Disclaimer: These are my views and do not reflect the views of the Peace Corps.

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Typical Day in Cambodia

A picture's worth a thousand words, and I've written plenty this year already. Here's a glimpse at what my life would look like as a movie / series of random images strung together.

I wake up before the sun (around 5:30).

I exercise in my room for about 45 minutes.

I eat a bowl of oatmeal and peanut butter (I cannot break the habit)

then make a cup of coffee. (I have to stand and hold the thing because the plug doesn't reach the table...)

If I have class, I go downstairs and say hi to my host family and bike a few kilometers down a dirt road to the school.

At school, even when I'm late, I'm usually the first person to arrive besides the director and I make small talk with him and the other teachers as they show up. e.g. "Have you eaten rice already? (common greeting question here) Are you happy or not? (I'm doing literal translations here...) etc. School is supposed to start at 7, but when all is said and done and my co-teacher arrives it's around 7:30 or 45 and we teach two classes of anywhere from 25 to 55 students in a wooden building for about an hour and a half.

If I don't have school, I spend some time reading in my hammock, studying khmer (I'm learning how to read and write), and playing guitar.

Then around 11 I have lunch with my host family and sit around talking (kneetyay leng) for a bit with my host-mom and host aunts. I normally siesta for a bit after this, because it gets miserably hot. After my nap, I try and do some lesson planning or more reading and then around 5 I go for a run.

I come home and bucket shower

and then have dinner with the family, which consists of two younger brothers a younger sister and extended family siblings.

A few times a week I teach my siblings English for and it's been going great! When people are motivated to learn and have fun learning, it's wonderful! Afterward, I retire to my room play a bit more guitar and go to bed around 9pm.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Sweetest Thing

A few nights a week, I teach English to my host brothers, host cousins, and host sister (sometimes, she seems to be more interested in her Korean Soaps). I like teaching them, and they are pretty excited to learn. We've got a whiteboard set up downstairs and a word wall. It's a pretty convenient setup. Last night they did the sweetest thing for me. When I came downstairs to teach them after I finished my Khmer studies, they were all waiting for me with Christmas presents. It was completely unexpected! I opened the gifts with them: a few bars of soap, two pairs of nail clippers, a santa hat, two horse ornaments, a santa ornament, and a little bottle of shampoo. Ignoring the implications of the soap, I was really overwhelmed. We watched tv together downstairs for awhile, they'd decided to take the day off, and then, wearing my santa hat, I played some guitar and went to bed.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

On My Way Back to Site,

I stopped at a beautiful watt and took some pictures.

A New Year's Resolution

When I get back to the states, I'm going to be a full-fledged veghead. Here's why:

While once invoking the image of a person with a “holier than thou” attitude and a false sense of superiority, over the years, the word vegetarian has taken on new meanings for me. Now, I see vegetarianism as socially, ethically, and environmentally responsible behavior. To begin, I would like to cite, in part, the source of my conclusion, the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. After reading this book, I found it impossible to continue to eat meat with a clear conscience. In the following text, I will not attempt to do what Foer did in writing his book (I would suggest that everyone read the book). Instead, I would like to share some relevant information that led me to my decision.

The social impacts of an omnivorous diet are alarming. Given that, “upwards of 99 percent of all animals eaten in [the United States] come from ‘factory farms’” unless as consumers we are vigilant about knowing exactly where our meat comes from, we can safely assume that it was raised on a factory farm (Foer 12). Although we enjoy the nostalgic notion that the animals we eat are raised on farms, for the most part, this is sadly no longer the reality of the situation. When we eat meat, we support the processes that create that meat. In other words, “every time you make a decision about food… ‘you are farming by proxy’” (172). By purchasing meat, we support the factory farm system, for which, the bottom line is maximizing profit: “In the world of factory farming, expectations are turned upside down. Veterinarians don’t work toward optimal health, but optimal profitability. Drugs are not for curing diseases, but substitutes for destroyed immune systems. Farmers do not aim to produce healthy animals” (188). In other words, in order to make more money, animals’ welfare, and arguably, human welfare is disregarded. We’ve been eating sick animals, full of antibiotics, whose disease resistant strains of viruses are increasingly jumping the species barrier (Avian flu, H1N1, etc).

The day to day operations of the factory farming system raise two important ethical considerations, the proliferation of animal suffering and human sadism. Animal suffering is typically written off by two standardized responses, 1) they’re going to die anyway, and 2) they’re not us. Foer discusses the implications of eating dogs, which is relevant here, but seems a little outrageous in the States. I’ll admit that from an outside perspective, Americans, including myself, are weird about dogs. Although my relationship toward dogs has changed due to my life in Cambodia, I am more wary about petting them and have to be on constant guard while running, it still pains me to see a dog being beaten. With respect to the first response, I am unable to dismiss cruelty towards animals as just, even if I am told that the dog is being raised for food (not unlikely in some cases). The second response is telling of our disassociation with certain animals and fondness of others. Dogs are allowed just treatment, because they’re our pets, but what about pigs? We allow ourselves to disassociate from certain animals in order to justify the way they are treated. This is not based on reasoning. Pigs are arguably smarter than dogs and feel pain in the same way that dogs do. Fish are even harder to muster sympathy for: “We can recognize parts of ourselves in fish ¬¬–spines, nociceptors (pain receptors), endorphins (that relieve pain), all of the familiar pain responses – but then deny that these animal similarities matter, and thus equally deny important parts of our humanity. What we forget about animals we begin to forget about ourselves.” (37) As much as I have come to love sushi, the same profit driven lack of sympathy and environmental degradation is present in the fishing industry as well.

Illogically, a person with sympathy for eaten animals is generally regarded as a sentimental extremist while a person lacking the same sympathetic impulses for a dog would be looked at as damn-near sociopathic. Here are two telling questions posed by Foer: “Is caring to know about the treatment of farmed animals a confrontation with facts about the animals and ourselves or an avoidance of them? Is arguing that a sentiment of compassion should be given greater value than a cheaper burger (or having a burger at all) an expression of emotion and impulse or an engagement with reality and our moral intuitions?” (74) And yes, these are weighted questions, but worth considering none the less.

Although it is easy to forget about how animals get onto our plates, the reality of the factory farm is dismal: “At another farm, a yearlong investigation found systematic abuse of tens of thousands of pigs. The investigation documented workers extinguishing cigarettes on the animals’ bodies, beating them with rakes and shovels, strangling them, and throwing them into manure pits to drown. Workers also stuck electric prods in pigs’ ears, mouths, vaginas, and anuses. The investigation concluded that managers condoned these abuses, but authorities have refused to prosecute. Lack of prosecution is the norm, not the exception. We are not in a period of “lax” enforcement—there simply never has been a time when companies could expect serious punitive action if they were caught abusing farmed animals” (182). These are disturbing facts, here are some more: “animals are bled, skinned, and dismembered while conscious. It happens all the time, and the industry and the government know it. Several plants cited for bleeding or skinning or dismembering live animals have defended their actions as common in the industry and asked, perhaps rightly, why they were being singled out” (230). By picking these quotes, I left out some of the most egregious animal abuses mentioned in the book in favor of the ones that are common. It’s hard to think about these things. It’s uncomfortable. It’s especially hard to connect the purchase of a steak in a fluorescent lit supermarket for a family barbeque with the reality of the factory farm system. A telling quote by Frank Reese, a poultry farmer, accurately represents our dilemma: “People care about animals. I believe that. They just don’t want to know or to pay. A fourth of all chickens have stress fractures. It’s wrong. They’re packed body to body, and can’t escape their waste, and never see the sun. Their nails grow around the bars of their cages. It’s wrong. They feel their slaughters. It’s wrong, and people know it’s wrong. They don’t have to be convinced. They just have to act differently. I’m not better than anyone, and I’m not trying to convince people to live by my standards of what’s right. I’m trying to convince them to live by their own…How much suffering will you tolerate for your food?” (114-115)

In addition to the massive amounts of suffering that the factory farm inflicts upon animals, humans suffer as well. Temple Grandin, who conducted an industry wide audit of cattle slaughterhouses, “has argued that ordinary people can become sadistic from the dehumanizing work of constant slaughter. This is a persistent problem, she reports, that management must guard against” (231) As a society, I feel it is wrong to support a system that breeds sadism. Additionally, from a global perspective, the factory farm system is an inefficient way to feed large numbers of people: “The world doesn’t, by the way, need to produce nearly as many animals as it’s currently producing. Factory farming wasn’t born or advanced out of a need to produce more food—to ‘feed the hungry’—but to produce it in a way that is profitable for agribusiness companies” (209). It produces cheap meat, but one of the externalized costs for this meat is a shortage of food, “the vast majority of what we grow in the United States is fed to animals…The UN special envoy on food called it a ‘crime against humanity’ to funnel 100 million tons of grain and corn to ethanol while almost a billion people are starving. So what kind of crime is animal agriculture, which uses 756 million tons of grain and corn per year, much more than to adequately feed the 1.4 billion humans who are living in dire poverty? And that 756 million tons doesn’t even include the fact that 98 percent of the 225-million-ton global soy crop is also fed to farmed animals” (211). Using this quote, I am not trying to say that all animal farming is complicit in this wastefulness as, “such data is inapplicable to grazing animals kept entirely on pasture, like grass-fed cattle, goats, sheep, and deer” (218). But, if the majority of animals raised for meat come from factory farms, as they do today, we must accept the fact that the system is inherently wasteful and somewhat gluttonous: “Americans eat 150 times as many chickens as we did only eighty years ago” (137). Associations between diet and problems like obesity and heart attacks lead me to believe that we are not becoming any healthier by increasing our consumption of meat.

Another problem caused by the factory farm system is widespread environmental degradation: “According to the UN, the livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, around 40 percent more than the entire transport sector—cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships—combined…The most current data even quantifies the role of diet: omnivores contribute seven times the volume of greenhouse gases that vegans do” (58). Beyond animal agriculture’s role in global warming, it “is one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global… [Animal Agriculture] should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution and loss of biodiversity. Livestock’s contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale”(59). It’s difficult for me to say that I care about the environment and continue to support “animal agriculture.”

In college when I stopped eating meat, I was confronted with the following question, “where will you get your protein?” This is usually followed by a story about a friend of a friend who was a vegetarian or a vegan and got sick. It’s easy to get worried about this because we all want to be healthy. Here are some facts about diet: 1) From the American Dietetic Association (ADA), “Well planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for all individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes” (144). 2)“Elsewhere the [ADA study] notes that vegetarians and vegans (including athletes) ‘meet and exceed requirements’ for protein. And to render the whole we-should-worry-about-getting-enough-protein-and-therefore-eat-meat idea even more useless, other data suggests that excess animal protein intake is linked with osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium stones in the urinary tract, and some cancers” (144). 3) In Diet for a New America, the origination of the “protein myth” is debunked. It originated from experiments done on rats, but in the case of humans, “if people are getting enough calories they are virtually certain of getting enough protein.”

The trickiest part of my decision to refrain from eating meat, comes from the cultural context in which food is placed. As Foer puts it, “nothing—not a conversation, not a handshake or even a hug—establishes friendship so forcefully as eating together” (163). Given the previous points the following statement seems hypocritical; I cannot justify stopping eating meat here with my host family. My host mom here has never cooked anything remotely vegetarian besides rice. Every dish has some form of meat. The difference with this meat is that it doesn’t come from a factory farm. This fact, combined with the implications of what a rejection of their food would do to our relationship at this point, allows me to justify my decision. I do not believe that this decision goes against my belief that the factory farm system is wrong and needs to end, and the most effective way I can see to put a stop to it is to stop supporting it economically. As hyperbolic / cliched as it sounds, our day to day decisions as consumers truly have the power to change the world.

Happy New Years Everyone!

Christmas Day

We rented a boat, cruised off to a deserted island in the gulf of Thailand, and had a great Christmas together far from home!

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas in Cambodia

We're a day ahead and it's Christmas morning. Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Two more pictures from "Another Cambodian Holiday"


Last weekend, I went for a run. I took part in the half-marathon at Ankor Wat. I ran under 7 minutes for each mile, which is what I was hoping for. This is a picture from the finish line:

Another Cambodian Holiday (as told to Taylor)

This morning I woke up and biked to my school directors house. Today is international human rights day, or something like that. I think they made it up. Cambodians love holidays. It works out sometimes. Anywho, I head to his house, he tells me, "be there at 7:30 or you can't come." To the watt that is. He's got a car and is going to drive. So I bike 10k to his house and get there at like 7:20. It turns out the watt was 4k away. I wait around at the house until 8 am, which would have been awkward, but I don't even know what that means anymore. We hop in the car, an old camry, with grampa three kids, pappy, mams, and myself. Two more kids follow along on a moto. I don't know anyone except pappy and just barely, he works at the school and so do I. He doesn't really speak English. Although, he did hand me a loaf of bread when I showed up and said "eat." That of course made me love him. It's the secret to my heart, bread that is, or just food really. Cambodian bread is pretty good. I think they stole the recipe from the French.

Then we drove the four k to the watt and there's a bunch of Cambodians standing around.

A picture inside the watt.

I am, of course, the only foreigner, and pappy decides to go have a smoke with his buddies and leaves me chillin’ with the family, who I’ve only just met. So I smile, and make small talk: "Have you eaten rice already?" "How many brothers and sisters do you have?" "What do you do in your free time?" I swear there's like the same 10 questions that you always ask and get asked by anyone. Maybe we have it in English too, but it seems so uniform here. Afterward we begin the march. Picture me all dressed up, holding an offering bowl that's cutting into my wrists, following a dancing puppet around a Buddhist temple: The vice principal’s daughter followed me as I marched taking pictures with my camera. I didn't even realize...she took like 25 pictures too.

I was here because ol’ pappy had invited me the day before and I think it may have been one of those offhand "hey do you want to come?" things, but I figured it would be a good way to integrate a bit more. And we’d just had a P.C. presentation on integration that stuck with me, so I said yes. I'm not exactly sure whether it was a religious ceremony or not. I didn’t really know what people were saying. I just kinda followed along and then there's this ceremony where everyone sits uncomfortably for 40 minutes while monks speak in a language that no one understands (it’s not Khmer). I asked ol’ junior about it and he said he had no clue. Then, and here's the best part, they chuck flowers at you and wand water at you. I got hit with monk water today.

Afterwards everyone watches the monks eat and then they leave. So then, I eat a giant meal sitting on the floor in a circle with people all around me. My legs are cramping like no other. The food's great though, but I'm eating with my hands, which aren't washed, and we're on the floor, and there's non-dewormed dogs prowling about inside. Almost everyone is barefoot and has walked where we are eating, but I felt that wasn't a good time to get all prissy, though I may regret it in a few hours. I proceeded to eat, fish and egg scramble, meat and peanuts with pepper, fish soup with potatoes and green stuff, very-likely-unwashed raw vegetables, something green, and then unshelled baby shrimp with fish paste. A feast to say the least. It was all Khmer traditional food, some of it was freakin amazing and some I quickly learned to avoid.

Then we hopped in the old camry and bumbled our way back to pappy's. I’m going to try and learn to cook the good stuff, so you can all try it. As soon as we got out of the car, pappy began to set up meal two. I didn't plan for a meal two. I was really full from eating at the watt, but it’s a big deal to eat food, especially as a guest. I was served another giant bowl of rice, bowl four in the last 30 min, and force fed. After the meal, we looked at family photos for a bit and then I raced home and booted up the computer, trying to catch up with Josh on Skype. The end.

Who are you? What’s going on?

Sometimes people just show up at my house. It’s like I moved into the Cooper/Burns house, but in Cambodia. Imagine living at “The Burrow” in America and not really speaking the language. How do you keep track of who is related to who? How do you know how long someone is going to be at the house? The simple answer, you don’t. The same holds true here. I believe that the root of the similarities between my home in America and my home here is that both families strongly believe in the concept of the “extended family.” Under this heading, friends, friends of friends, friends of friends siblings, and anyone remotely connected with one member of the family becomes a part of the family. As a somewhat shy kid, I was not a fan of this arrangement. I always asked why. Why are these people at our house? Why did you say they could stay here? Why can’t I just nerd out on my computer in peace? You get the picture. I gradually came to realize the benefits of the extended family. It wasn’t that our guests were just my mom’s friends, through the extension of the category “family”, the people who stayed with us became a part of my family too. To my family and extended family and all of those I once considered “randoms”: I love you all!

P.S. I’m still considering whether this concept applies to animals. Sometimes animals just show up in our backyard here. E.g. I was doing my dishes the other day when these guys came to say hello:

Host Family 1.5 or Windows ME

In the awkward transitional period between training and permanent site, I went to meet the family I thought I would be living with. The trip started off with a disappointing trip to the provincial town (basically the biggest city in our province) where the other guy in my province, Bryan, and I learned that our third leg, Jacob ET’d (early terminated). Tough loss. We were with a chill K3 (the year before us K4s) who had never been to town, but came to hang out and an LCF (language coordinating facilitator, Peace Corps is somewhat like the army when it comes to acronyms) who helped us know what was going on. The next day we met the families we were going to be staying with and went alone with them back to site. I drove back in a tuk tuk (a cart attached to a motorcycle) on a bumpy road with the mom and the son who stared at me for the entire hour long trip. We got to the house which turned out to be nothing like the form said it would be i.e. “running water” = water in buckets with algae, “electricity” = yes, but nowhere to plug anything in, “desk” = not a desk, “chair” = no chair, “indoor bathroom” = 3’x3’ shack outside, and so on. I was a tad disappointed, but I’m a Peace Corps volunteer, it’s all about flexibility, right? Sure. The external stuff I can deal with, although the lack of soap in the outhouse and not having a place to shower (more on that later) concerned me.

So, I’d mentioned the staring, which is relatively normal and doesn’t concern me all that much on a good day. Then there was “the proposition.” As soon as I got to the house, the mother showed me to my room upstairs. Her son, followed us into the room and stayed after asking me / telling me (I wasn’t sure at this point, my language wasn’t all that great) that he was going to sleep with me. It would have been cute if the kid wasn’t 14… I politely, but firmly, declined. “In America I sleep with me.” It was a bit of circumlocution, but he got the point. I had to ask him to leave so I could change to go shower. I walked downstairs and headed toward the bathroom, he followed me to the bathroom and stood directly outside while I did my business. Afterward, I walked out and asked for some soap, because we wipe with our hands here. The son walked into the house and brought out their laundry soap. I was appreciative of this gesture. He walked back inside, and standing there in a chroma (basically a colored cloth)*pic I started to pour buckets over my head. Much to my dismay, the son came back outside, sat a few feet from me, and watched me shower. I really wanted to say, “in America I shower alone” but I didn’t know the word for “alone”. I said something like, “I know how to shower. Please, don’t look at me.” He just sat there smiling and nodded his head, not moving. I stopped and stared into his eyes and said “please” rather firmly gesturing with my head toward the house. Luckily, he got the picture. In my sporadically analytic mind, I saw the exponential continuation of each action over the next few years. It was overwhelming. I didn’t believe that I would ever get a moment of peace.

The next day’s events seemed to confirm this. The son came to wake me up, followed me everywhere I went, asked again if he could sleep in my bed when I went to nap, biked after me when I went out to breakfast and stood outside the restaurant waiting for me to finish.

That was one family member. They had a daughter too. She didn’t say a word to me the entire time I was there and didn’t respond when I talked to her. I’ve come to learn that this behavior is somewhat understandable in the cultural context. It was a bit aberrational, but nothing to be concerned with.

Then there was the father, he didn’t speak much, and the mother who just loved to yell. She would yell commands at me as if I was deaf. I was really trying to look for a positive, and having little success. A few of the teachers came by to say hello, which was nice, but I felt like I was going crazy. I took off for an hour long run, just to escape for a bit, and the next day I biked 20 kilos to the market and back. Despite the exercise, I still felt really uncomfortable. I thought about how my family would treat a foreigner if we’d hosted them in the states. Then I reminded myself that this is a different culture. Then I thought about how my first host family treated me. Something was definitely off.

In the afternoon on the second day, I brought down my clothes to do laundry. I was totally out of clean clothes after the bike ride and stood in the backyard, shirtless in my chroma, trying to figure out how to do laundry at the new house. I asked the father if they had a bucket to put my clothes in. He said no. A bit later the mom came out with a bucket. I asked her if they had any laundry soap (like the stuff I used to wash my hands the day before) she said “go buy it” and pointed towards a store. I proceeded to walk half naked, across the street, in the middle of a rural Cambodian village, down the road to the place that sold soap. I bought a bag, walked back, and started soaking my clothes. Now the only thing missing was a stool. I had to ask again. This time the mother storms out with a stool, puts it down, grabs my arm, and points at my clothes. I had no idea what she was trying to gesture. Thank goodness I’d brought a brush. I don’t even want to know what would have happened if I’d asked for one.

I survived the two days (leaving really early on the third day and leaving the rest of the bag of laundry soap, as a sort of backhanded present,) and came back to the city to meet up with some other volunteers. As I talked with the other volunteers, I realized that my experience was not shared by most people. A lot of people felt welcomed, were happy, and had a good (if not slightly awkward) trip. I decided to talk with Peace Corps about my experience and they came through for me finding me a different family to live with. A family I am very happy with now.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Last of the Phone Pictures

I got a camera! Special thanks to Grandma Jones. I am going to have real pictures soon. I just have to take them. Here's the last of the pictures from my phone:

These are pictures from one of the wats about 8 kilos from my house.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stumbling Blindly Through Wooden Fences

I haven't been able to update much recently, and I apologize for that. Things have been happening, mostly good, and, as vague as that sounds I have stories backlogged that I'm planning to write and post later. I was in Battambang and then Phnom Penh. I came back to site yesterday and I'm leaving tomorrow to head up to Siem Reap for the half marathon, but here's to today.

I got up before my alarm this morning, slightly tired, spoiled from sleeping on a mattress for the last few days in A/C. I had the usual (oatmeal with peanut butter and coffee) and then I lifted weights for a bit until it was time to shower and go to school.

At school, I ran into my tutor and one of my co-teachers (not the one who was supposed to be teaching with me at that moment) and we talked in a semi-fluent manner in Khmer until my other co-teacher showed up, about fifty minutes late. I had missed class earlier in the week, thus had no room to complain. I have yet to lesson plan with my co-teachers due to their busy schedules and likely a bit of reluctance on their part, so I'm pretty used to teaching on the fly. That being said, I like to have at least a few activities prepped that are outside of the book and get the students engaged. I was off to a rough start with the first class after a failed attempt at "head, shoulders, knees, and toes" (an activity that had worked so well with my host-family / neighbor kids language group). I swear, at times, teaching can feel like stumbling blindly through wooden fences, but we came back and had some success with the second warm-up. Then, we did vocabulary together, which went smoothly and worked out of the book until our hour was up. The next class went significantly better (I decided to leave the head and shoulders bit out). Also, it's always easier the second time going through material, no matter how much you plan. We had an extra forty minutes for this class (it's hard to justify being late to the second of back to back classes) and I made sure it was used. With a little more than my usual gentle cajoling, I politely requested that my co-teacher help me set up a group activity. He hadn't really taught yet that morning, and probably assumed that I was just going to keep teaching away, but we stopped and set up an activity where the students came up with a news report about different topics. It worked! This was the first time anything without a rigidly fixed outcome had actually worked in class. The group element wasn't perfect, but there was some collaboration. I was beaming as I walked out of class.

After class, I met a Englishman. He was friends with one of the teachers at the school. We went out to coffee and spoke some English (speaking English is a luxury, like a nice bottle of wine). He lives a bit far away with his wife at an orphanage. I couldn't stay for long because I had to go eat lunch and still had two more English classes, but it was a pleasant chat.

My next class had eight students. Three of them were the best students in the class. It was the day after the test, and, like many college classes in America, a bunch of the students decided not to show up. The test had thrown off the lesson plan from the morning, but I was excited to work with a small number of students. About halfway into the period, everything was going splendidly, and one of my better students asked me to sing a song. I don't remember how it came up, but I thought for a second, and of course I began running through the Beatles songs that I could teach. I may as well give them something of quality. We had just learned "find out" as a vocabulary word, and bam! I thought of Lennon's "I Found Out" Being on the spot, I botched the lyrics. I wrote, "I told you before, don't knock on my door, I won't let you in, Don't even begin, I-- I found out, I-- I found out" well, it's not the original, but it rhymes. It didn't sound all that bad either... I really belted out the chorus (of course, the only part I really knew) I felt like I was singing along to "Eye of the Tiger". Does anyone really know the words to that one? Anyway, it went great! I had a blast, as did the kids. I repeated my performance in the next class and felt all productive and what not.

I went for a run with my English club group (basically the kids that live around my house). It wasn't my fastest run, but it was tight! We saw a snake, ran up to the top of the watt, and I had a comprehensible conversation on the way back with Michel (all in Khmer) There was a gorgeous sunset on top of the mountain as I ran down the fireroad followed by three Khmer kids.

I had dinner with the family a few hours ago, and I'm still full. Afterward, I taught another English lesson in the living room. I can't wait to go see Anchor Watt for more reasons than one!

It's bedtime (9:30 is late for me)

A pesar del espacio,