to the doctor, but in the end I taught my night class as well.

Having a sick baby felt like a really serious thing to me, I wish I could have been there, (lucky turned out not to be serious) but now I also have a job. From now on its going to be juggling priorities and commitments.

Since we got back to Cambodia and started having kids I've been turning down all English teaching opportunities. Since Soeun developed his chronic sickness he can't do as much as he used to.

He has specific training and experience and there are so more things he could be doing if only he had better health. I figure the more energy I spend outside the family, the more he has to do within, which reduces his energy for ministry even more.

Until now- with the Aus dollar falling, it means our income has gone down.  So a few months ago I started working at a school teaching English.  

This week has been an example of why I haven't wanted to teach so far- Soeun has been sick, plus the babysitter couldn't work this week (we didn't know ahead of time) AND as well as my normal work hours I had a meeting. So Soeun hasn't had his sermon prep time- between being sick and looking after the kids while I'm at work and meetings. It does feel like as I feared, my work outside the family makes it hard for him.

Unfortunately so far it has NOT been financially beneficial for us, but we are hopeful that it will be in the future. After I started working I was told I need to pay for the work permit. I knew that was coming but I thought it was just 100usd, but turned out they wanted 400usd. Boo. It took me a few month to earn that much, we are only just even so to speak. But actually behind if you take into account the money we've spent on babysitting, paper nappies and other things you spend more on when you have less time.

But in other news, the weather is getting cooler. The toddler and I went for a walk this morning to the market to buy veg, look at the fish, and we ended up having breakfast!
Fish at the market (to buy and cook at home)

Breakfast for 1USD (at other places its only 75c

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

catching up on news for my non-Facebook friends

you can check here too for photos

the expected 3 am baby diarrhea looks less scary now that ive been able to locate a packet of baby wipes. such a great invention

we've been sick with various things since march.... i'm so tired i seem to be dropping glass jars on the floor everyday, not good when there is a crawler

mummy i love you, and i love this too (toddler clutching plastic hammer)

sometimes its too hot to play outside. sometimes the strong rain prevents us. and sometimes there is too much ash falling

if you are going to go food shopping, with baby& toddler at a terrible time of day but with no money, make sure you go to a supermarket that gives you a pen to write an IOU

mummy! the trees are green like the garbage truck

how funny would it be if you were in a drought and you were trying to stop your house from flooding?

The crawling baby
Water on the tiles
Bleeding and swollen

its all fun and games until someone does a poo in the bath 

Since it rained on Tuesday the water out of the tap is COLD!!! So refreshing!

had a long few days with sick toddler while daddy was away. toddler s fever went down, but then the baby s went up. meanwhile the power is going on and off. thankfully we still have water

Monday, June 06, 2016

Happily the other day I was told my baby was sick...

Happily the other day I was told my baby was sick. I say happily as we had suspected she was sick for a few weeks, so its great to find out what it is and treat it. Also its great to  have a doctor we can trust and afford and get to.

When I first arrived in Cambodia 10.5 years ago I was told by other expats if I got sick to go to SOS clinic. It seemed to be almost the only place people trusted. It was really expensive, to see a doctor cost about the same as my monthly rent. Then if I needed tests or meds it was way way more. And it was in another part of town, and with the terrible roads and traffic (about 5 ppl a day die on the roads, plus the bumpy roads and motos gave me a sore back) it felt really hard to get to.

Now we have a few options. The clinic we went to recently was recommended to me by lots of expats and costs a lot less than a months rent!

Friday, May 20, 2016

so similar and so different at the same time

Last week I didn't go to Bible study as Soeun and I were both vomiting.
Then we cancelled our weekend plans because the toddler had a fever.
Then cancelled Monday because we were all recovering from that.
Then Monday night the baby got a fever, and on Tuesday night I almost went home from work when she had some other weird symptoms.

That's been the general pattern of the last few months. We keep getting sick, and keep having to change plans because of it.

In some ways it reminds me of the two years we were in Aus. We kept cancelling plans all the time due to ill health.

In other ways it is really different.

This is MUCH less stressful, although physically hard, and frustrating at least these are all short term normal health issues. The others toddlers we play with are also getting fevers randomly. People get the flu, people have tummy issues.

When in Aus we had the the physically hard side of it as well as it being so stressful. The health problems got worse and worse despite doctors visits , lifestyle changes, trying medicines etc etc. On top of that because it was hard for us and doctors to understand it was even harder for the people around us to understand which added to the strain.

I'm just realising this now, how much less stressful it is when I tell friends I can't come to events because we are vomiting and/or have fevers etc. Its easy for them to get it, as they have probably had it themselves. Sooo different to our life in 2011-2012..

Nevermind the fact that we were going through all that at the same time as living back in Aus after a number of years in Cambodia....

Saturday, May 14, 2016

tail end of hot season

These days one of us is out almost each night while the other looks after the kids, it feel exhausting at the best of times but with power cuts and sickness added in, its even more exciting.

Early this week I left  for work feeling hot and tired and gross. I often feel like that in the afternoon, esp on a hot day with no power as this one was. It was extra hard to leave as the babysitter who has just started working for us just messaged to say she was sick and not coming. Soeun was staying home anyway, so it was ok, but he was hoping to get some lesson prep done, and have help with the kids while he cooked dinner. No power, no babysitter, erk!

Anyway, by the time I got home I was feeling worse. Soeun had had a hard afternoon and evening with the kids and when I finally got home it got even harder- they were still awake and then I started vomiting... I had started the day feeling gross and it only got worse....and then Soeun was vomiting too. It was a really yucky evening, with the kids still awake, the power on but not enough to run the air con ... both parents sick while the kids still energetic and awake late at night!

Thankfully it was short lived. Two days later I was eating normally again, and feeling better. Just in time as now the toddler is sick. He had a high temperature yesterday, so we had an eventful night, including a few hours with no power just as I was trying to make dinner.

Soeun is busy with an old family friends wedding. He considered not going because of all the sickness and power cuts this week, but we already missed an important wedding a couple of months ago so we didn't want him to miss this one too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

our next trip to aus...????

Its been longer than we would have liked since our last trip to visit friends, supporters, churches in NSW. The last few years we have had so many big changes we haven't really had a chance, we always seem to be moving to a new town or having a baby.

This time last year we were hoping to make a quick trip but it didn't work out. At some stage we'd like to make another trip like this one : click here for Aust trip 2010. "Exhausting but good..." to quote myself.... see below below for full quotes.

These kind of trips are usually both very exciting and very hard. This time around if feels a bit harder as it will be the first time we do it with chronic illness and kids, and also because of the way we left there is a bit of a mental hurdle. It was hard the whole time we were there (almost 2 years) but we kept trying to make it better/hoping it would get better. In the end we had to leave in desperation/ exhaustion.

From our 2010 trip:

"Over the last 6 weeks I've slept in about 8 different beds. 
Over the last 4 weeks we've done the watering can presentation about 22 times. 
We've seen lots of people we haven't seen for 3.5 years, others I haven't seen for about 8 years. 
Some friends and family we saw for the last time in X amount of time as we all live overseas. 
It's been our first winter in 5 years.
Lots of meetings and lots of people helping us. 
Exhausting time but it's been good to try to get things set up for next year."

"Well my brain is quite full at the moment. Being new in the country it takes ages just to do basic stuff, and I feel tired and overwhelmed. But its also exciting to see people, and there are so many interesting things to look at. I keep running into people when I'm walking down the street because I'm too busy staring at everything. And maybe because people here walk on the wrong side of the foot path. I'm enjoying the foot paths, thats something I miss when in Cambodia. Each day here I feel like I'm trying to organise what I'm doing today and trying to think about what I need to do do get ready for next week as well.
I'm feeling much better than I was earlier on. The first few days always seem to be horrible. "

Sunday, May 01, 2016


Our 2nd KNY in SR. So different from April anywhere. Stars decorate the town and there is heaps of stuff on, although I still have not been to anything (its hot, don't really have transport). We usually just get together with family. My mother in law couldn't make it this year because of the drought.
My bil came tho, and I was surprised when he was listening to our neighbours.  It was the first time he'd seen the ceremony where you splash water on your old people. It was my first time to hear it last year, but its familiar to Soeun.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

hot season so far...

Can you see the man in the tree? Our landlords hire a guy to climb up and harvest the big bunches of coconuts from this tree in our front yard. The last harvest day happily coincided with our friends visit. The kids enjoyed watching the man climb up the long palm trunk and lower down the bunches.

Mostly the last month and a half has been hot and hard, most of the time at least one of us has been sick (at one point we ALL had the flu at the same time) and its a constant battle to try to keep good sleep and eating habits. Mostly it feels like we get nothing done in a day, except surviving.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


The cool season has said goodbye and soon it will be the hottest time of the year! 

Talking about how we might change our habits and move furniture to cope with it. I realised I don't need to stop taking the kids for walks, we just need to get out earlier. It normally takes me about 4 hours to get ready to go out, but for a quick  prebreakfast walk I've started just strapping the baby on and finding shoes for the toddler and I.  Its so nice to be out in the cool air with the sunshine and trees, hopefully we can make this a habit throughout the hottest weeks, as most of the day we'll be inside.

A breakfast of pork and rice out on our corner only cost about 75 cents, so we'll probably do that often over the next few months.

The toy fire truck came on our walk this morning. And the toddler carried his breakfast home, he wasn't really into eating when there was so much to look at.

Grilled pork with rice- and egg and pickled veg and soup and iced tea

They say the more papers under the table the better the food at the rice eating place.

And after hot season we will be saying goodbye to friends.  The expat community is like that, lots of goodbyes esp at the end of the school year (which is around June). There are at least 2 families who we've been meeting for playdates leaving Cambodia in May. Then a few others will leave in June/July. Some leaving Cambodia, some just away for summer holiday or to have a baby.

Even though we don't teach or go to school my week is with others who do, so in June there will be lots of changes to our normal activities.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

one year in this tourist town

In some ways living in Siem Reap isn't pretty similar to living in Phnom Penh, in other ways there are some really unique things.

I've been enjoying getting to know the expat community here, its seems smaller and more connected than in PP. Or maybe its because of Facebook, or maybe because I started off knowing a few people from when they lived in PP, or maybe its because I have kids now. Or maybe because I shop at supermarkets more now.

Within a few months I was running into people I knew everywhere; the doctor, the travel agent, the supermarket etc etc. The other day I was buying eggs and the toddler started pointing and saying the name of one of the other toddlers he plays with. It turned out our friends were just a few metres away talking to our waiting tuk tuk driver who also happened to be their old friend.

The temples bring millions of tourist here so many people work in tourism. Church members are tuk tuk drivers, work in guesthouses and restaurants.

Some things have 3 different prices. I'm used to one price for Khmer and a higher price for foreigners, but in SR we have a 3rd price. An even higher one for tourists. (Or more generally good and services tourist are more likely to use are priced much higher than I would expect.) In some ways the tourist industry seems like one big scam.

front door

there's good and bad things about our new front door

the main bad thing is that even though its a nice fancy new door which cost our landlords a lot, they installed it the opposite way to the double screen door which means i can only just fit through the gap if i'm holding the baby (unless i bend down and up to unbolt both sides which is a hassle to do if you are just quickly coming or going)

on the plus side
-people can't see in
-i can open and close it with one hand, which is really handy when you have a baby and tiles on the floor, i used to need two hand to do the lock and then all my body weight to push open the rusty metal grill thingy
-i think rats and scorpions will find it hard to get in
-i can lock it and go to bed, then soeun can come home and unlock it from the outside (instead of a padlock we put on either the outside or the inside depending on if we were in or out)
-people can't tell if we are in or out by looking at the door
-we have heaps more space inside because we don't need to have the clothes horses in front of the door for privacy and protection , so it feels more spacious and safer (the clothes horse almost fell on the baby once)
-also safer as we can get out faster in case of fire, it used to be that we had to move the clothes horse, then find the key, then open the screen door, then unlock the padlock, then struggle with the heavy metal grill thing, its easier now that im not pregnant but still hard as you need both arms

Friday, February 12, 2016

Cool season walks, More friend time, some odd cold snaps, some church outing

With one strapped to my front and the other in the stroller I ve been trying to entertain the kids and make the most of cool season at the same time. Walking is  not really a thing here but we ve managed to enjoy it over the last few months. Today there was some crying coming from the stroller because of the heat, so the days are numbered.

In recent weeks we've been excited to start meeting more often with toddler friends. In particular Ive been getting to know two other "barang" mums with Khmer partners who also have young kids. 
During the tail end of cool season we had 2 really odd cold snaps. Temps went down really fast and a long way for a few days. It was sometimes 15 C at breakfast time! (it didn't actually snow but it was such a dramatic weird event this 12 year old photo reappeared)

It seems the toddler needs more and more social interactions with other kids, but our old playgroup now meets in the afternoons and we struggle to get out regularly at that time.  The Khmer kids who he was playing with a lot when we just got back from Aus are back at school now. So its been great to find some friends who can come to our place or meet us in the morning. We also started the toddler at a day care centre type place, hopefully he'll be able to enjoy playing there too. And baby ballet class! 

Church goes to a village about once a month, and this time the toddler went overnight for the first time.  He had so much fun. And again when he tagged a long with church when they went to the lake.
On the Tonlesap Lake

Potato and lime printing at home

village church

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Garbage truck

Lime prints on a mostly cloudy day

 Yesterday was such lovely cool weather I di d some painting, it was meant to be fun for the toddler. His most exciting thing was using the dirty water to clean his beloved exavators.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Language learning

Sunday morning show pile!
"I'm beautiful!" the toddler sometimes yells out when he gets out of the bath. If he were speaking Khmer it would make more sense as the word for "clean" and "beautiful" are the same.

He is learning to speak both languages, and sometimes we see that he is learning the right context for each. Before the baby was born I remember he saw Soeun riding up on the moto. He turned to me and said "Daddy!" then turned to his Cambodian grandma and said "Ba!"

The other day he fell of his bike and started laughing, but then it turned into loud cries. THe day after Grandma was remembering this and talking about what happened (in Khmer of course). He then turned to me and told the story in English, and acted his crying/laughing out.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Christmas 2015

This was one of the most Christmassy Christmases that I've had in Cambodia. After growing up in Aus where its obvious Christmas is coming weeks before Dec 25, then living in places where its not celebrated it was fun to be at home in this tourist town this year. Millions come every year to see the temples so a whole big industry to cater for this exists. So in December we took a tuktuk up and down a big road in the evening to see the lights! 

Even though Dec 25 isn't a public holiday in Cambodia, Siem Reap has lots of tourists so the big hotels have lights!
Also, as we weren't in the middle of moving house and I wasnt sick, we had a Christmas tree!! Making it was an advent activity, along with gingerbread and some other things.

Also the Khmer church normally has a huge Christmas thing, but it can be on any Sunday sometime from November to Jan, but this year Christmas fell on a Friday and the church we 're in had their Christmas on the Sunday after. It felt much more Christmassy to me to have Christmas the day after Boxing day rather than on say Jan 8th, or November 15th.

And the expat church here actually had a gathering on December 25th that we went to together!
Our Christmas tree 2015