Friday, February 26, 2010

I had to try...

After being in Cambodia for nearly 2 months, I had decided that it was high time I learned how to ride a moto. I mean, why not? All the Khmer people do it? Surely, it can't be that hard. Plus, it would be awesome to be able to get around on my own and have even more independence! Thus, my experience begins.
This is me on my friend Sopheak's moto. Note that I am being totally safe and wearing a helmet. It is the law, you know, but only if you are driving. Passengers don't need long as they don't mind potential brain damage. But really, I do wear a helmet.
This is my beautiful and amazing friend Sopheak who graciously said she would teach me to ride her moto.
So, I won't go into grave detail, but my first attempt at learning to ride a moto was not as successful as I would have liked. I may have crashed into a bit of a cement embankment and scraped all of the skin off of my right knee, scraped my toes pretty good (hey, just because I was wearing a helmet doesn't mean I wasn't wearing flip flops...sorry, mom!), and had a pretty nasty purple bruise on my left leg. No, need to worry, though. I was on a quiet street full of concerned Khmer people. I had a Khmer gentlemen come running out of some sort of office with a bottle of iodine in one hand and a handful of gauze in the other. Meanwhile, my concern was for Sopheak's moto, which fortunately suffered no damage. I, on the other hand, was having my knee cleaned, and being told by a lovely Khmer man, "You go to doctor! You clean! And, you clean again! You go to doctor!" While his concern was much appreciated, I did not feel it was necessary to go to see a doctor for the surface scrapes on my knee and foot. Here are a couple shots of my wounds.
My knee did swell up a bit the next day, but it really wasn't a big deal. It healed pretty quickly.
And, just to prove to you that I healed up quite nicely, here is a picture of my knee all healed up and ready for some more action!
Ok, so I haven't attempted to drive a moto again...yet.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I think I am ruined...

So, I think I might be ruined for living anywhere in the future that isn't just a few hours from the beach and accommodation that allows me to go away for a few days without breaking the bank! In the last month, I have begun my traveling around Cambodia. At the end of January, I went to the Kep province with my friend Julie for a few days. We had a great time relaxing, laughing, enjoying the sunshine and beach, and stuffing ourselves with good food! And, just today, I returned from a couple days in Sihanoukville. Both Kep and Sihanoukville are along the coast of Cambodia, and I thoroughly enjoyed my visits to both places.

This is where I sat for an entire day on Rabbit Island off the coast of Kep.
This is on our boat ride across to Rabbit Island.
Sunset on the beach at Kep. The photo doesn't really do it justice...
Sokha beach in Sihanoukville. For $4 I was able to spend an entire day laying on this private beach that is owned by a resort, which I most certainly couldn't afford to stay in! But, the beach was gorgeous and quiet!!!
Serendipity Beach in Sihanoukville. I love the ocean!
Now, before you all start thinking that I am wiling away all of my time in Cambodia on the beach, I assure you that I am not. And, I have taken the advice of missionaries who have been here much longer than I who have instilled in me the importance of taking time off and getting out of the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh. The work that I do and the city I live in are both pretty intense, so it is really nice to be able to just get away for a few days. Plus, going away for a few days is incredibly affordable here, so I am making the most of it while I can!

I will post more about my Cambodian adventures soon!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pie Inspired in Cambodia

As you may or may not know, my sister and I started a pie blog about a year ago. So, for the last year, we have been making fun and interesting pies and naming them. I even made pies all summer long and sold them at church and to individuals in order to raise money to be able to come over to Cambodia. Well, since I left America, my pie baking has been put on hold. Until last week! Last week, I successfully made my first pie in Cambodia. You can see it here. To be honest, I have no idea to blog it twice, so you will just have to go on over to the pie blog if you want to see photos and the recipe. It did turn out quite well, though. I only had to have pie tins and measuring cups and spoons sent to me. And, I think I only went to about three supermarkets and a few other shops in search of pie making things. I wasn't able to find a lot of things I wanted, such as a rolling pin. But, I didn't let that stop me. Where there is a will, there is a way!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What about the R.O.U.S.s?

In my family growing up, there was always one movie we could agree on--The Princess Bride. For those of you who have not seen it, shame on you, but I will paint the scene a bit for you. After the long lost lover saves the princess from the evil kidnappers, they decide to venture into the fire swamp in order to escape the devilish prince and his posse. This particular fire swamp is known to have 3 dangers, which notoriously let no one out alive. First, there are the fire spurts. Second, there is the lightning sand, which is like super quick sand. And, third, are the R.O.U.S.s, or Rodents Of Unusual Size. While Wesley (the long lost lover) does not think they exist, he is sadly mistaken as a giant rat comes out of nowhere to attack him and wrestle him to the ground.
So, if you find yourself thinking like Wesley that R.O.U.S.s don't exist, I want you to know otherwise. I assure you that there are R.O.U.S.s in abundance across Cambodia. This is a dead one that I passed on the road this week. I considered putting my foot in the picture in order to give you a scale to look at, but I'll be honest, I wasn't about to get that close. Thank God for a zoom lens! While this is by no means the largest rat I have seen, he was a pretty good sized rat. I estimate that the length of his body was 10-12 inches (that does NOT include his tail). It is pretty bad when you see one out of the corner of your way and question whether it was a rat or a cat!
I will say this about the rats. They are perfectly content to remain outside. So, as long as they maintain this pattern, we can live quite harmoniously. The day they decide to enter my front door will be the day that our relationship will have to change...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It Feels Like Home to Me

I have been living in Cambodia for a little over two months now. It is interesting, really, because in some ways it doesn't seem like I have been here that long already, but in other ways I feel like I have always been here. It seems so normal, so right, so much like home. It might sound ludicrous to other people, but I love it here. I love being able to walk out my front door and hope on a moto and head to the market to barter for tropical fruit. I love eating rice on a very regular basis. I love learning Khmer and using what I have learned even when I get laughed at. I love the crazy traffic. I love the beautiful Khmer people. I love that I can laugh at things here, things that most people would find really frustrating. I love the slower pace of life. I love my God, and I love being able to point people to Him.
I cannot imagine being anywhere else in the world right now than right where I am. I find myself asking God if I can stay in Cambodia. I know He has told me that I need to go back to the States in June, but I have no gauge of just how long that will be. I find myself asking Him if I can come back here. I feel like my heart is here. So, please pray with me that God will show me the right direction for the future and that He would burden my heart for whatever is next. Until then, I am going to delight myself every day just where He has placed me for such a time as this!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Where has my grammar gone?

Yes, I fear it is true. I think my grammar is falling apart. This is quite sad for a girl who prides herself on both speaking and writing correctly. Ok, so my grammar may not exactly be disappearing. You likely cannot detect any deterioration in my blog least not yet. However, I certainly feel like I am losing the ability to speak correctly. Because I spend so much time speaking with and working with people whose first language is not English and many of them have a very limited English vocabulary, I find myself only using necessary words. What does this mean? It means that my conversations often look somewhat like the following:

Moto driver on the street: Moto, lady?
Me: Yeah. I go Sovanna.
Moto driver: (stares blankly at me)
Me: Sowanna (same location as before, but I use a different inflection.)
Moto driver: (continues to stare blankly)
Me: I show you, yeah?
Moto driver: ok, ok


Me: How much for scarf?
Seller: Oh, for you sister, $3.
Me: Oh, cannot pay more than $1.
Seller: Oh, sister, for you special price $2.50.
Me: Cannot pay more than $1.
Seller: Oh, very good. For me $2. I sell to you $2.50.
Me: Oh, maybe come back.
Seller: Oh sister, $2 for you.
Me: Cannot pay more than $1. Maybe come back. (Start to walk away)
Seller: Ok, ok. $1.50 for you.
And, so on.

Anyway, these are but a couple of examples of how I have stopped using proper English and have reverted to toddlerhood. The only difference between a toddler's English and mine is that all the English-speaking adults around me are starting to speak the same way rather than correcting my errors!
So, next time you hear a toddler begin to put sentences together, toss up a prayer for me that I won't completely lose my ability to put together a grammatically correct sentence!