Apparently, I’m not allowed to get away with a token blog entry on ants. I confess, I’ve been so busy lately with work (more later) and keeping up with a heavy schedule of DVD watching commitments that I’ve barely had time to write. So much has happened since I last went into any detail, that I’m not too sure where to start.
Life in Sisophon is going really well at the moment, there may not be many touristy things to do, but I’m really enjoying just living here. I don’t know why, I never really felt unsettled before, but now it really does feel like home and there are things and people I will truly miss when I go back to England.
A big part of this improvement comes from my making more of an effort with the town around me. I’ve joined a local art club which I absolutely love and go two evenings a week. I recently painted a watercolour Apsara dancer, who was naked and had beautiful breasts (“mool sa’at”). This was the source of much amusement for at least two lessons, and I had a crowd of 15 year old boys round me the whole time I was painting. We decided she was too beautiful and expensive for any of them. This class is fast becoming my favourite part of the week and has really made me realize how important it is to have something that yours, and something that’s fun. For those two hours I don’t worry about work, my boyfriend or the army of ants that have taken up residence in my towel. It’s about me, a paintbrush and whether I’ve got the right colour for the orchid petal.
I’ve also started language lessons again with a new teacher, my friend Saory. Saory works at the District Office of Education, and teaches me twice a week. She’s great, has a sense of humor and is slowly getting to grips with the fact that in order to teach me successfully, she needs to imagine I am five years old. The first lesson, she was a little over optimistic with my language capabilities… now we work at a more appropriate level: I… like… rice… = K’hnom… cholchet… bye…
Over the past nine months I’ve also made some really great ‘barang’ (foreign) friends, and have a social life! I love the internationality of everything, there’s Australian, American and English. Sometimes there’s a little confusion over the English language (did you know the phrase ‘Can’t be arsed’ isn’t used in America?) but we manage to work round it.
Finally, my VSO team (me and Mary) get on fabulously. Together we’ve built up a bit of a routine, coffee at ‘Coffee Man’ in the market everyday at 11am. I never thought someone who’s a whole 40 year old older than me would become such a good friend, but there you go.
1) Me, Mary and Jan having a team coffee.
2) Me and Anne.
3) Lisa cooking at my house.
4) Some Banteay Meanchey 'Barangs' at Jan's leaving party (Kelsey, me, Anne, Jan, Deidre, Dan).
5) Kelsey cooking at my house.