All’s well in the land of fish amok. We have hit the ground running, literally, for the past 10 days or so. Once we got to Phnom Penh, we had to hit the ground running. The Country Manager, Sandra, met us at the airport and it has been all stations go for the last ten days. Crazy! Unfortunately this has meant that we haven’t explored much yet, but considering we will be here for 12 months, I’m sure we can make do.
So what have we been doing? So much! We have two weeks of whats called “In Country Orientation”. Basically, that means that we have been hammered with information about the program, health and security, language, culture and more. We have met people from the international head office, local staff, other ngo’s and other volunteers. Everything we have done has been awesome, but it has also been a bit overwhelming at times too. We have been dragged around to some amazing restuarants and cafes, been shown how to use fire extinguishers and allowed to put out some petrol fires, taught self defence moves and thrown one another around on mats and talked extensively about stress.
In the middle of all of this, we have also had to look for a home. We have got quite strict rules about security and safety and choosing a new place to live. Not over the 5th floor because the firefighting ladders only reach that floor, must have security bars, secure entrance, own entrance etc. Mick and I have gone from one end of town to the other trying to fiind somewhere that we want. Perhaps we are too picky or perhaps we are just not willing to settle because all the other volunteers are pretty much sorted. We have finally found a place that is still in the process of being built. Its right opposite a small market, 15 min walk to the Royal Palace / Riverside area. Less than 10 minutes walk to the BKK 1 area which is an “expat” area with western restuarants, small bars, western supermarket etc. 2 bed, 2 bath, balcony, ceiling fans (very important!) basic kitchen and it has a good vibe to it. It also has the added bonus of being underneath another volunteer’s apartment! Its still to be finalised, but hopefully it all goes to plan.
The other great thing we have been doing has been learning Khmer! We have been allocated about 8 classes, very intensive 3-4 hour classes every day. I must say that this has been really exciting and I feel like we are really making progress. Because Mick and I can speak some Thai, there are some similarities so in a way we have an advantage above the other volunteers. We have heard some of the sounds before such as the “bp” and “ng” sound which are not used in English and we know how to form them. We can already form basic sentences and ask questions, know numbers and greetings. I think we will try to continue these classes 2 times a week for a while. YAY!
Just to finalise this post, I will say a “yay” to us – Mick and I celebrated 7 years of being together the other day. Its been a really wonderful time and I think we have had some awesome experiences. So here’s to another 7 years! Go us!