I did so many things this month that my memory is all jumbled up at this point. Thanks to me posting regularly on Facebook, I am able to retrieve the events that happened.
We went to visit Takeo. We stayed in this sleep little town called Doun Keo. Our meet up location was close to Jim’s site so he graciously showed us around his high school’s cricket farm as well as Phnom Chisor. The next day, we also went to Angkor Borei and Phnom Daa. These were long tuk tuk rides full of fun, songs, and rain. We finished the day with some good Khmer family BBQ. Right before we left, we were able to see Dallas’s student who came to get his eyes checked as well.
A Facebook Rant:
So many people told me “Wow, you look like you’re doing well in Cambodia judging from your social media posts. You’re always traveling or having fun.”
The reality is we don’t usually post about the negative things that happens on a daily basis.
Well, here’s a little something that happened today. I was just working at my desk at the Health Center when this high rank official in the district showed up and said hello to me. We knew each other already. I asked him how he was, and he answered. However, literally the first comment he makes after that was about my weight. How I haven’t lost any. How I said I bike a lot but I don’t look healthy enough because I look fat as usual. All of this was said in front of many patients and staff.
Now, if you know me, you know that I can’t hide my facial expressions very well. I should win an oscar, really. I kept on smiling and nodding. Conversed with him politely and even got up and bowed my head to say goodbye formally.
Of course, the second he left.... the health center staff who’s working in the same room with me could tell by my face that I was PISSED OFF. They said “It’s okay, Christine. Don’t listen to him. You do what makes you happy.” I’ve ranted enough to them about it and educated them about US customs before already so they know fully well what I was feeling. Thank God, I have such understanding and supportive people around me too. Otherwise, I would have exploded in a blast of anger already. 😡😡😡
Sadly, this is the reality here. He wasn’t being rude. It’s culturally acceptable to say these things. He’s a high rank official so I don’t want to make him lose face by educating him either. So what else can I do? I keep on sucking it up and living like this every day. Getting upset or sad, but always trying to pretend like I’m okay because it’s the culture.
At the weekly Cambodian Youth Leadership Club meetings, I shared the snacks I bought from Myanmar with my students. They were so surprised and happy that it made me happy!
Some of the volunteers went to Phnom Penh this weekend to participate in the Project Development and Management training at Peace Corps. We went a day early to explore Oudong. Oudong was a Royal residence and Cambodia’s capital for more than 250 years until 1866. A royal necropolis of sovereigns from many centuries is scattered on top of the mountain, Phnom Oudong.
Eventful, Exhausting, and Exciting training at Peace Corps. It was night to see some familiar faces again though! We ate some American food and checked out the new Aeon Mall 2.
Jamil came to visit my site and met some of my family and students. After a look around at my site, we went to stay a night in my provincial town Kampong Cham city. It was an evening with some drinks and breeze by the river. The next day Carley and Oscar came to join so we all went to Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei mountains near the city.
My students and I went for a long bike ride to Kbal Tuk. My 12th graders claimed that they are so stressed about the upcoming exams that they just need a fun day to relieve their anxieties. We rode with each other. We ate together and played in the water. They showed me their secret spots, and I shared some American games with them.
My Program Manager Sedtha came to visit me at site. We met with the primary school director, high school director, and with my health center staff. We also ate lunch together at my home.
Off I went to Singapore and Bangkok with TJ. In Singapore, I was fortunate enough to meet with some old friends since Kindergarten. I was also soooo happy to meet my little sis from church in Bangkok too. I was super happy about eating my favorite Thai food too.
During our trip to Singapore and Bangkok, I realized that TJ and I didn’t really cared much when we heard people speaking English or Burmese in public places. However, when we hear Khmer, we lit up like little Christmas lights. We got even more excited when we get to talk to them in Khmer.
Isn’t it interested and endearing that we miss speaking Khmer already?
I can only imagine how hard it will be for us when we finish our Peace Corps service next year and go back to the US.
I went to Kampong Cham City again. This was a new record because I biked from my home in the village all the way to K Cham City. My stomach was not well, my cardio was awful, and the heat was intense, but I somehow did it.
...and just like that June came and went.