Monday, January 30, 2012

Rants, Reward

I've been working my butt off during the past year on advocacy, field research and a publication on the Project.  The report will launch in Melbourne, Australia in a few weeks.  Yet, even as co-author and lead researcher, I will not be in attendance.  It seems unfair, and I've found myself frustrated with the process on several occasions.  Ethan tries to keep me positive by reminding me that a conference at a certain human rights center will be focused solely on the work, that this work could actually impact Project-affected people both in this Project and other related projects.   Yes, yes, all very rad, but I am a salty curmudgeon.  I suppose all the workings of the world aren't just.  That is one of many lessons I've learned through my experience in Cambodia.

Rant aside, I deserve a treat.  I'm thinking this pair of No. 6 clogs will suffice.  Question is, are they too similar to the previously posted Rachel Comey wedges?  (See last post.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My weekend

I am trying to stay present, but my mind invariably moves back either to memories or forward to plans ahead. Oh, plans ahead - both a well of excitement and possibilities and worrisome uncertainty.

This weekend: wine and cheese tasting followed by movie night on a terrace, where I fought off persistent mosquitoes; introducing the Western concept of a "bridal lunch" to girlfriends, one of whom will be wedded this week; a trip to the recently renovated Central Market (love the architecture of that building); dinner with my uncle, a temporary transplant to Phnom Penh; phone calls to my grandmother Elpidia and my mum; dancing in the apartment with Ethan; and today, a lazy, warm Sunday afternoon spent at Java Cafe.  

Life is good.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Comfort food.

Lunch:  A simple rice bowl and okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake, at Spring Vale, a small Japanese eatery near Toul Tumpong Market (Russian Market).  Because of our work schedules, Ethan and I hardly ever meet for lunch.  It's such a treat when we do - an hour or two to break the pace of work.


via Erin Considine (Una)

I spent one afternoon in Portland catching up with Becki at Crema. It was so wonderful to learn how life has evolved in the past year and a half.  

Burnside/NE28th was just as I remembered - Crema, the small plant shop across the street, the sleepy vintage stores nearby, they all felt unchanged.  Only, as I was telling Becki that afternoon, I was disconcerted because in that environment, I felt very different, older, more worn.  Could a year and a half being away really do that to you?  

After coffee, we walked over to Una.  I had all the intention to buy a Mociun & Krantz necklace.  They were 20 percent off! I had been drooling over them from Cambodia for x months!  But somehow, I was not blown away by them at all.  Instead, what made me swoon was an Erin Considine piece (left picture, above).  I didn't pull the trigger that day.  Sticker shock must have also accompanied me on the voyage across the International Date Line. 

Back in Cambodia, I'm still thinking about that necklace.  Good jewelry, particularly out here, is so hard to find.  And I've never been one to go without such luxuries.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What I Ate, Pt. 2

Or, rather, what I drank.  Stumptown Coffee in Portland, Oregon. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Disjointed images of life, above.  I'm slowly trying to get back into the swing of things.  It's proving more difficult with this trip.  Yesterday, at the grocery store, I ran into a colleague who heads up a division of the UN.  We lamented about how, with each trip out of Cambodia, it becomes harder to adjust to life here.

At any rate, there are many things I can look forward to this year:  My sisters and Ryan are visiting me in May.  In early July and August, Ethan and I are visiting Indonesia and then India.  Sometime after that, there will be a move, which will be an entirely different beast.  Also, the report is near publication -so very, very close, but it is driving me insane a little. (And, how will the Government respond??)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What I Ate, Pt. 1

Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Portland

I'm back in Phnom Penh, still jetlagged and spinning from nearly four weeks of time with my family and friends - and Ethan's family, too.  Last night, menacing thunderstorms kept me up in the wee hours of the morning and my thoughts raced immediately to my time back home.  Admittedly, I cannot really pin down "home": I was born and raised for several years abroad; I grew up in Los Angeles and my family is there; I lived in the gem that is Portland for 6 years; I now reside in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Ethan and I are contemplating our next move.  I have never considered myself a "nomad," as I really like to plant myself somewhere for an extended period of time, but gazing at the previous sentence makes me pause.  

At any rate, my thoughts centered on the idea of "home" and "community." Having spent some time reconnecting with friends on this trip, I am reminded of the calibre of my friends.  They are an incredible bunch of people.

And then, my mind wandered to gatherings with these people, often against the setting of food and consumption.  On this trip, I followed friends and family around to their favorite restaurants. Here are a few favorites:

La Moscata Bakery (Los Angeles, California):  I've never actually stepped foot in this bakery.  I only know that my dad, a retired City of Los Angeles worker, frequented this bakery for what he claims are some of the best tamales in town.  Apparently, it's a City workers' haunt.  The morning I left for Denver, Colorado, I awoke to find several dozen tamales n our family kitchen. My parents made the 6:00AM morning drive to stand in line at this Los Angeles bakery.  They wanted to send Ethan and his family a few vegetarian and sweet tamales. 

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery (Fort Collins, Colorado):  I ordered the eggs benedict, topped with tomato ragu, kale, white beans, squash and cream cheese hollandaise.  I, however, also sampled the buttermilk pancakes topped with pumpkin cream, candied pumpkin seeds and chili-infused syrup and the red velvet pancakes with the espresso-infused maple syrup.  

Del INTI (Portland, Oregon):  I really, really enjoy a non-fusion, simple lomo saltado, the kind you find at hole-in-the-wall Peruvian eateries, tucked away in bland stripmalls in Southern California.  This restaurant was certainly not in a stripmall and the food was a little fusion, but it was one of the best Peruvian meals I've had in Portland.

Tabernash Tavern (Tabernash, Colorado): This is a small restaurant in the mountains of Colorado, near Winter Park.  All I remember is that the buffalo stroganoff was yum.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Eating, drinking, and catching up with amazing friends in PDX.  This little city glitters.
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