Sunday, April 25, 2010


Dear pedophile from a Western country who visited Cambodia about 18 months ago,
I saw your child the other day. He is a happy 9-month-old living in a slum village in Cambodia. His 12-year-old aunt was toting him around on her hip that day. His bloated belly peeked out from underneath his shirt, and his pants were nowhere to be found. I knew he was yours because he had your dirty blonde hair rather than the Khmer black. His nose had a large bridge, too, as opposed to the Asian flat noses of his other family members. And, though he was smudged with dirt, I could tell he inherited your lighter skin tone as well. His eyes were Asian and his round face. I just wanted to let you know about him because I was afraid you might have forgotten about your time here. I wanted to let you know that even if you forget, your son and his mother will not. You left behind far too many reminders...

Dear sweet baby in Cambodia,
Though you will never meet your biological father, you have the best Daddy ever. You may not have been planned, but your Daddy knew your beginning from your end. He loved you before you were even born, before the beginning of time. He has a plan for your life. He will never leave you. He is sending hope to you. And with that hope, you can change the nation of Cambodia and the world. Hold tight, baby, God is carrying you...

Dear God,
Help me to be the person you have called me to be. Help me to remember that vengeance is Yours, and it is not my place to judge. Help me to love the children. Help me to love the abused. Help me to love the broken. Help me to love the pedophiles. Help me to love the rapists. Help me to love the lost. Help me to love the arrogant and the ignorant. Help me to step up and go forth in the purpose that You have for my life. Help me to change the thing at a time...

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Since I have been pretty bad about updating over the last several weeks, I thought I would do just a short little post about the highlights of the last week. I may try to do this more regularly, so that you at least get a little taste of my life even when I don't take the time to make a big post! So, here goes...

1. I donated blood last week. The U.S. Embassy was having a blood drive, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to donate blood as it is much needed here and see the inside of the embassy. Painless experience. AND, they gave me a full meal afterwards consisting of a meat & veggie filled croissant, boiled egg, 2 bananas, can of coke, and bottle of water. I also received a t-shirt (that is much too large for me) that says in both English and Khmer "I can give blood 3 times a year" and a goodie bag filled with 5 packages of ramen noodles, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and some blueberry flavored wafers. I can now check "give blood in another country" off of my list of things to do before I die!

2. I ate crickets. And, I liked it. My friend Sopheak regularly buys roasted crickets from the market, and I had told her last week that the next time she bought some, I would try them. They are roasted in some kind of chili salt mixture and are really quite tasty.

3. I learned about what happens when you don't pay your electricity bill on time...even if it is never delivered to you. On Tuesday, I came home for lunch to find that our power was off. No big deal. It happens sometimes. However, I did think it was a bit strange that all the houses around us had power. At 5 o'clock when we still didn't have power, we were a bit concerned there was an electrical problem. So, we made a call to the electrician, and he arrived to take a look. Needless to say, he made a trip out to our house to pull a slip of paper out of our mailbox that said they had shut our power off because we hadn't paid our bill...that we never received. However, seeing as it was after 5 o'clock, there was nothing that could be done that day since the offices were all closed. So, we ended up sleeping that night with no power, which means we were sleeping in 90+ degree heat with no air conditioning and no fan. I knew that growing up on a farm in a house with no air conditioning was preparing me for something. Anyway, after paying the bill first thing in the morning, they turned our power back on around 4pm. And, the world was as it should be.

4. I am pretty sure that I have mastered the art of riding a moto side saddle, which is important to be able to do when you are wearing a skirt. I am also quite accustomed to fitting three people on a next step will be 4. And, I can do the foot dangle pretty well, which is necessary when there are no pegs on the back of the moto for the passenger's feet as on my friend Dany's.

5. I am learning to read and to write Khmer as well as speak it. I know all of the alphabet now, and I can even write a few of my own sentences. Hooray!

6. I got a Valentine in the mail today from my 5-year-old niece, and it was only a month and a half after Valentine's day! Regardless, it was a great surprise!

Ok, I think those are some of the main highlights of my life at the moment. Hopefully, I will post again soon to give you another peek into my world!

Siem Reap

A couple weekends ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Siem Reap, Cambodia, with my friend Kara. Siem Reap is about a 6-hour bus ride from Phnom Penh, and it is the most popular tourist destination in Cambodia. It is home of Angkor Wat and several other famous temples and ruins. It was a really great time to get away. I took lots of pictures of the weekend, but I will just take you through some highlights of our time there!

Friday night: sunset at Phnom Bakheng
Just a glimpse into the spiritual atmosphere of Cambodia...
Saturday morning: sunrise at Angkor Wat
This is me in front of Angkor Wat. (Excuse the way I look...I got up really early...)
South Gate at Angkor Thom
Bayon. This was probably my favorite temple. We got to climb all over this one!
The beautiful lady who sold us bananas...albeit very expensive ones...
Ta Nei temple, which has yet to have any restoration done and required us to hike about a kilometer on a sandy path to get to, but we were the only ones there!
Ta Prohm. This is the temple that is featured in the movie Tomb Raider, which means there were about 800 tourists in it all at the same time. Thus, we were herded through like cattle, and it was quite a feat to get a photo without tourists in it.
Saturday afternoon:
We went to a floating village. The people live in these houses on this lake. They use the water for drinking, cooking, swimming, cleaning, bathing, and as their toilet. It was interesting to see how they live and served as a good reminder why I am in Cambodia, seeking to help people here.
And, we found some little boys just floating around...with pythons around their necks...
After the floating village, we found our way back to the city and to the Blue Pumpkin for some ice cream! Delicious!
Then, for a fish massage! For $3 you can stick your feet in the water and let all the fish eat away your dead skin for 20 minutes. Quite the experience!
Saturday evening:
We went out to dinner and watched traditional Khmer dancing. This is the fishing dance (my personal favorite), but they performed 6 different dances that night.
Sunday we opted to sleep in a bit (since we had been up well before sunrise on Saturday), and we went marketing and such in the morning before we had to catch our bus back to Phnom Penh. Siem Reap was definitely worth the trip, and should the opportunity arise, I wouldn't hesitate to go back for another visit!