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The New Normal

**Double Disclaimer: Wifi is a struggle. So this blog wouldn’t post once again. So here it is—two weeks late!**

* Disclaimer: This blog was to be posted last week at my one-month mark of leaving home, but last week, the power went out at where we get our wifi so I never was able to post. (The adventures never cease in Cambodia.) But today is our one-month mark of being here at YDC Kampot and doing ministry!*

 

Cambodia is like something I have never experienced before.

Today marks one month since I left home to embark on this three-month adventure. I came here not knowing what to expect, and have been completely blown away. I love it here. It has taken a lot of getting used to but what seemed to be completely strange here is now normal for me.

 

Let me share with you a few normalcies here that you may find strange back home:

  1. Squatty potties. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with this term: it’s basically a little platform that you step up onto with a hole & tread marks on both sides. I’ll let your imagination figure out the rest.)
  2. Bucket Showers (A bucket. A small bucket with a handle. Our shower system.)
  3. Throwing away your toilet paper.
  4. Bugs flying into (literally, and staying in) your food but you eat it anyway.
  5. Ants. Everywhere.
  6. Rats that live in your room and break into your food stashes at night.
  7. Getting invited to (virtually) a strangers wedding.
  8. Random people taking pictures of you at said wedding because you’re white.
  9. Walking down the street five minutes to get a fresh coconut.
  10. Weddings are all day affairs. (Literally, they feed you all three meals.)
  11. Getting invited to a funeral for someone you met one time.
  12. Going to said funeral only for long enough to eat and then you go home.
  13. Three year olds setting off fireworks. Constantly.
  14. Iced coffee is thirty cents and also comes in a plastic bag from our neighbor across the street.
  15. Appropriate swimwear for us here looks like T-shirts and pants.
  16. Rice is in two (sometimes three) meals each day.
  17. Breakfast consisting of both fried bananas and regular bananas is a normal.
  18. A typical Cambodian outfit to wear out is a matching pajama set that says “Happy Birthday” all over it.
  19.  The socks here. Not normal socks. Not toe socks. They are one toe socks. (Basically socks you can wear with flip flops.)
  20. Roosters wake you up each and every morning.
  21. It’s a better idea to shower in the pond than in the bathroom because it’s basically just as clean and way more efficient.
  22. A crab lives in the drain in our bathroom.
  23. They have the most powerful speaker systems they have here to announce everything. (Like said wedding & funeral.)
  24. Shoes are not worn inside. Ever.  Barefoot is the way to be.
  25. Two grown men spoon every night in the open & it’s totally not weird.
  26. Having to keep a rolling suitcase in front of the door to our room because the door will fly open.
  27. If said door flies open, DD (Diseased dog) will run in and sleep under Kate’s bed. Lucky me.
  28. Trash gets thrown everywhere.
  29. Sometimes when said trash gets together in a pile, you burn it.
  30. Kids force feed you nasty Duran cookies during your breaks  from teaching.
  31. Small children walk around without pants.
  32. Tuk tuks run out of gas in the middle of nowhere late at night & it’s not a huge deal.
  33. Pushing said tuk tuk a quarter mile when it runs out of gas.
  34. Anytime you go to the market you are going to see people you know. Guaranteed.
  35. “You so freak,”  is something said far too often.
  36. You can’t drink the water here. (That’s a given.)
  37. Relaxing/hanging out looks like chilling in the hammock hut for three hours.
  38. Speed limits do not exist here.
  39. Neither do limits for how many people can fit in a vehicle. (Our record is 26 people in a 15 passenger van.)
  40. Jumping on the back of a strangers’ moto/tuk tuk is a regular thing. (Or in our case, we are the ones picking up the strangers.)
  41. Small children somehow find tampon applicators and they get shoved in your face…
  42. You forget how much you take language for granted until you can’t communicate well with some people because of it.
  43. Laughter has no language.
  44. (This probably isn’t a Cambodia thing,) But the guys here are EXTREMELY ticklish.
  45. This literally just happened: One of my boys came up to me as I was typing this and gave me a 100 reil folded up into a heart. Our brothers are extremely kind to us and have the sweetest hearts.
  46. The song “Bye Bye Bye” translates into “Rice Rice Rice” in Khmer and I find it WAY too funny, (Also duck duck goose is, “Water water crazy.”)
  47. You can rent fancy dresses for $3 to wear to strangers weddings.
  48. We have about three cups that are community cups for anyone to drink out of. And everyone does.
  49. Cambodians know how to throw the sweetest birthday parties. (Let me elaborate: our leader, Abby, had a birthday this past Tuesday. One of our brothers who is on staff here prepared everything and somehow got a cake with her name written on it and set up the chapel all fancy just to surprise her. Again, our brothers are so kind.)
  50. The Lord moves in such an incredible way here. The divine appointments and ways he’s shown his presence continues to blow me away. God is so good. I am in love with this place and the people here.

 

So hopefully now you have a small idea of what life here in Cambodia has looked like for the past month. The surprises never end. Plans always change. But my love for this country is only growing stronger. All of this is the new normal for me & I couldn’t be happier. I have 11 new brothers that I get to live with & minister to. (Although, I think they minister to me more than I do to them.) It’s been one month of paradise. Yes, I’ve had plenty of struggles along the way; but life here as a whole has been incredible. The days are slow, but the weeks fly by.

I never want to leave.

 

 One month down.

Two to go.

 

Pray-ong la-awh; Rawl we-leah

Rawl we –leah; pray-ong la-awh.

 

~Kate

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