Can you believe it? Four years in this crazy country and I am not dead yet! WOW! The craziest part of having lived here in the vast grossness of a big dirty city is that…..( pause for dramatic emphasis) I love it here! That is really strange isn’t it? It isn’t rare to meet people who often really dislike the city of Phnom Penh, minus all of its amazing luxuries of course. *Insert sarcastic tone and eye roll* Don’t get me wrong there are many things about this city I would change if I could. Traffic, the heat, the gross, the noise…..but there is just something so unique and basically indescribable that warms me inside when I think about it. Come to think of it, the warm core might be because I am overheated. That or I am really tired and need a nap. In which case…win win guys! Sometimes the best reads you get out of this blog are when I am not entirely thinking straight! (Don’t you dare ask yourself in a comedic way if I am ever thinking straight….shame on you! HAHA) Everything I know about this city is what I see as normal now and a person has to make the best of where ever you are. True I could leave, but if I left now I would miss it so much it hurts! Okay okay…..bla bla, lets not get too emotional here. In a nutshell, what I really mean to say is that after 4 interesting years here I can confidently conclude: things are good, I feel good and that’s good!
Needless to mention, yet I will anyways, I have been rather busy. Since my last post, I had a whirlwind trip back to Canada and my parents came to Cambodia. Canada was really nice. I haven’t experienced a “cold snap” in a few years. When I got off the plane in Calgary and stepped outside it was -38’C./-36.4’F HELLO!!! Good thing I have the most amazing parents who brought me my ol’ stash of winter gear. Turns out I came not only during the coldest
time of year, but the longest, coldest, as well as snowiest time southern Alberta had experienced in many years. Is this me complaining….nope!!! I wasn’t working this round, so I got to spend many mornings drinking coffee in my jamms with a cat or dog (sometimes both) sitting on my lap (or head) keeping me toasty warm. I had awesome visits with my family at home and with my relatives up north. Once we were walking through a mall and there was a guy looking very very chill chatting on the phone. I had to take a second look because for a moment his level of comfort in a public place really reeked of Cambodia. I couldn’t give up such a photo opportunity so I went and sat next to him. This guy, he didn’t even FLINCH! Thankfully too, because it made for this amazing photo!
As I mentioned previously my parents came for a few weeks to finally see what this Cambodia is all about. They had a great time. At least that is what they told us. We were able to take them sight seeing and introduce them to all our cool friends. ( Yes they were all paid appropriately! If you are reading this and are
wondering where your money is. Maybe you were confused, I said ‘Cool Friends’ haha) Had some really good laughs too. For example I can’t not relate the story about my Mum when she came into our place and was looking around. Abby said to her, ” Oh did you notice the mirror I had made?” Mum turns herself completely around and looks up at the tiny lamps on the wall ( that came with the place ) and said ” OH, look those mirrors are so nice!” The already ugly lamps also have diamond shaped mirrors behind them and are mounted on the wall. She thought Abby had taken the time to add mirrors to them. What she didn’t notice was the gigantic full length mirror she was standing in front of that is so big we can’t even mount it on the wall! ( Mum, I know you are reading this rolling your eyes and planning my discipline….and thats all. Just acknowledging that I know you will feel this way! hehe )
Other ridiculous things that have happened don’t necessarily need long winded novels written about them.
They are funny in general as facts. For example, Abby literally slipped on a banana peel. WHO slips on banana peels….Abby does. Such a Cambo experience though. In fact we were talking about it and to be honest, there is an oddly high amount of random fruit peels, seeds or the whole fruit all thrown aimlessly on the roads and alleys. I would say sidewalks but those don’t exist here.
Random funny fact number two is Abby made butter tarts (Canadian Classic of course) and forgot the butter. It gets better, she also made carrot cake and yup….forgot the carrots! Don’t worry guys, she is an amazing chef/baker but yes, I have sent her for some therapy!
Random fact number three….. you can not get rid of “old” money here. Even if it is in pristine condition, no store, no restaurant, no spa, no nothing will accept a bill/note that is not of the latest print. Please see exhibit A:
I am ashamed to admit how many arguments I entered into because no one would accept my Dad’s crisp $20 bill! Why you ask? Well they say that they can’t get rid of it themselves. So the problem is created within them. If they took it to a bank it is fine, but if you try to give it to a money changer or any service provider they won’t take it. Also if your money has tiny rips, marks or anything that makes it “not beautiful” you are in for it. So tip for those traveling here, bring NEW clean unmarked money only. By the way this is not a new issue, it has been this way for years. Yet, every time I have to deal with it, it is freshly annoying! Hmmm
Ok, its time for my Camboversary: “List of things Sarah learned in 2016 List”
1. Stupid shows like Master Chef hold the power to make me cry! It is a cooking show for goodness sake and still when the contestants get booted off they use this majestical music and close ups to people crying….toys with my emotions.
2. Daddy Long Legs are NOT Dandy Long Legs…..seriously, my entire life!! I honestly thought to myself every time I saw them….”My those are some Dandy long legs!” I thought it was the perfect name.
3. Fun Fact! Latvia is a country in Europe. In fact, you will be interested to know it is NOT a poor and little known country in Africa. Nor is it an exotic island off the coast of South America somewhere, which was my second guess! One more fun fact, in googling how to spell it….there is no “E” in the name. Well, geography….BOOM!
4. This isn’t ground breaking, but I still really dislike olives. Even since my post entitled “One Olive”, I have tried to like them more. Nope, don’t.
5. You can survive a 6 hour bus ride in Cambodia with an extreme case of diarrhea but you will have your life flash before you eyes during both stops along the road at facilities that are far below par! Keep in mind you need to have headphones and not move a millimeter along the way beyond the body shakes that are completely out of fear!
6. Never promise to photograph your friend’s visit to historical monuments like Angkor Wat in +40’C/104’F weather in the middle of the day with an already high fever. Again folks, this is important, you might die.
7. If you laugh enough and put on a good show, taxi drivers in Thailand give you a discount!
8. I am allergic to the Khmer potato flour that is used in basically all baked goods here. Win win, not!
9. When you are lazy and don’t take the time to study a new language, even if you live in a society that speaks that language, opposite to what the Simpsons may have taught you, you don’t magically become fluent one day. Osmosis plays a very very VERY small role in language learning, but a very high role in the process of solvents equalizing between a semipermeable membrane!
10. My phone constantly auto corrects the word ‘think’ into ‘honk’. ex. Let me honk about it first! I honk so! Completely ridiculous!
Alright, well that officially wraps it up. Enjoy the pics or at least try to. They sorta suck this round! I realize there is a strong lack of cartoons to go along with the stories. Its called ‘I didn’t feel like it, sorry!’
Till next time…
Tip of the Day: Don’t blog about all the things you learned recently because these things might be the equivalent learning of a 4 year old and people will think you aren’t smart! If you happen to do so anyways, be sure to throw in a scientific term and its definition. Key is to play it off like you commonly talk about it over breakfast.