Updates

Does your wardrobe fly?

The moving process has really taken quite a while.  After watching our teammates move and learning from them, thankfully we gave ourselves plenty of time.  Case in point – our wardrobe adventures.  Houses in Cambodia don’t have closets.  No idea why this is, they just don’t.  You don’t go out to a big box furniture store to get one either, rather you go somewhere with a photo and have a wardrobe made.  We tried to size the wardrobes smaller so they could be carried upstairs, but it turns out our staircase is a little extra tight.  Someone told us, no problem, just get movers to come and they fly it through the window. Huh.  Okay, maybe this is why the windows and balconies are so large?

We got the name of the moving company from some of our teammates and scheduled the “wardrobe flying event”.  Our teammates raved about this company but neglected one tiny detail.  I have to confess, both of us were expecting a small crane on a truck to show up and the movers to hoist the wardrobes onto the balcony.  I was not prepared for two shoeless, shirtless guys on a moto with one very long strap.  I was also not prepared for them to be frightened of tiny Geordi, so we made sure he stayed in another room, much to his annoyance.  Then, with everyone in the neighborhood watching, the two guys pulled the wardrobes up a couple floors into the house!  In the midst of all this, our landlord pulls up.  Now, my first thought was, well, this could be weird/awkward.  Nope, all normal!  Evidently not a strange sight at all.  He glanced up to see why I was laughing with my camera, talked to me for a couple minutes and that was that.  He was in the neighborhood for something else entirely.

Halfway through this process one of the guys walks over to Ian and hands him a phone.  Ian starts in Khmer, trying to figure out why he needs to talk to this person, but they speak English.  Evidently the mover just wanted Ian to translate.  That was a new one!  Ian arranges for the movers to help out this random dude the next day and hands the phone back.  All in all, the moving company really did do a fantastic job, as we were told they would, and Ian is now Facebook friends with one of the movers.  In Cambodia, that’s official!

Updates

Singapore! (And Chick-Fil-A!)

IMG20180609122032This last week my (Laura’s) dad was teaching in Singapore.  That happens to be less than a two hour flight from Phnom Penh so this past weekend Ian and I were able to head down and see him for a few days!  This was our first opportunity since we moved to Cambodia to see any family and I must confess the weeks leading up to our trip I was hit with a huge wave of homesickness.  The three of us spent every moment we could together and had a blast exploring Singapore.  The next time we see family will be in November and December when each set of parents comes to see our beautiful country.

This was also our first taste of a little “reverse culture shock”.  Singapore is more similar to the US in some things than Cambodia and we were amazed at what would catch us off guard.  It’s easy to mentally prepare for the big things, but it would be the little things that startled us.  We visited the sister church to our church in Cambodia and it’s like we forgot how to shake hands.  We are so accustomed to putting our hands together and bowing that the first time someone grabbed my hand at church to shake it I jumped out of my skin!  Somehow though, no matter where in the world we are, if family is there it automatically feels like home!

You know what else feels like home? Chick-Fil-A!  My dad brought Chick-Fil-A sauce for me and Chick-Fil-A salsa for Ian, courtesy of the wonderful Chick-Fil-A folks in Layton, Utah! Ian immediately took his salsa downstairs each morning to add to his breakfast.  And yet, when we touched down in Cambodia and got hit with the heat, dust, and smell of cooking meat, we knew we were home there too.  It’s funny the tastes, sounds and smells we associate with home.  What are some of those for you?

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Updates

Isaiah Cambodia

A few months ago an opportunity came up to help out with an NGO run by a friend from church.  My friend (Cheryl) teaches English to children living in one of the many slums in Phnom Penh. These children absolutely adore Cheryl.  As we drive up to the little shack all the kids coming running down the road, yelling excitedly.  They crowd the little door each day as we prep the classroom and when the door is open, they come flooding in!  Bible stories and prayer requests are one of their favorite parts at the beginning of class.  They love praying for each other.

Trying to keep 20-30 small children engaged in the lesson can be very challenging.  We often split up the room based on skills so we have smaller groups to work with and answer questions.  Trying to give directions for each activity in Khmer is really stretching my language skills, but the kids are patient.  What’s fun is often the words the kids are learning in English are the same words I am learning in Khmer. Great practice!

A couple weeks ago the older kids (around 12 years old) learned I always keep flashcards in my backpack.  They have decided I need to stay after class so that they can drill me on my flashcards.  Each word I stumble over causes a lot of giggling but the kids always tell me my mistakes and won’t let me go on to the next flashcard until I have it perfect.

I love spending time with these kids.  Their curiosity and the questions they ask are fascinating and the giggles contagious.  This is a highlight of my week.

If you want to learn more about Isaiah Cambodia, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.

Updates

Knowing the Tuk Tuk Drivers

There are many reasons why you should get to know your tuk tuk drivers here in Cambodia.  We definitely have our favorite drivers and whenever possible try to go with them.  Our new house has a tree on the street corner and lots of friendly drivers hang out there.  I’m looking forward to getting to know them!  Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Tuk tuk drivers often have a great sense of humor.  Trying to navigate in a new language can be frustrating but I’ve found the drivers laugh easily and are patient as I try to use new words.  That goes a long way to making things easier!
  • When running errands, it’s great to be with a driver I trust.  That means I can often leave my bags in the tuk tuk when running in to one market or another.  It’s rare to only need to go to one place to get everything you need here, even if it’s only a grocery run!
  • Tuk tuk drivers know where to find everything!  And at better prices.  As we are in the process of setting up a new house, being able to ask questions really cuts down on the amount of time finding something.  A lot of the best stores do not necessarily have a website.  It’s all word of mouth.
  • Same goes with the neighborhood.  When we were looking for a house, we went with a driver we trusted who knew the good prices, safe areas to live in and which areas flooded.
  • Several of our favorite drivers know where we live so it’s easy to call them and ask if they will pick us up or they know where to take us home at the end of the day.  One less set of directions to memorize!

It’s certainly possible to get around town other ways — in an automobile or on a moto. But we’re so glad for the relationships we have built by getting to know our drivers. They have made exploring our new home city possible, and so much more fun besides!

Meet the Team, Updates

Meet the Team — Nivo

Nivo is another new member of our team here in Cambodia.

He comes to fill a major role as our first architect, and highly recommended at that! Nivo has been a critical part of big projects for organizations across Cambodia in the past few years — hospitals and schools. From design to coordinating on the ground — Nivo knows how things get done in Cambodia.

But it’s his heart that has us most excited about adding him to the team. A lot like many of the others, Nivo wrestled with reconciling his faith and his future during his teenage years. He wanted to serve God — but knew that being a pastor wasn’t the right fit. Architecture was, but through school and into his early career, he held on to a promise that his life would have impacts around the world. Now, with EMI, he’ll be a part of exactly that.

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Please join me in welcoming Nivo and his family to the EMI Cambodia team!