“Dad, i met a man in Roma, and he’s wonderful and brilliant and we’re getting married.” -Father of the Bride
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d start with that quote. To all whose hearts skipped a beat… No. I have not “found a man”. Yes, this is a JOKE. Now you can exhale.
This weekend does mark my third week in Phnom Penh! A small “anniversary” but I celebrate nonetheless. I find myself saying “so much has happened” or “it’s been a whirlwind” often. And the fact of the matter is both statements still hold true. Throughout trainings and orienting to a new culture, job and role, so much advice, perspective and fair warnings have been shared. I’m taking it all in and gleaning what is true for me.
One fact I am often reminded of is that I am an expat, a westerner… basically, NOT a local. It stings a bit to type it out cause it must mean it’s true. Yes, my fair skin has blown my cover and foiled my plan to be a ‘cultural chameleon’. And if that wasn’t obvious enough, my Khmer language deficit and faulty sense of direction would do the trick.
I am a visitor but deeply want to absorb more of Cambodia… learn the language, appreciate the food, and meet new friends. Simply stated but these take time and investment… so I gotta be patient.
So much I could share and not sure where to start, I’ll do some highlights:
1. Yes, learning to ride a moto is hard. When people say “it’s like riding a bike” when referring to any challenge being manageable, I think they forgot there first experiences of riding a bike with no training wheels… don’t lie. You were scared.
2. When looking at meat or ‘meat’, my personal rule is “when in doubt, do without”. Yes, be adventurous. But also, not all meat is made equally… or better stated, not all meat came from “Old McDonald’s Farm”.
3. In case you were wondering, Amazon will NOT ship to Cambodia. My tea supply is running low. (sad face)
Top Left: Kate, me and Erlina bond as we cram into one seat of a tuk tuk… instant bonding. Top Right: Homemade sugar cookies became ice cream sandwiches! Neriah was pleased. Bottom Left: Grilling some tasty rolls for Chinese New Year. Middle: Our attempt to recreate a traditional Khmer Shadow Puppet Show we had just watched (it’s harder than it looks and we were not near as graceful as the artists). Bottom Right: The smog is real. Holly is rockin’ her medical mask as we ride through the city… and we are DEFINITELY standing out now.
New favorite foods:
– Akao: rice flour cakes that are sent from heaven. Fact. Sweet, fluffy, a little dense and oh so tasty! If Buddy the Elf lived in Cambodia this would be one his main food groups.
– Oolong Milk bubble tea. Not new but just better over here. Who thought digesting large quantities of tapioca would be so scrumptious.
Confession: This was written Feb. 12th… delayed post