Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tales from Cambodia

Just realised I NEVER posted this. I even wrote it a timely fashion! Three years later, here is the very detailed yet brief description of my only Tet in Vietnam.


Took an 11 and 1/2 hour bus trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Pnomh Penh, spent 2 hours at a closed Cambodia/Vietnam border watching the stars and chatting/learning French with French tourists, ate lunch at several questionable roadside stands, met a guy at the bus stop in Pnomh Penh holding up a sign with my name, took an enlightening yet sobering tour of Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, saw the Emerald Buddha at the Silver Pagoda, tried to become the next Queen of Cambodia by sashaying in front of the Royal Palace, violated the first rule of tourism at the Russian market, took a 6 hour bus ride to Siam Reap, ate at a Khmer buffet and saw an Apsara dance show for dinner, partied with our Cambodian tuk tuk drivers for Lunar New Year in a small village with no electricity so I'm not sure how their insane sound system worked, saw 5 ah.mah.zing temples in one day at the walled city of Angkor Thom, prayed in Bayon Temple, posed in front of the Lara Croft door at Ta Prohm, ate frog for the first time, hit up the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider bars, saw the sun rise at Angkor Wat, took a boat to the floating village of Chong Kneas, spent the afternoon jumping in Tonle Sap Lake, ate various Khmer style grilled foods for dinner, spent all my money at Phsar Chas market (because I'm addicted to shopping), went horseback riding at sunset through several Cambodian villages and temples on the most onery horse ever, took my first ever sleeper bus on a 15 hour bus trip back to Ho Chi Minh.

Angkor Wat

Me and Angkor Wat

Me and the floating village of Chong Kneas

Me and the sleeper bus

Gemma, Matt, Me, Theresa, Lexi, Deepak, Kat, Dean in front of Choeung Ek Genocidal Center

Listening to one of the recordings during the audio tour of Choeung Ek

Picture of a Cambodian Apsara dancer. I think she looks like Hema Malini.

Bayon Temple

Me, Lexi and Apsara dancers on the summit of Bayon Temple

Ta Prohm or the Tree Temple where they filmed Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Ta Prohm

Lara Croft doorway

Eating frog

Angkor Wat at sunrise

Angkor Wat at sunrise

Friday, January 20, 2012


I'm off to Cambodia for Tet. Woop woop! So excited! We spend 4 days and 3 nights. We get a tour of Pnomh Penh (capital of Cambodia), spend one night there, we're off to Siam Reap the next day, we're supposed to spend two days there, see the temples of Angkor Thom, visit a crocodile farm (which I'm not super psyched about) and then head back. I'm just excited to get away!

Friday, January 13, 2012

I've got jumpstarts!

Everything is blocked. Or maybe it's not and it's just really slow these days. In any case FB was definitely blocked for a while, several key Gmail features (such as call phone) were severely limited for a while and I'm not sure when Blogger was unblocked, but hey...who's complaining.

So much has been happening and it seems mundane sometimes but I want to remember it all. I'm trying to post as much as possible but when internet problems plague the country, there isn't much I can do.

First of all, I finally have a full class schedule. I have 4 two-hour classes on the weekend. My first two classes of the weekend completely drains all my energy. I start at 7:30 am, teach for 2 hours, have an hour break to plan or nap, whichever is more necessary, teach for another two hours, have 1 1/2 hour break until the next class during which I take a nice long nap in the TSC (teacher support center), I then have a really chill class during which I could fall asleep and they wouldn't wake me up to teach them because they're so shy, then I have a 1/2 hour break and then JUMPIES. Jumpies is short for Jumpstarts, which is the 4-6 year old group at ILA. My class is K1A which means they are the first level EVER. They literally know nothing. Not even the word "No." I only have 8 kids in my class so they only gave me one TA, which is unusual, because they thought I wouldn't need the second one with such a small class. I can't begin to explain how wrong that is. These kids know nothing. When my Vietnamese TA is out of the classroom (because the kids need to use the toilet or they're crying and she needs to pay attention to them, what the heck am I supposed to do with 7 active 5 year olds who don't speak the same language I do? Well most of the time I take the soft ball and throw it at their little bums when they're beating up on their friends. Or I run away when one of them decides he's a dinosaur/tarzan type creature and he wants to hit me. I can't begin to explain how adorable they are though. My TA decided that we should give them English names, which I initially thought was a good idea, but when I have to spend an hour teaching them their new names, I have to rethink the brilliance of the idea. In the end it was worthwhile because getting to name them was like having 8 new babies without any of the labor pains. Well five really, because three of the kids either named themselves or had their parents insist on names for them. Tom named himself and the mom's of the only two girls in class gave them names like Lunar and Yumi. Seriously? Lunar. I had Alice and Kate all ready to go. How cute are those names?! Anyways, I'll get over it. So I have Tom, Lunar, Yumi (who I'm about to kidnap because she is all kinds of chubby and cute), Dave, Ben, Jerry, Matt and John. Yep there's a Tom and Jerry and Ben and Jerry. I taught them "My name is", "What is your name", the letter A and "A is for Apple". I'll have to reteach it next weekend because I'm sure they'll forget it all by then.

There's more to come but I'll make several different posts so I don't confuse everyone, i.e. myself.