Saturday, April 28, 2007

And you can pray for

And you can pray for... eyes which are badly infected again. I wish we knew why it does this!...

The last one for a while

This is the last one for a while. I've bought everything I need. All I have to do is learn a few more dances, wash my clothes, pack my suitcase, and get on a bus on Friday. We'll spend 3 days travelling (approximately from Seattle to Spokane). Then 20 days in the jungle tribes of Ratanakiri, then back to Mondulkiri to live at an orphanage, and provide an after-school youth center program for the kids next door. 50 days there, then back for 3 days in Phnom Penh, then back to Battambang for about two weeks, then HOME!!!!

Friday, April 27, 2007

From My Daddy!

From My Daddy

I don't know when you'll get this but I just want you to know how proud I am of you and that I love you very much.

It just hit me as I'm typing this the time you were sliding on the old slide in the park by the junior high and I spotted the newer play tower across the park. I tried to get you to leave the old slide but you didn't want to go. Finally, after failing totally at trying to talk you into going to the other slide I had to pick you up pretty much kicking and screaming, "No daddy, no daddy, I don't want to go, I like this slide."

As I headed of across the park with you over my shoulder, somewhat exasperated I said something like, "Trust me, I'm your dad, I know what I'm talking about". Then it smacked me like a sledge hammer: That's what God says over and over again. "Trust me, I'm your Father, I know what I'm talking about."

So, you're learning to trust. The park's bigger but it's the same lesson.

Look for the beauty in the jungle, take pictures, enjoy walking hand in hand with your real Daddy.
Love you, babe,

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Just when you thought it couldn't get any hotter

Just when you thought it couldn't get any hotter...

It did. Oh heavens my body does NOT like heat. Even Yakima summers are too much for me, California wasn't so bad, but Texas was too humid. And now I'm finding there's a whole new level of hotness that I never imagined (and in places like India and Africa its worse even than here. Insane!). At night, even when it gets all the way down to 83, it's so humid it feels hot still. Rainy season is coming, we keep saying, rainy season keeps coming.

I abdicated my room a month ago. Now Jessica and I sleep out on the balcony on the second floor. Every night we haul out our sleeping bags, bug spray and mosquito nets, and set up our bedroom. It's been great. It's a full 10 degrees cooler outside than in, even with the fans going. And the balastrade makes a lovely desk for my journal writing, studying, reading, and devotions. Every night recently I've been reading aloud the Horse and His Boy to Jessica. We finished Pride and Prejudice, and I read aloud the last 10 chapters of Persuasion so we could get to the Chronicles. I do all the voices. Shasta is American, but Aravis is formal British. Bree and Hwin are British, but very horsey. The Narnians are also British in a Jane Austin main characters way, while most of the Calormenes are the male version of Lady Catherine De Burg. I'm reusing voices, you see, from Pride and Prejudice. And my own accent is heading that direction a bit between reading so much British lit aloud, and talking with the two australians on the team.

Last night was very funny. I was sitting at my desk ouside, ostensibly working on my journal, but really reading Pilgrim's Progress (very applicable to what we've been learning here, by the way), and a bug fell down the back of my shirt. I jumped up and started trying to get it out, making all sorts of noises, then ran into the common room and ran around in circles with my outer shirt over my head trying to get it off, and then ran into my bedroom to whip my tank top off. The view for those watching must have been spectacularly slapstick.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The nice thing about Khmer New Year

The nice thing about Khmer New Year... getting to cook western food, everyday. Here I am treating Alissa to pasta and toast. Yummy. Unfortunately, thanks to a diet of toasted cheese sandwiches, pasta, scrambled eggs, and pizza, I'm back in my larger pair of jeans. Oh well.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Khmer Culture day.

Khmer Culture Day/End of Class Party

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Dressing Khmer to make a point

For our last day of English class, Alissa and I threw a party. We bought snacks, and watched the movie Joseph: The King of Dreams. We'd spent six days reading the story of Joseph out loud as part of our English Comprehension plan, and then copied the story for them to read. Then Seang found the movie in Phnom Penh, and we showed it to them as a treat.

While they watched the movie, two of my Khmer friends got me dressed up in Khmer clothes, did my makeup and quickly taught me a dance. They dressed up too. When the movie ended we sang a song and did a Khmer Dance (me very badly), and then I got to talk to them about culture. Here I was looking very sill as a Khmer, and next to me stood two beautiful Khmer girls, dancing and singing beautifully. They looked wonderful. I just looked silly and like I was trying too hard.

Here, most young people do everything they can to be Western. They whiten their skin and watch MTV and movies, and want larger noses and bigger eyes. I told them that we spend tons of money in America darkening our skins, and making our noses smaller. And that while it's alright to like things about other cultures (I told them I love Italian and Thai food, English authors, and French mentality towards life and fashion), to remember that they have a wonderful culture (that was all but destroyed by the Khmer Rouge) and our country would love to have the history and traditions that they are in a hurry to be rid of. It is good to be content with the culture you are born into. Appreciate other cultures, but also appreciate your own...because it is good and God loves Khmer too.

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Sumuuen, Sombat and Me all Khmered out.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Some friends of mine

Some Friends of Mine
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Me and Dara

One of the best things about being here is the relationships (and since there's no way to get away from people around here, you may as well revel in them!). One of my friends' name is Dara. She is a student in my English class, but about my age. She's very sweet, and will actually be going to Mondulkiri right when I start heading back from there. She often sits and talks with me after her Bible class, until it is time for dinner.

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Yaron, Me, Theavy and Srey Mut

Some of my friends I 'acquired' from Nancy. She had met Theavy when she was in Cambodia, and asked me to look her up when I came. I did, and invited her over one Saturday morning. She in turn brought two of her friends with her (she was afraid she wouldn't have anything to talk with me about!). So Yaron became my friend as well.

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One day after our second Saturday chat, Yaron decided that she wanted to take me around on her moto. So we left that afternoon and went to her family business out in the country, then to her family home to meet her mother and some of her sisters. Then we went to Theavy's place just as she got off work. There I met Theavy's family, some of her students, and walked out to a field where they climbed a tree and picked a bag of green mangoes for me. I try to see them at least once a week. They're both really funny, and between our crazy mixed Khmer and English we manage whole conversations. Right before Khmer new year they came over and bought banana chips (my favorite) and Sugar Cane juice and we went to the river, where we promptly got rained out and had to go home.

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Theavy's Family

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Khmer New Year

Khmer New Year

Here are some pictures of Khmer New Year. After we went to the restaurant where I petted a cat and ate while laying in a hammock, we went to the grassy area in the median and ate popcorn, read and people watched. I finished a lengthy letter to the Scobell's I've been working on for months now.

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Dary, who hosted us in Phnom Penh

We stayed with Dary in her house, sometimes with her mother, brothers or sister also. Our favorite days were when we went to the western supermarket and cooked ourselves Pasta and toasted cheese sandwiches. For breakfast we had scrambled eggs, toast, and coffee. You don't realize how much you miss home until you trade rice porridge for scrambled eggs (which I was so tired of on tour, but so grateful for here. This morning I made myself fried eggs for breakfast, and Mom made them so much growing up I swore I'd never voluntarily eat them again. Just goes to show you...something).

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Me in the hammock

We spent some time in the Russian Market shopping. I bought only a skirt for outreach and a few tank tops for under things. But Jessica and Susy won't be coming back through Phnom Penh at the end of outreach, while my team will be spending three days there at the base. So if I have any money left, I'll do my shopping then. There is some beautiful silk there, and carved stuff, and fabrics and hand woven Kramas. I was sorely tempted.

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Me and Susy in Phnom Penh

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Phnom Penh

Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh.

I'm really not sure where all the h's go in this city name.

I'm in Phnom Penh living with Dary and her sister and brother. Jessica and Suzy are with me. We're living in a little studio apartment somewhere in the city.

Wednesday the entire DTS (just about) got on the 1:00 bus from Battambang. We're all in a holiday mood. Especially the leaders who for once in 6 months weren't in charge, and could kid around with the rest of us. On the way, as usual, the bus driver played hours of Khmer music videos, loudly. It would be entertaining if not for the lack of subjectmatter. Every Khmer music video is about a boy or girl who is in love with someone, but they don't love him/her, and always go off with the other guy/girl who drives a Lexus instead of a moto. By the end of the trip, I was making bets about the plot line, and comments in Khmer -- to the amusement of the Khmer students around me. I'm glad they think I'm funny. Otherwise I'd be wildly annoying!

Upon arriving there was mass chaos. Stuart wanted to coordinate everybody, but all the Khmer students wanted to take their guests and go home. So that was madness for a while. Suzy and I bought a pizza which was the best thing I've ever tasted, bar none, in my life. Canadian Bacon and Pineapple and sausage. Yum!

Yesterday we went shopping in the Russian market, and I bought a skirt I needed for outreach and got a tank top to wear. We ate fried noodles and pork in the market for breakfast with a sweet iced coffee on the side. And for dinner, after I'd helped Suzy and Jessica buy gifts for their family and friends (my team will spend three days in Phnom Penh on the way back from outreach, so I can do mine there) we went to the riverfront and ate in hammocks suspended around posts around the table. I've decided that's the most relaxing way to eat in the world. We bought sweetened popcorn there, and took it home to watch the Chronicles of Narnia.

Today we woke up and I cooked scrambled eggs and bread for breakfast (we bought the bread). Then we went to Bunsom's house and met his family and talked for a while. We're meeting everyone for lunch at the Russian Market.

Phnom Penh makes me homesick. Everything else in Cambodia is so foreign, that you hardly notice that you're away. Here feels like any other city (with Khmer flair, of course) but the first night as we were driving in a tuktuk through the rain, we could have been in Seattle for all I could see...we were in the western part of town. Ohhhhhhhh!

While I was hanging in my hammock at dinner a cat came up and laid down next to me (a well kept cat, not the usual strays) and I scratched it's chin and it's tummy and missed my Cai dreadfully.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

The Lord is RISEN!!!

In Cambodia the churches don't celebrate Easter. I got all dressed up yesterday, but was the only one. Because even if no one else knew it -- it's Easter darn it. And I got misty because there were no Cadbury Eggs, White Lilies, and corsages from my father. Nor any standing outside freezing to death in our spring clothes in the daffodils while Dad tries to take a picture.

What did you guys do?

I got food poisoning from the day before and spent the day sleeping on the floor making frantic dashes to the bathroom.

I'm better now.