Another week has gone by and I now officially live here, in a house, up the road. Some other things happened too.
Last week I met my soon-to-be housemate, we met for lunch and conspired to go house-hunting together. I visited ABCs and Rice school to say hello and give them some supplies from Australia that they needed this week, I also spent some time seeing how much the Full Belly Farm has progressed since my last visit!! It’s thriving! Two ponds full of fish, a lot more chickens than last year (when Olive the pig was snacking on the chicks) and a great crop rotation of eggplants, kale and other healthy veggies.
A chance invite and my friend the tuk tuk driver invited me to attend the English class he teaches. He initially asked if I’d teach the class! Errr. no. I did say yes to chatting in English with the students. It was really great. A little awkward to begin but by the end of the class pretty much each of the 12 students practised a little English with me. At the end of the class one of the students presented this pretty star, deftly made out of 100 riel notes, I was very pleased.
Saturday I spent looking at houses, by late afternoon, we had decided on a great place close to town. A quick beer to celebrate and then into town to meet one of the ABCs volunteers for dinner and some more drinks. The three of us had a really fun night, including my housemate finding a little shop named for her hometown in France!
Sunday was more low key. Later in the afternoon I went to a board games event one of the expats here organised. It ended up being a really great afternoon and I met some lovely new people. One of whom took (at my suggestion) me on a market adventure this morning! More on that in a moment. She also introduced me to someone in the tourism industry who I’m hoping to talk with tomorrow!
In the evening I met up with my new friend and organiser of the hub space I’m now working at three days per week. There were a few other people and a few cocktails; a very nice evening.
After ‘working’ on Monday, it was time to go and sign for the rental on the house… the contract is 1 year. So… looks like I’m almost a local. Ha ha ha!
Tuesday was so crazy! I started the day with a meeting with ConCERT, we had a really good chat though I sense that the forward plan is somewhat organic. Then I rushed off to meet the organiser of Together for Cambodia. A house that a friend of mine in Sydney spent some time volunteering for, I said I’d bring some donations over for her. It was excellent to hear another wonderful success story. Off again to meet with the volunteer coordinator for ABCs and Rice, I want to focus on their web stuff but wanted to be sure that they have enough hands on deck at the school for now, which they do. Later I’d like to help them with their breakfast club. The busyness and heat of the day started to take their toll, plus a lack of sleep this week due to the ramp up for a wedding at my guesthouse, so I went to my room and recuperated, packed, chatted to my friend in Australia.
Yesterday (Wednesday) was a public holiday for the King Crowning (Coronation?). Most places still operated and for me I opted to ‘take the day off’ from the hub and use the time to move and get settled into the new house! Instead I had another meeting with ConCERT to assist in finalising a video message (my role was to say ‘yes, that looks good’) and help with the social media (create the post copy). Then run around trying to work out my local shops to get the basics for the house, then get ready to attend the wedding party. By the time my friend arrived in a tuk tuk to collect me I was more than ready for a drink! The wedding was great, it was an English guy and Khmer lady. It was outside the guesthouse I’d been staying at and it was a nice set up; a Khmer band, lots of tulle and lots of food!
Getting back to my house, although relatively sober, was interesting, I had to squeeze my hand through a ‘hidden’ panel in the gate and open a padlock with only one hand without being able to see a thing! Luckily I managed to finally get inside. The next padlock on the front door is a little bit easier to wrangle. I spent the first night in the new place on my own, the housemate decided to stay an extra night at her dormitory. It has been a while since I’ve stayed in a new house on my own… I’m sure it will feel homely soon.
This morning I was invited (as mentioned, I nominated my new friend to take me) to go to the markets. So I figured that it was worth going to work late to experience a local market. It was really great and super close to my house, it’s called Pshar Gne and it was great to have some insights for my first visit. I quickly learned that there wasn’t much I could buy until I own a knife and a pan, sigh. I bought fruit. I’d hired a bike for the day, so we took a ride to check out my friend’s house. Whoa! It was really nice and fully decked out like an Aussie place, with an oven and couch! Believe me, this is pretty rare. So I proclaimed more friendship on this couple – ha ha. Then we discussed me helping them with digital stuff in return for roasted vegetables, I love it! I rode back home without incident or getting lost but was promptly scolded by the son of my landlady for leaving my bike out the front on the driveway for about 3 minutes.
Now I’m at the hub ‘working’, I hope you enjoy the result.