Friday, October 29, 2010
So now for the untold story...I threw up on the flight over here! Not once, but twice. When we got our first (of many) airline meal, I thought "you know what I am going to have a celebratory glass of wine for the excitement of moving to Phnom Penh." I don't know if it was the wine at 20,000 feet, the emotions I was going through that morning, or the anxiety of what was ahead, but the combo of the three made for an interesting flight. Just for future reference, I would not recommend to anyone who is moving to Asia to have a glass of wine on the plane, it obviously did not turn out well. I tell this story because as we talk about our life here, we talk about it in ways that are full of joy and peace in knowing that God is using us here, and still has big things in store for us over the next 20 months. I tell it because all that anxiety and stress is now gone, and we feel very confident in where God has us. So I guess this would be the more appropriate time to have the celebratory glass of wine...
There is a student back in Boulder, CO that I have come to know pretty well over the past 4-5 years since I met her when she was a freshman. She always asks me if I have gotten sick out here, and I always respond with, "Not yet." So, yes Melissa I have thrown up, two times, and it was on day one!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
The only difficulty we faced was the mass flooding that is hitting not only Phnom Penh but also this region. It is heartbreaking to see these people's homes, businesses, and school be washed away in the days of unending rain. Though we like the coolness of the rain, I think we will be happy to see it go come November.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Pchum Ben holiday, Leanne and I decided to take a trip to the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam. The trip was not without adventure, wrong turns, interesting interactions and wonderful experiences.
At 3:11 on Wednesday, Leanne and five Cambodians picked me up from school. Four men sat in the front seat of a late-model Toyota Camry and we sat with a lovely Vietnamese man in the back. Nearly an hour into our trip, we noticed a sign for a city that was not in the direction we were supposed to be heading. After a furious phone call to our "travel agent" (the fifth one of the day) and some discussions with our driver, we realized that we were headed to Ho Chi Minh City and not the one that we intended. This mistake turned out to be a blessing in disguise as our travel was much easier with HCMC as our city to launch from.
From Ho Chi Minh, we took public buses to My Tho and then to Vinh Lang. These towns are located along the mighty Mekong and both had beautiful river front areas. We ate dinner with an hilariously idiosyncratic Swiss guy by the name of Jean Pierre who ordered our food for us by clucking and mooing to indicate our desired dishes. We then left for the city of Can Tho on the back of motos with two great drivers who helped us immensely on our trip. This town was one of the most remarkable towns that I have seen while traveling. The streets were clean, the town organized and the people were outwardly friendly and ready to help whenever needed. We ate remarkable wantons and spring rolls at a restaurant called, suprisingly enough, the Mekong, whose specialties included fried frog, stingray and snake wine. We took a trip from Can Tho to a floating market in Cai Rang and through some small tributaries that went along the banks of Vietnamese hamlets. This was one of those surreal experiences in which Leanne and I had to keep reminding one another where we are and what were were doing.
Our last stop was Chau Doc along the Cambodian - Vietnamese border which was more like Cambodia than Vietnam. Loud, busy and chaotic, it was a good transition city to ready us for the realities of Cambodia again. Needless to say, we ate a quick curry dinner and retired to our room where we enjoyed our free air con and a few hours of week-old NFL football games, The Hills and Jersey Shore. We planned on vacation and cable TV was part of the package!
After banana pancakes this morning, we came back to Phnom Penh on a speed boat from Vietnam. I listened to CCR, Buffalo Springfield and The Doors, which allowed me an adequate soundtrack to visualize what took place on that very land and river not too long ago. It was a wonderful trip, full of memorable experiences and images, some of which I have left here for you.
Lastly, if you are interested in viewing more of my photography I will again be starting my blog at deremerphotography.blogspot.com if you are at all interested in seeing more images from our trip to Vietnam and from our lives in Cambodia.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Our time in Cambodia has been defined by ups and downs. There are days and nights that both Leanne and myself find extremely difficult, whether it is our jobs, the transition to a new country, or simply the same issues that would frustrate us at home. This weekend was no different. We went on a wonderful hike, fixed broken water coolers, felt oppressively tired, hosted 25 high school juniors at our house, we watched our beloved Buffaloes go to 3 - 1, had an incredible meal with new friends, and ate delicious frozen yogurt at a new place called Tutti Frutti. It was a weekend of ups and downs, exhaustion and rest, frustration and bliss.
I think our time here will be marked by these undulating emotions. Times when we miss home, the mountains, snow, and the friends and family that we love. But there are times here, when a disco-ball lightning storm is raging over Phnom Penh, or when we find ourselves witnessing scenes of rural Cambodia that take us back hundreds of years in history when we realize that what we are doing is unique, special, and rich with experience. We are at a crossroads of sorts, when we are realizing that Phnom Penh and Cambodia are now are home, and not just a place that we are visiting but where we run errands, buy groceries, work, and play. It is a great realization to have, but in some regards it is overwhelming to know that we are here, while it is exciting to think about what we will have learned, done, and seen after 24 or more months in Cambodia.
These pictures are a just a small indication of our weekend. We have photos of our hike to a waterfall in the provinces that we took on Saturday, some of my students who came over, and an advertisement for our new favorite Sunday Sundays (we eat ice cream Sundays every Sunday afternoon) called Tutti Frutti.