Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Joy and Laughter

Adjusting to a new culture always brings with it some humorous moments. I’d love to reminisce about all of the ones that have happened over the past 6 months we’ve been here, (can you believe it’s been six months?) but for now here are just a few little personal anecdotes from the past couple weeks:

I’d start with my favorite if I had any clue which one that would be...

This one’ll be yours:

A few weeks ago we went to the park. There are really only 2 parks here, and they are both really huge and its easy to lose the kids at them, but I did take a break from watching for a minute while Stephen took over. I decided to sit under a tree.

It was a tree like this one, but not this tree. Not this day. This photo was taken by my 5 year old, though. Pretty cute, huh?

Anyway, I was just sitting, relaxing, when our little one runs up and looks over my shoulder and in his cute little 3-year old voice, excitedly shouts, “Oooh, a hamster!” He then manages to chase it around the tree.
Now, there aren’t really any free roaming hamsters in Phnom Penh that I know of so I jump up to see what he’s talking about and find a cat-sized white rat rummaging through trash beside the tree. I quickly informed him that it was NOT a hamster and it was NOT cute. Sigh. The best part was when Stephen ran up trying figure out what’s going on and didn’t believe me or see that *little hamster* we were talking about. When it finally came out he jumped about a foot off the ground.

Oh, did I say these stories are funny? I guess it is now, but it wasn’t then. I was pretty disgusted at that moment. Ew. That park will never be the same.

Another funny thing about living in a foreign cultures is the conversations.

I lost all my makeup when we went to the beach a couple weeks ago. As I write this I’m realizing I never posted pictures from that trip, so here’s a couple sunset shots from that trip. Gorgeous, huh? No photoshop, I promise! It was stunningly beautiful.

Anyway, I lost my makeup that trip because I wasn’t wearing it – who cares about how I look with that as a backdrop? I went to buy more at a mall here because you can’t just pop in a grocery store or market here like and buy the cheap stuff like I usually wear. Here’s how it went:

Sales lady: Hi, what would you like to buy today?
Me: I need some new make up, so I want to start with your eyeliner
Sales lady: (pulls some out, gives me a presentation as if I’ve never worn it as I politely listen)
Me: Ok, great, how much is it?
Sales lady: It is the kind Cambodian women love to wear. It is very nice.
Me: I’m sure it is very nice. How much is it? (EVERYthing is negotiable here)
Sales lady: Well, it is $26 but I discount $1 for you.
Me: What? Twenty six? Dollars? In America this stuff is like $4!
Sales lady: No, they do not have this in America. It is French, from France. It is called Revlon.
Me: Yes, I know what Revlon is. They have this in America and it is like $4. (I did not tell her this is the cheap stuff in America)
Sales lady: This is not the same. It is very expensive. The French women wear it and French women are very beautiful.
Me: (thinking, but not saying) Aren’t Americans beautiful, too?
This goes on a bit and finally I end up getting her down to about half of the original price each for some eyeliner, mascara, and eye shadow. All the other makeup had to wait since I had extras of it that didn’t get lost. I just think it’s funny. Every time I see Revlon I’ll think of that lady.

The boys got their haircut a couple days ago and I had a conversation with a lady there that is basically the same conversation I have with someone at least once a week here in Cambodia. I have to share.

And I’m not poking fun at her English, because as someone who is struggling – really really struggling – to learn a new language, I give her big points for learning English. It’s just that she’s new at it and the conversation is that much more amusing if I record it as stated (or as I remember it anyway!)

Her: Your boys beautiful.
Me: Thank you so much.
Her: You have only 2 boys?
Me: Yes, these two boys. He is 5, and he is 3.
Her: Why you not have any girls?
Me: Um, I don’t know, I just only have boys.
Her: Why you not like girls?
Me: I do. I love girls. I just don’t have any.
Her: I think you should have girl. Why you this boy and then another boy?
Me: I don’t know. It just happened that way.
Her: Maybe you have girl, ok?
Me: Um, ok.
Seriously, this conversation happens to me like every week. Do they not understand how babies work or are they telling me to have another baby? I don’t know. But they say it with such force and conviction that it always makes me laugh.

And speaking of babies, how many of you can get away with calling your 3 year old a baby?  Everywhere we go, they say “Hi, baby!” to our little man and he does NOT like it.  He yells back loudly “I am not a baby!  I am 3 years old!”  I shouldn’t laugh because it’s rude for him to talk to people that way, but as soon as I see them coming toward us, I anticipate the “Hi, Baby” that’s inevitably coming and I have to turn away so he doesn’t see me laugh.  

Thank you, God for creating in us a Spirit of JOY.  For creating us able to laugh.

...for making this adventure So. Much. Fun!

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