Thursday, January 31, 2008

First Week Reflections

So it's been a week since we left LA, and as we settle in we're really looking forward to the year ahead. Today we moved out of our guesthouse (guesthouse = cheap hotel) and into a 3-bedroom 4-bathroom apartment near the Russian Market (by the way, rent here is $250/mo). Our arrangement here is only going to be for the next 3 weeks - we're staying with Sarah DeNooyer, another intern with IJM who arrived a few days before us. We moved in at the same time as Sarah, who will share this apartment with Lisa when she arrives around 2/22/08.

Even though it's temporary, we're glad (maybe even thrilled?) to get to move in to a "real house". The guest house was very small and dark, and it felt like we were living in a pantry or under some stairs or something. We also put a deposit down today on a place up on 184th street, which conveniently opens up about the same time Lisa comes into town.

Personally, the transition has been pretty smooth so far, but I think that this coming week will be one of the toughest for me. Now that we're in a more permanent place, and that Naomi will start working Monday, the sense of "O crap, what am I going to do?" will probably start to set in for me.

I have plans to do at least a couple full days of photography, and I think it might even be nice to do it for several weeks. I have also been checking the newspaper and online postings for jobs each day. I have applied for a couple positions, but it's early yet and I haven't heard back from anyone. I also think I will start going to a Khmer tutor - I'm enjoying learning Khmer much more than I thought I would.

Regarding Khmer people, we've really been enjoying getting to know the people at the IJM office and other folks around town. It feels like 90% of our interactions with Khmers consist of being hailed by "tuk-tuk mista?" or by beggars. But we did have a nice attempt at a conversation with the girls who gave us manicures ($1 at the market, this will definitely become a habit - my nails have NEVER looked nicer!), and we've started to make friends with Borat, a tuk-tuk driver.

This past week I also was reminded of the joy of ordering food in a place where they don't speak ANY English! This was so fun, I think it deserves it's own post.

Jan 31, 2008
Street 444
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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