Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How I am doing

Lotus blossom: one of life's simple pleasures.

In short: I’m doing great and having a wonderful time here in Cambodia!

If you’d like the longer version, keep reading…

I apologize for not writing something sooner. My computer’s internet capability did something really weird right before I left to come here, so I was without that, other than using my iPod. A bit difficult to write a whole blog post from there! God is good, though, and I was able to get my computer running properly again, with the help of a friend. Typing like this will be much easier, although I do have a lot to catch up on. I’ll try to be somewhat descriptive, but not ramble on and on.

The morning after I arrived in Cambodia, Sarah and I went to the dorm kitchen for breakfast. Usually during break they don’t serve meals there, but there was a group from a closed country holding meetings there, and so we ate with the students who were cooking for them. It was neat to get to know a few faces – David, Yan, Lynn, Sarai, and a few others.

Later on in the day, Pisei dropped by because he had heard that Sarah was back. He is a fun character. :) He told us that we should say hello to our neighbors, the King family, because they would be gone visiting another village for the rest of the week. So we went over to see them. They are Indian, but from England, and are so friendly! I am glad that we are so close by – I am sure we will be spending quite a bit of time together as time goes on. We talked for quite a while, and then noticed out the window that we had other visitors – Andrew Sharon and Khen, his fiancé! We went over and spent some time with them, which was really nice. I hadn’t seen him since probably 2006 at family camp! They invited us to their wedding, which is actually tomorrow. Khen invited us over to her family’s house for lunch. My first day here, and I already got to spend time at a traditional Cambodian house. :) I met her mother, who doesn’t speak much English at all, her sister Khon, and some other family members. When we were done eating and talking, they drove us on their motorbikes back to WPY.

Sarah and I worked on cleaning the house, toured the campus, and eventually took our evening bath out at the pump, then headed to bed. A full and successful day! :)

Wednesday and Thursday I don’t remember much, other than that we kept busy cleaning the house. Sarah organized a lot of her stuff that was left here when she had to leave quickly last year, and I worked on unpacking and settling myself in. Actually, one of those days I think we went to Tob’s sister’s house, who is a seamstress. I’m having her make two new skirts for me, that I can wear to school. She does a really good job, as far as I’ve seen.

Friday morning, we caught the truck into town to Psar Kroum, one of the main markets here. It was rather fascinating! I will save the description of the market for another blog post, so you’ll have to wait on that. :)

More cleaning and tidying for Sabbath, then in the evening we went to the vespers service at the church here on the WPY campus. It was nearly all in Khmer, but it was nice to see a lot of people together, mostly orphanage kids and a small portion of the staff. Because I couldn’t understand much of it, it was a little hard to focus, but I practiced recognizing the Khmer number characters on the screen as the speaker made different points and used Bible references. It was definitely beneficial!

On Sabbath morning, we went to church. It was also all in Khmer. After church, we all split up into different groups and had Sabbath School. It was nice to have an English-speaking class with the other teachers, we had a good discussion. Afterwards, Sarah and I fried some vegetables and went over to Tim & Wendy’s backyard for a potluck with just us “foreigners.” That was neat, too! A fairly quiet afternoon followed…

The next morning, we got up early again and went to the morning market since we needed some food, and had a couple other things on our list. We met up with Chantha and Sophar, two Cambodian guys (Chantha was one of Sarah’s students when she was here before), and decided to eat some of our meals together. They did the shopping and we came back home and made nyoum, a really yummy noodle dish, which we eat over rice. We also invited Francis, one of the new volunteers, to join us. What a fun meal! We ate, and then our discussions turned into a Khmer learning session. :) Chantha helped Sarah review what she knew, and Sophar taught Francis and I some new phrases and words (I had just bought a grade 1 Khmer book so we used that to start learning the Khmer consonants). Francis also taught us some Tagalog, since he is from the Philippines. Then he gave us a whole bunch of riddles and we all played some mind games together. Great times. :)

That evening, we went to the dormitory and finished the leftovers of our nyoum, along with Kat, one of the other volunteers, and a few other people.

On Monday morning, a bunch of the other teachers arrived: Donna and Jive from the Philippines, and Gemma, the Kings’ daughter. They had been out on holiday during break. It was great to meet them! Several of us had breakfast at their house, and they all enjoyed recounting experiences from where they had been. We also found out that the teacher’s timetables were ready, and so someone ran off to get those. I found out that I will be teaching mostly grade 6 (Bible, English, science, and math), and we’ve now sorted out the music classes, so I’m teaching grade 7 and 8 piano and violin. I think the coming school year will be very lively – I’ll definitely be on my toes!!

It’s sad, but I don’t remember the rest of Monday a whole lot… I guess I have just been enjoying the experiences as they come along. I take photos here and there, and meet people, but they just sink into my brain as part of the whole picture of Cambodia, and kind of get jumbled up in my mind. Sorry. ;) A couple of things I do remember: Mrs. Sharon arrived, and she and Sarah picked out all the music for Andrew and Khen's wedding. We had a nice time talking. Also, Thomas, another volunteer, arrived that evening. He’s from Germany.

Tuesday was another market day. The truck actually came on time for once, so we got to the market rather early. Sarah and I bought our needed fruits, veggies, herbs, etc. and then we had plenty of spare time. So we did a little more walking around. The first time I went to the market I tried the green soymilk, but this time I got regular white soymilk (and I bought it myself, without Sarah’s help in translating!). It was good, too. We got a few other things to eat, then we all hung out in the truck with the others who were done early.

When we got back, we worked on some things… I got my computer working again, and enjoyed having that available again. I also did some brainstorming for my class.

Later on that day, Chantha and Sophar came over again, and asked us if we wanted to have a meal together again. We said sure! They came over later and brought two of their friends, Sophall and another guy whose name I can’t remember at the moment. We made fried veggies this time, of course over rice. Conversation was interesting – I found out that Sophall and the other unnamed friend are church planters out in the other province that Chantha and Sophar teach in. All these Cambodian guys (except Chantha) are my same age, so it is inspiring to see their enthusiasm for doing just what God wants them to do.

That evening, Kat came by on her bike at around 7pm after the guys left, and she and Sarah and I ended up talking until about 10:30, just sitting out on our porch. :)

Today was another full day – we had our first staff meeting. I learned more about how the school is run, and some questions were answered. I also got most of the textbooks I will be teaching from, so that is quite helpful. :)

There was also quite a bit of bustle going on, in preparation for Andrew and Khen’s wedding tomorrow. Khen and her bridesmaids will actually be sleeping here at our house tonight, so although it is quiet now, I am sure there will be lots going on once they get back from their preparations down at the dorm and church.

My friend Laura (will be a fellow teacher, was once my AFCOE outreach partner) arrives back at the school tonight too, after time at home. Looking forward to seeing her!!

And that is how I have been doing.


  1. Thanks for the update! I enjoyed reading about your experience there in a place I've heard so much about through several friends who are or were there. I feel like I know some of the people you mention even though I've never met them before. So glad that you will get to be with our sister Laura. Tell her I miss her. Praying for you and Laura and Sarah. Hugs!

    1. Yes, it has been great to get to know people I've only read about before. It's even better in person! :) I'll deliver the greetings to Laura. Thanks so much for your prayers. Hugs back!


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