“How’s life in Cambodia?”
What a great question. And my answer depends on my mood. Or how the last 10 minutes have gone. Or how much sweat is dripping off my face and/or pooling in my bra.
“How’s life in Cambodia?”
Amazing. Wonderful. Hard. Hot. A dream come true. Really, really great. Unbelievable. Complicated. Lonely. Really, really hot. Awesome.
I really, truly, no kidding pinch myself every single day here. If I don’t do a literal pinch, I say to myself (and more often, out loud), We live in CAMBODIA.
We live in CAMBODIA.
WE LIVE IN CAMBODIA!!
It’s crazy, really. I mean, I don’t even know if it’s real. Is it real?
This morning we had our Big Assessment for Level 2 (Khmer School). If we passed, we’d move on to Level 3. We passed! The girls did amazing, and we did all right too. I’m so proud of us. Level 3 is where we learn to read and write the Khmer script.
No, I’m actually excited. For as long as I can remember (3+ decades), it’s been my dream to learn a second language. Like, really, really learn it. This is an honest-to-goodness dream come (coming) true. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s not killer hard either. Our school is amazing. Our teachers are fabulous. And, so far, God has provided the $ we need to continue. (We need $600 more for Level 3. If you’d like to help us out, click here.)
My most favorite thing ever is using our budding Khmer with the people we meet in our daily lives. Fruit sellers, servers at restaurants, neighbors, our sweet tuk-tuk driver, people we meet when we’re out and about. It’s really really cool, and it’s got me itching to learn more and learn fast.
(Every good writer knows better than to use/over-use the word “really.” I can’t help it today.)
Gabe has been blowing my mind with his photography trips and making new friends and getting involved with ministries using his photography skills. (I’ll have him share more about that soon.) We’ve been talking about our future here in Cambodia and, while it’s still not laid out for us in crystal clear form, the picture is becoming a little clearer.
I’m sensing that it’s all going to have to do a lot more with photography and less to do with web design. Gabe comes alive when he’s behind a camera. He comes alive when he’s making new friends. He comes alive when he’s making people smile and telling their stories, and I just have a feeling that all the pieces are going to come together in due time. (And I can see our whole fam getting involved as well. Exciting!)
So, yay speaking Khmer, and yay photography. What’s so hard about living in Cambodia?
Um, the heat. It zaps you faster than you can say muy, pi, bey (1, 2, 3). We heard tell that April was the hottest month (100+ degrees every day) but we’re over halfway through May, and the temps haven’t let up. Any minute now the rains will start to fall, and then we’ll probably be lamenting how hard it is to do anything when it’s raining all the time and flooding everything.
What else? Oh, cooking. I’ve mostly given up on it. We can eat out for cheap, and we meet new friends, and I just chalk it up to ministry. I have some editing jobs I do instead of slaving over a hot stove, so it’s all good. Aside from mostly healthy meals, we’ve been eating a lot of crap (junk food snacks), but when I’m not tired, I shop for fresh fruits & veggies & cut them up, so that’s cool.
Missing people. We miss people. A lot. Besides family and our close friends, we miss Abbey Lane LIKE CRAZY. Too much feeling to even write about right now.
Family unity. Or the lack thereof. We are mostly pretty awesome at getting along with each other in close quarters and being together 24/7. We’ve had a lot of practice over the last few years, and I have to give us credit. Yay us.
But holy cow. Sometimes stuff hits the fan, and hoo boy, we’re all a wreck. The girls don’t have a place to go play. They don’t really have friends outside of the families we sometimes hang out with. Nina met a friend two weeks ago who she adores (praise you, Jesus!) but she’s leaving for the States from June to September (her dad is Khmer, but her mama is from Oregon, and they haven’t been to the U.S. in 3 years).
Our family loves being together and we have fun together, but we’re also individuals who aren’t carbon copies of each other and need different things. And sometimes I feel stretched too thin. And sometimes Gabe feels like he’s all alone (only guy + 3 years of hard stuff that bonded the girls & me). And then there’s all the third culture kid stuff and the moving to a foreign country and blah blah blah.
We have friends coming to visit us in less than a month. Yay! And they’re bringing us goodies from our church family. Yay! (our packages are taking a looooong time to get here, and we’re hoping they’re not “lost”) Then Gabe’s mom is coming in July! Yay!
So lots to look forward to. But I’ve reeeeally felt convicted these past 4 months to take one day at a time, enjoy it, and not for a minute, wish a day away or look ahead to something easier.
These girlies of ours are growing too fast as it is.
Well, hey, I think that about covers it. I didn’t really get too deep into anything, but I don’t feel like I’m hiding anything either. Thanks for listening. Anything else you’d like to know?