Phnom Pehn can be a difficult city to digest. The dizzying movement, chaos, and oppressive heat that greeted me upon my arrival have not let up -- they immediately accost you once you step outside the comfort of your home. Only my expectations have shifted. Each time I peel off another layer of this city to examine, I realize just how staggering the gulf is between what I believed life would be in Cambodia and how life really is, how simultaneously foreign and familiar, alarming and comforting.
In the search to embrace some shred of normalcy in an otherwise patently foreign environment, I've been doing some strange-for-me things, such as spending inordinate amounts of time cooking and thinking about cooking for my flatmates and new friends. (Thank you, Jennifer, for the magic tomato sauce recipe.) I do this despite my oven-hot kitchen, which unfortunately does not even house an oven. And I do this despite the fact that it can be significantly cheaper to eat out than to cook.
Dancing is another strange development. Lots of dancing. Last night, we attended yet another show hosted by the French Cultural Center, this time headlining French hip hop/band, Java. There was rap, an accordian, guitars, French words I could not understand, dancing in the humid night air, and, at some point, a bag of baguettes on stage. It was strange and wonderful. And so much fun.