Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 in Cambodia

  Well 2011 what will the year bring?  I'm very much looking forward to this coming year in Cambodia.  My biggest hope for the year is that we'll have many friends and family visiting us from the states  Especially our kids.   Jaz has a friend here now and it's been great having a test run for future visitors.  I look forward to showing folks around town and letting them see what a great place this is to be living.  I know some folks back home think we perhaps have 'lost a few marbles'.  And if you think about it we quit good paying jobs and became unemployed in the midst what some folks call the the worst economic times in many decades.  But we were not about to lead our lives in a direction dictated by the ups and downs of the economy.   We had plans.  Luckily I can make those statements.   We have no regrets so far and for people contemplating a trip here, you've got time, we'll most likely be here for 2 years at least.

  It's been just over 4 months since we arrived and I at times comment "another day in Paradise".  Certainly at times it feels a bit like that, warm weather, cheap restaurants, cheap beer, wonderful kids I work with, no car, bike rides daily, mid-day naps,  meeting new friends, the best fresh fruit and veggies available, the Khmer people and new experiences often.  Of course I miss friends and family back home terribly.  And certainly some foods not available here I miss and I miss the variety of wines at home.  And the great Vermont micro-brews especially pale ales I miss.  But overall there is not a lot I'm dying for that is not attainable here.

  In fact I am even able to catch some sporting events on TV that I thought I would miss, including the World Series, some college f-ball/b-ball, pro f-ball and there is plenty of soccer and tennis.  Much tennis that I would not catch at home.  I don't watch much TV, usually sports and news.  It was a bit odd to watch the Pats and Packers Sun. Night Football on Wed. afternoon, but I am getting the College Bowl games live.  Most likely will catch the Australian Open in the next few weeks.  OK enough sports talk.

  Work is still challenging but fun.  Right now I work only mornings at the school but starting this week I will be doing some afternoon work with kids at the Angkor Children's Hospital.  A change of scene and something new will be good I believe.  I should mention that I would not so easily be able to do the work with the kids at the school as I do without the generous 'gifts' sent here from folks back home.  I can't list the many items but know all are being put to good use in helping the kids to learn and grow and have fun.  It has made my job so much easier and fun.  MANY THANKS!

  Sometimes I think I'm re-creating a Family Room here.  We have 45-55 kids and a lot more kids closer to 3 years old, some are @ 7 yrs. old.  So we have 2 'spaces' for the kids now, so we split them up.  We have a set up for outside which looks more FR like with blocks, paints, watercolors, clay, books, and manipulatives  etc...  In the 'hut' we work on small motor skills and numbers, colors, abc's and the like.  I try to get both spaces ready and find myself sharing time between both spaces.  If volunteers are plentiful or at least 2 it's much easier, if not which has been the case lately it's a bit crazier.  Nevertheless I love it.

  Yesterday, Jan 1, Jess and I had a most wonderful start for the new year.  Slept in and woke w/o hangovers.  ( It was a fun NY Eve).  We started off happily with a cheese omlette.  Then we took a long bike ride, cheerfully getting 'lost' and discovering new areas.  We then stopped for $1.50 mango margaritas, $1 tacos and people watching downtown.  Got $5 foot massages which included more than our feet.  Returned home and shortly thereafter left in the tuk tuk with Sovann, Jaz and her friend Jeffery for an interesting ride outside Siem Reap.  We went to the 'mountain' in the area, it's pretty flat here.  We grabbed sandwiches on the way there.  Returning back home we napped, woke had a late pesto pasta dinner and settled in watching Dexter on the laptop, a Showtime series that is done well.  The weather was great and I must not forget the chocolate we had after dinner to end the day.  A good start that I hope continues for 2011.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!