Cross cultural living and studying a new language, is full of moments that make us (and the Khmer around us) giggle. I figured it was time to share a few of our fun moments…
- Ian accidentally asking the pharmacist for “arson spray” instead of “burn spray”. (We have been advised, between motos and cooking stir-frying food, that burn spray is a must for Khmer families.)
- Going to school and having my teacher tell me I was wearing a style skirt worn primarily by high school girls.
- Neighborhood kids very interested in trying cereal for the first time with Ian.
- Being told my husband must be very handsome because he has curly hair. The word used most often for curly hair also means lettuce.
- Not realizing just how awesome Ziploc bags are. Then working with a 2-year-old to make sure I won them in the white elephant gift exchange. In exchange, I had to help her get the Cheerios, also a hot commodity in Cambodia.
- Trying to explain “-ish” and “hand-me-downs” in the English language
- Being asked why Texans’ own guns. Also why Americans don’t all drive motos.
- Lots of questions about snow.
- Watching gibbons playing in the electrical wires. This is known to cause traffic jams as everyone stops to watch them.
- That chewy peanut incident.
- Sounding like we have the hiccups in class as we try to pronounce some of the Khmer vowels. Some are quite abrupt sounding!
- Being told (with a totally straight face) that to be good children, we need to go to America and see our fathers every Sunday. (sorry dad!)
- Trying to avoid the calculator. Negotiating prices in a loud market is tricky for newcomers — add in some slang, and the mental math to pay with a mix of dollars and riel, and it can be really hard. Most Khmer are patient and will repeat themselves once, but if they’re tired, they’ll just type the price into the calculator to show you.
- Realizing just how many words to describe “pretty” in English. There is only one in Khmer and it’s also the word for “clean”.
- Figuring out who is working at the restaurant, and which ones are family members or friends just hanging around. Mistakes were made!
Living here is never a dull moment and we love it! Thankfully the people here are kind enough to laugh and enjoy these instances with us. We are thankful to be in such a friendly culture!