A Day in the Life

This week as you’ll see my blog is a little longer than usual, but I wanted to paint you a detailed picture of what a typical day looks like for me:
The alarm clock goes off as Brittany routinely says, “It’s 6:00am y’all.”  I know it’s time to get up.  I open my eyes and notice the sun is already up and starting to come in through our window.  It’s the only time of the day I’m remotely cool so I want to stay in bed, yet I’m eager for our daily morning devotions.  I emerge out from under my mosquito net, get dressed, brush my teeth, and put on my bug spray.  Someone rings the bell right on cue at 6:30, letting everyone know it’s time for morning devotions.  At devotions, all of the girls along with me and my teammates take our seats around the big wooden table.  As always, we open up in prayer with everyone praying out loud all at once, both in English and Khmer.  The girls then sing a few Khmer worship songs, and although we do not know what they are saying, we all pat the table with our hands to the beat of every song along with them.  Next it’s time for somebody on my team to share a passage from Scripture.  This morning it’s Tiff’s turn, as she encourages us all through our wonderful translator, Ratana, about the importance of praying together with believers from James 5:13-16. After Tiff’s finished, they sing another Khmer song from their hymnal and then we close in prayer just like how we opened.  When the last person says “Amen” we all clap and get ready for breakfast. 
Around 7:00, someone rings the bell, alerting us that breakfast is ready.  What will it be today?  Noodles?  Rice with a fried egg?  I walk up and find out it is fried rice.  I serve myself a plate, fill up my water bottle, then take a seat at one of the four tables we split up into intermixing with the girls.  After breakfast, I walk back upstairs to my room, which I share with my teammates Brittany, Ansley, and Emily B.  I have about an hour of chill time which I usually choose to read.  Before I know it it’s 8:00, in other words it’s either sewing or cosmetology time.  Half of my team goes to one class to learn with the girls and half of my team goes to the other.  This morning it’s my turn to go to sewing class.  The girls are already sewing away working on a shirt, pants, or a skirt by the time we walk over there.  They have all learned to be excellent sewers, as I observe their work and begin to practice myself on sewing in a straight line on a scrap piece of fabric.  The sewing machines are not the newest, so it takes me a while to get the hang of starting it by spinning it with my right hand and keeping it going by pushing the pedal with my feet.  It’s now about 10:00, and knowing that I have another hour before lunch I go back to my room for a quick nap.
I wake up to the ringing of the bell knowing that lunch is served.  Again with anticipation I wonder what it will be.  Today we have rice (just like every single other day for every single meal – so no surprise there) with chicken, carrots, green peppers, and cauliflower, bananas, and French fries!  At my lunch table, although we can’t have an actual conversation due to the language barrier, we manage to anyway via pointing at the foods on our plate and proceeding to teach them the word for it in English.  They repeat the word until they get it just right then they teach us the word for it in Khmer which we then practice saying.  Yes, this is mostly the extent of our beautiful meal conversations, and I love it.  Shortly after lunch is over, one of my teammates or I ring the bell, letting the girls know it’s time for the afternoon activity.  It’s Wednesday, which means today is arts and crafts day.  (For the other days of the week, Monday is recreation day, Tuesday is music day, Thursday is dance day, and Friday is a free day).  In art today, we are teaching them how to draw blind contours.  It turns out to be a huge success as we’re all laughing hysterically at each other’s drawings.  

Kun Tea attempting to draw Chan Ton.  Hilarious. 

After art our team has a daily meeting where we give feedback to one another while snacking on our coveted and precious American foods (peanut butter and Oreos have become the staple).  After this time of refreshment, one of us rings that bell again because it’s time for English class which we have every day at 3:30.  This is one of my favorite parts of the day.  Around this time every single day it rains, which automatically makes the air slightly cooler and more bearable.  Here in Cambodia, the rain is your friend.  Even when it pours, it is not uncommon that we all run out into it and play or start dancing; however, if your clothes are still drying on the clothes line from when you washed them earlier in the day,  you better run and grab them before the rain really starts to come down.  Rain or shine, we begin English class.  The girls are split up into three sections based on their level of English that they know.  Brittany and I teach the most advanced group of five girls.  This week we’ve been teaching them the present, past, and future tenses of some basic verbs.  They’re slowly but surely getting the hang of it, and I love teaching them.  They work really hard in making sure they get the pronunciations just right, and I admire their determination on the extra hard to pronounce words.

Teaching them some Future Tense!

English always flies by and before I know it the dinner bell is ringing sometime around 5:30.  I run downstairs and find out that it’s my favorite meal – rice with chicken, cucumbers, and watermelon!  I’m ecstatic as I take my seat at one of the tables.  

The Kitchen/Dining Area

Shortly after dinner, someone rings the bell around 6:00, meaning that it’s time for our daily evening devotions.  It goes the exact same way as morning devotions, only someone different from our team speaks.  Tonight Lauren speaks from 1 Peter 1:6-8 as she describes what it means to be truly free in Christ.  While God is speaking powerfully through Lauren, I find myself simultaneously praying for every single girl in the room, that they would hear what God is telling them tonight through Lauren, and that they would truly believe and embrace this unexplainable joy and freedom that is theirs in Christ if they haven’t already.  After all, this is why I excitedly traveled across the world to Cambodia, which is why devotions are the most meaningful time of the day as well as another one of my favorites.  Immediately after devotions is yet another one of my favorite parts of the day which I’ve briefly told you about before – goodnight time.  I hug each girl real tight as we both say a conglomeration of “I love you,” “Goodnight,” and “Sleep well” in English and Khmer.  Some nights I go into the girls’ rooms or they come into ours and we hang out for a little bit which I enjoy more than anything.  Finally after a while, we go back to our own rooms and get ready for bed.  Every night before I go to sleep I take a shower which helps cool me down.  And by shower I mean I take my shampoo and body wash and pour buckets of water on me from the concrete well we have in our bathroom.  Definitely different, but I’m totally used to it by now.  I’ve cooled down for the moment and just as I’m getting ready to get in bed I spot a cockroach the size of my thumb on the floor.  Instinctively, I grab my shoe and kill it like nothing ever happened because this is the norm as it happens daily on the reg.  I crawl under my mosquito net and try to fall asleep while I am still cooled down from my “shower.”  I’m extremely thankful for the fan that is above me that helps disperse the sticky, humid Cambodian air.  It’s somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00pm which is early, but I go to sleep knowing that soon the sun will be rising again for another beautiful day. 

“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24               

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