third-culture kids (part 4)

Another interview with the Girls Taviano! Catch up on Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 if you’d like. Today we’re answering questions from readers. Yay!

Chris asks, “What’s the driving age so Ava can get her own moto?”

Ava: 16.

Olivia: But technically there isn’t one.


Liv: You can’t get a license until you’re 16, but people drive without them.

What would happen to you if you didn’t have a license?

Liv: You might get pulled over and charged $1. And a moto license is $60, so you could get pulled over 60 times before you’d need a license.

Ava: Dad took us to Olympic Stadium to practice driving. I was good at it.

Liv: I was better.

Ava: No you weren’t.

All right then. Next question:

M asks: One question I have is about parks/play places for the kids. Is there anywhere they can play with other kids?

Ava: Not really. I’m not sad about it though. I’m fine with it.

Nina: We play with people at their houses.

There aren’t really parks nearby, but I know they exist. And there’s a place called Kids City that has climbing walls and fun stuff to do. We may go there sometime, but the prices are pretty Western, so out of our price range for “fun.”

Sharon says: This is unrelated to the questions you asked, but I am so thrilled to hear you are sponsoring a Compassion child, while raising support for yourselves!

Ava: Oh, yeah. I forgot about him.

Nina: Yeah, his picture isn’t on our fridge here. Where did it go?

Marla: This is a little bit embarrassing, but we’ve been doing a pretty bad job of communicating with/praying for our kiddo. His name is Gabriel and he lives in the Philippines, and his birthday is the day after Gabe’s. We’re excited to live so close to our kiddo (relatively speaking), because we hope to visit him someday. But we really need to get on the ball. Get back into writing him, sending pics, praying for him. Thanks for the nudge, Sharon.

Laura asks: Who lives above/below/on the sides of you? Are neighbors friendly?

Nina: Our landlord lives on the first floor of our house (with his wife, Miss Mony, and their two nieces). Their son, Rith, and his wife live on the second floor. And we live on the top. Meyching lives across the street.

Who’s Meyching?

Livi: She’s our neighbor girl. She’s 7 years old and she goes to one of the schools on the corner. We met her when she waved to us on our balcony one time. We started talking to her in Khmer, and she talks to us in English. But sometimes she’s shy, so we talk to her family. Her grandma wants her to come play at our house, but she’s scared to.

Ava: Whenever we’re coming home from somewhere, if they’re sitting outside in front of their house, they want us to come sit with them and talk (they bring chairs out for us) and don’t want us to leave.

What do you talk about?

Nina: We talk about where they’re going for Khmer New Year and what they do. On a normal day, we talk about studying Khmer and how long we’ve been here and they always tell us we’re smart for only studying for two months.

Livi: There’s also a 12-year-old boy. We met him and his mom a couple weeks ago. She would ask him questions in Khmer for him to ask us in English, but we could understand them in Khmer.

Another question from Laura: Do the local kids go to school (what’s that like?)

Livi: They go to school Monday through Saturday, either in the morning or afternoon/evening. They switch back and forth.

Ava: There are four schools right on our street. Sovannaphumi school right beside us, Hello American school across the street (on the corner), Toul Tom Poung High School at the end of our street, and some other school that meets on the top floor of the building across from us. I don’t know what school is like, because I’ve never been there.

Marla: There are kids everywhere on our street. Hopefully we’ll be able to interact with them more once we learn more Khmer.

Another great question from Laura: Is there a zoo?

Ava: Yes, and it sucks.

Livi: Trust us. We know. We’ve been to 54 of them.

Nina: It’s so small, and it has one of each animal.

Tell them about all the animals that are roaming free. The monkeys, the deer…

Ava: All the animals are running free there.

No, they’re not. They have elephants, sun bears…

Nina: Oh! Then let’s go!

Last question from Laura: Do you have a crock pot? (would that make cooking easier?)

Livi: No, we don’t have a crock pot, and, yes, it would probably make cooking easier. We have 2 stove burners. And a rice cooker.

What else would make cooking easier?

Livi: An oven, because in America, that’s what we used every day to roast vegetables and cook things.

Final thought from Laura: I always have tons of questions when I read your blog posts, but often feel (insecure) (missionary-clueless) nervous to reply. No valid reason why, actually. I will keep thinking of more.

Marla: No! Don’t feel clueless or nervous! Ask away!

Let’s talk a little bit about the angst people have been feeling lately. Nina, you were in tears last night. Why?

Nina: Because it felt like no one is ever happy.

What did Dad and I talk to you about?

Nina: You said we’ve been happy, but at night, we’re all exhausted and in a bad mood. And things are better in the morning.

Was it better this morning?

Nina: Yeah.

Livi: I’ve had trouble getting along with my sister (who I will not name) because she’s been a bit… fidgety.

That’s a nice way to say it.

Livi: You and dad have been getting breaks from us, but we don’t really get a break from each other. Wherever we go, it’s all three of us.

Yeah, we need to work on that. Do you think there’s any hope for us being a happy, harmonious family?

Nina: Maybe 1%.

Ava: No family’s perfect.

How about good enough?

Livi: I think I’ll just wait for the other people to shape up their attitudes.

Sounds like a plan.

(We’re considering starting a podcast instead of all this typing-up-of-words. What do you think?)

7 thoughts on “third-culture kids (part 4)

  1. Emma

    I am so loving reading all of your blog posts, and it’s really great reading posts that are so real and not “we are always perfect and happy”.
    I also love the idea of a podcast.

    Blessings to you all.

  2. Laura

    Love that you answered my questions! Yay! Sorry about your zoo situation. Growing up in Ohio, I got spoiled by the Columbus Zoo, and every EVERY zoo I’ve been to since sucks too. 🙂 Thanks a lot, Jack Hanna. hahaha!
    Back to the crock pot thing. Do you have access to one over there? How much are they? I would love to contribute a few $$ each week to the “Make cooking less stressful for the Tavianos” CrockPot Fund, so you can get one. I think that would be a super fun Mother’s Day present, don’t you? 🙂 Let me know!!!
    Ok, some new questions for the girls. What is the BEST part about Cambodia? What do you like the most and the least? How’s your dad doing? Do you have a hammock in your house? (random, but I imagine you guys having one)
    Much love and prayers to you guys!

  3. Hannah

    Livi’s response to the zoo question is HILARIOUS!!! She must have such a great sense of humour 🙂
    No family is perfect – so true. Praying you find solutions for breaks from each other but also appreciate how amazing this opportunity is!
    xxx Han

  4. Cheryl Pickett

    I hope you keep the blog. It would be even more work, but I like it when podcasts have a read the transcript option. I much prefer reading because it’s a lot faster for me. If a podcast is 15 min long, it’s 15 min long. I can read slowly or quickly depending on the time I have. Just my two cents.

  5. kim

    YES! Podcast! Our disharmonious family of 7 would love to tune in 🙂

    Nina….ALL things are possible with Christ! There is a WAY higher than 1% chance that we as His children can live joyfully together (although looking at the grumbling, disputing, whiny, idolatrous and sinful Israelites and early church members could be cause for dismay and hopelessness!!) We just keep seeking to apply Philippians, I Cor. 13 and other relationship-oriented scriptures to our lives as we strive to love each other humbly and unselfishly. It’s tough, but He promised it’s doable by His strength!

    Thanks, as always, for your candidness and honesty…I think of you when I see Jen’s beaded cross on our wall 🙂

  6. Melissa

    What ministries are you and the girls currently actively involved in? Once you finish language school do you plan to begin your own ministry or work fulltime in an existing ministry? How does is work with IOM (or any mission board I guess)? I assume if someone is “tentmaking” (working To support their own living) and ministering outside of their “job” (just as someone who is actively involved in ministry here at home would do) the expectations are different to someone who is raising support for the majority of their living expenses through donors. Do you provide quarterly reports of the work you are doing for the support you are raising or is there some other method for accountability?

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