So, I had a blog request from a dear friend – the friend who inspired me to start blogging, actually - asking me to write about what day to day life is like for us here. What a great idea! In fact, I have NO idea what people want to read about, so if you have an idea or request, email me and I’ll do my best to write about it!
Here’s a little sample of what life is like right now, though it’s a bit busy now as we just moved in a couple days ago and are doing a lot of shopping for household essentials and groceries and things we need. I didn’t realize what it would be like to move to an empty kitchen! We’ve always had at least some spices and seasonings move with us before. Here we had to start over!
Anyway, here’s an idea for you.
We all wake up to the sound of construction and honking horns. Up high in our apartment the horns aren’t so loud, but they are building a new building right next to us so the construction is loud. Of course we tried to avoid construction but once we realized it was everywhere, we just settled for waking up early!
We have breakfast because the kids just cannot bear to wait another moment at this point. I’ve tried. For breakfast here we can make eggs, but they aren’t very good. There’s like no fat in them because they don’t use hormones or anything here, so they are healthy but admittedly, not very tasty. Often we have cereal. Cereal is $6-$7 a box, which is super expensive, but it lasts over a week so it’s worth it for an easy breakfast. We try to drink yogurt drinks or eat yogurt to help our stomachs deal with everything else we put in them. And of course we eat lots of fresh fruit.
Stephen leaves for work. He has to walk about half a mile to get to the office. Occasionally, like if he’s in a hurry, he hops on the back of someone’s moto for $0.50 or so. That’s called a moto-taxi. The kids and I start getting dressed at this point. Oh, and I wash a load of clothes and hang them out to dry.
830 or so
I spend a few minutes on SKYPE with family or try to use the skype phone to make a call to a friend or family member. I don’t do this every day but if I’m available, this is the time to catch me.
10ish am to lunch
Well, lately at this time we’ve just been shopping a lot. This is either at a local outdoor market, a grocery store, a mall, or at street vendors. We try to run errands at this time because though it’s hot and humid all day every day, it is just a teeny bit cooler in the morning. This is when I see and interact with lots of local people. Like I said before, I love them all! It’s a great part of the day. When we finish shopping we’d love to use this time much more productively.
International Justice Mission has a corporate prayer time where the whole office prays together. This happens every day and we are always welcome to join in.
Well, if we are out, we sometimes buy lunch. I can usually feed myself and the boys for about $5 total. That ends up being cheaper than most Western food I could make because so much of it costs a lot. Still, we eat at home whenever we can, mostly sandwiches. Our options for sandwiches consist of PB&J or Ham. I can’t read the labels and am afraid to try the other strange looking lunch meats since they are precooked. And cheese is VERY expensive, so we don’t use it much. Sometimes I make spaghetti and add fresh veggies like eggplant or olives or tomato or something to the dish. Sounds weird, but it’s fresh and cheap and good.
Kids take a nap, after we read a story. My favorite time of day! Haha! You think I’m joking? I use this time to iron and fold the laundry I put out after breakfast. I think I’ve said before that you have to iron every item because the humid air never gets it totally dry. The iron does the rest. It’s been quite a learning experience through trial and error as I figure out where the settings should be for which materials. I try to iron quick and then use the rest of the time to relax and get some other stuff done. Like catch up on facebook. Or this blog. Or a book about Cambodia. Or language lessons. Or send emails. It’s really my favorite time of day. And I love being inside because this is when it usually rains outside
3ish pm (sometimes much earlier)
I let our oldest son get up. At five, he’s too big for naps, but he just lays in his bed for this hour looking at books and entertaining himself. Often when I go in to let him up he stays in there because he likes the alone time. When he does get up, we have a little “school time” where we do worksheets or read together or whatever until his brother wakes up.
The little one wakes up and we all work together to clean up and decide what we are going to cook for dinner. The boys are good helpers for this. And we put laundry away and make the house all clean for Steve to come home.
Stephen gets off at 5 technically, but often ends up working another half hour or so. He comes home after that and we have dinner.
Dinner. This is always interesting as I try to work with local ingredients and make both Western and new dishes. I google recipes a lot because I didn’t bring any cookbooks with me. The bookstore has a few Cambodian ones so I may pick one up and try it out.
We all either go for a walk outside, play a game, watch a DVD, or just chase each other around annoying the people on the floor under us.
After baths and a Bible story, the kids go to bed. Stephen and I usually get really lazy at this point and chat or just find a TV show to watch until we fall asleep. They have a few channels in English here. Some show movies and many show TV programming from the states from a year or two ago. It’s fun to watch National Geographic too. We’ve already seen a few shows about SE Asia and Cambodia.
So, it doesn’t sound that glamorous (or that much like a third world life) does it? Its not all that different than life in North Carolina was. We hope soon to be involved in some more local programs where we can all participate during the mornings or at night. For now I’m learning about all the NGO’s here and there are just way too many places I want to help and serve! This place is amazing. We don’t want to spend so much of it indoors but we’re still getting used to things. And the kids still need a nap/quiet time, which cuts into a lot of our day.
Oh, and we pretty much only run the A/C at night, so it’s hot all the time. I’ve started using it at naptime for the kids, too. But we heard the bills are super expensive, so that may change after we get our first bill. We’ll find out soon, I guess!
And it’s nearing the end of “rest time” so I better go. Let me know what you guys want to hear about!
Here’s a pic from my kitchen window. It’s of the monsoon that’s quickly coming this way…