Sunday, July 18, 2010


It was only today, as I sipped gingerly on a cup of coffee with one hand and skyped with Cherlou with the other, that I realized how remiss I've been about conveying, to family and friends, the differences, the minute details and cultural adjustments of life here. It's almost as if, as soon as my plane descended onto the streets of this city, I took everything that the promise of life here held as is, unquestioned and in whole.

In fact, when speaking to family and friends, I don't usually go into detail, unless specifically prompted, about how normal it now feels to watch childhood cartoons, such as Peter Pan, dubbed in a high-pitched Khmer voice, or how I've grown accustomed to the sun beating on me as I walk the short distance to the office every morning, or how, with any exertion of my body, I now expect beads of sweat to well up and tenaciously cling to my golden-brown skin, or how the sight of saffron-robed, umbrella-toting monks wandering the streets, floating in and out of the fray, no longer holds my prolonged gaze. No, I tend not to speak about how I've become very conscious, at work especially, of only wearing dresses that cover my thighs and shoulders, or how I've somehow learned to tune out the constant calls of the tuk-tuk and moto drivers on the streets, and simultaneously, learned to tune into the nuances of Brit and Aussie written english when reviewing documents. Nor do I speak about how, at about two o'clock in the afternoon, after returning from my nearly two-hour lunch break, I expect a blanket of rain and wind to sweep across the city, violently uprooting and flattening everything in its path, like a child throwing a short-lived tantrum, before begrudgingly giving into the calm of blue, translucent skies.

And, in this manner, in quiet complicit observation, the last two months of my life have passed. I'll do better.

Anyway, that's enough for now. I have a dinner party to attend, and a pair of custom made shoes to pick up.

P.S. And, I forgot to mention that neither the sight of women wearing full set cotton pajamas out and about all day nor the vision of small babies being held on motorbikes fazes me. Well, kind of.


  1. Can you believe that this is all just after 2 months? Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Time is flying here. I know I'm barely scratching the surface now.


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