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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pictures From the Last Few Weeks

Lately, I've been working on getting my new place set up. I am still trying to move to another place, but in the meantime I'm making myself at home. As of now, I have a table, a mattress, a stove, and two chairs. When I went to buy the table, I had no idea about how I would transfer it back to my house which is over a mile from the market. After buying the table, I suggested that I'd hold onto it and bike one-handed. The guy at the market shook his head, laughed, took one look at my bike and said, "no problem, we'll put it on the back." He and his son got it all rigged up and then I asked if he knew a place I could get my tires pumped up because they were a bit low with the extra weight. Then he pulled out a pump and filled my tires. I was in awe. I don't remember ever getting service like this in the states. He really went out of his way to help me and the bike/table combo stayed together all the way home.

(Biking from the market with a table on the back of my bike.)

Earlier, when the town was flooded, we made pasta at my place after wading through the small lake outside in the street.

(From the right: Vanessa, Arnoldo, Sotierut, and Dave)

(A candid shot, emphasizing the lovely brown color of the water.)

Two Good Reasons for Children to Smoke

1) It's endorsed by your favorite cartoon character:

(Bugs bunny, how could you?)

2) It's a grown up version of the candies you ate as a child:

(Marlbovo smoke candy: "good flavor every day")

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Life's been pretty good. I was in the city for a meeting about the national English curriculum development last weekend. Things look like they're moving forward right now. Nothing's set in stone, but if all goes to plan the textbooks could have ministry approval and full funding in the near future. After the meeting a group of us got together to celebrate a couple of birthdays on a boat. Afterwards we went out to sing karaoke. It was a really fun night.

The next day, I caught a ride up with Peace Corps to Battambang to meet the new Battambang K5 volunteers. We hung out at Cafe Eden, had some delicious food, and went out for milkshakes. City life is a lot different. I think I'll be ok here... I'm excited about having people around next year too! Vanessa, one of the 5s, is my counterpart at the RTTC (Regional Teacher Training Center) and lives really close to my place. Arnoldo, another 5, is going to move into town and work at the school that works with the Cambodian circus which is based out of Battambang.

Vanessa, Carol, Sangkhim, and I went to meet the director of the RTTC on Monday. The meeting seemed to go very well. She was excited to have new volunteers and invited us back to meet the teachers the next day, as well as the graduation ceremony the following day (today). Later that day I went with Carol, our PTO or PTC (there's so many acronyms here, I can't even remember what these stand for...), and Sangkhim, the program manager for the northern provinces, to go and meet the higher-ups at the Provincial Office of Education (P.O.E.). Again, the meeting seemed like it went well. The director and his staff were cordial and even offered us a place to do teacher trainings at the P.O.E. center. (More on this and updates on my new job situation in a later blog).

On Tuesday, Vanessa and I went to meet our counterparts at the RTTC. Unfortunately, due to flooding, the teachers weren't able to be there. We did however meet a friendly British VSO (Volunteer Service Organization) volunteer? who will be working at the RTTC next year as well. The rest of Tuesday was spent biking around town, playing guitar (practicing for the show on Saturday!), and having a really nice dinner at my friend Kat (who I met on the boat)'s house with Vanessa (who cooks amazing Italian food!), Arnoldo, and Sotierut (one of my language teachers during training who happened to be in town). Dinner was tasty. I really enjoy being able to sit around and talk with people (who knew?) Another thing that made dinner that much better is the fact that Kat is a phenomenal artist! So we got to see some of her art as well.

Ok, so now it's Wednesday and here comes the reason for the title of the story. The city is flooded:

(Outside the Capital bus station in town.)

(View from inside the bus station with K5 Arnoldo)

(On my way to work today...)

I tried to bike to the RTTC today for the graduation ceremony and probably should have realized on this stretch of road adjacent to the center that it wasn't going to be happening. The water kept getting deeper and when I finally reached the gates it was well above my knees. One nice lady at the gate told me that the ceremony was cancelled, another told me that it was taking place at a watt, and another (maybe thinking I was stuck...) picked up the back end of my bike while I straddling it and nearly tipped me into the lake. I looked around for the supposed ceremony (and supposed watt), but couldn't figure out if it was happening so I went home, where I learned from Vanessa that our director was on the bus with her (therefore no ceremony). I spent the day catching up with TWG (Textbook Working Group *pronounced TWIG*) work. I think I've used my quota of () for the year, so I'll sign off.

Moment of zen:

(Picture from the back of the tuk-tuk a few weeks back when I was moving.)