This week has been quite a tiring, yet super amazing one. Yesterday was my last day of teaching English Motivation class in SOLS part-time centre, so instead of spending 3 hours studying, we agreed to make a farewell party!
Promptly at 2 o’clock we gathered in our beloved classroom and discussed about what we were going to eat and drink. I also invited my super cool friend Abdoulaye from Senegal, who is also a volunteer, to join the party. It would be great to have him join us as the students could practise their English (and French?) with him. He said YES! The party went incredibly well and we had tons of fun. FYI, two of my students are of Vietnamese descent so we had some Vietnamese veggie rolls with prawns and rice noodle inside called ‘koong’ / ‘kueng’ or whatever its name is, which was also tempting, and obviously lots of equally mouthwatering Cambodian treats. What a lovely day!
A couple of days ago when Abdoulaye and I were on our way to Phsar Prekeng, we were stopped by two Americans, who I reckoned were recruiting locals to join their free English classes. Turned out they are actually Mormon missionaries (otherwise known as Latter-Day Saints) and they invited us to come to their church, which is only a few minutes away from our school. Right after the party, we headed to the church. We’ve been there twice before so, this would be our third time. They gave me the German version of The Book of Mormon and the English one to Abdoulaye. I don’t really know their names. God only knows. But they are super nice! So glad we met these amazing people who are surprisingly fluent in Khmer!
The next day, I went to Phnom Penh with Dominic (England) and Si (Macau). Si just arrived in Cambodia 3 days ago and she will be based in the province. Our first stop is the Aeon Mall. Well, we went there only to restock my Japanese furikake supply because the school serves fish for lunch and dinner almost everyday and as I’m allergic to fish, furikake is the best option that I could come up with to still get ‘proper’ lunch and dinner at school. We continued our trip to Royal Palace by the riverside. Dominic and I have been there 2 million times but Si hasn’t. Then we had lunch at my favourite, if not the best, Indonesian restaurant ‘Warung Bali’ which is located exactly behind the Royal Palace. It was the first time for Dominic and Si to try Indonesian food.
After fulfilling the need of our starving stomachs, we walked all the way to Central Market. It was HOT! We stopped at the nearby pagoda because Si wanted to take some pictures. As we were walking through the market, I saw an ICE watch. Yes, it was definitely a counterfeit but looked pretty good though. I asked the woman how much it was… in Khmer. At first she asked for 12 dollars but after negotiating I got it only for half the price (6 bucks!). Oh, I love being able to speak Khmer even I’m not really that good compared to those missionaries.
Si wanted to go to the Genocide Museum. As for me and Dominic, we just went to get some drink in nearby café, whose name I couldn’t remember. The café was well-furnished and, most importantly, air-con’d. Darn, I forgot what air-con feels like! Funny story. We found a tuktuk to go back for 5 dollars (again, pretty much thanks to my haggling skills that I learned from the locals). 20 minutes went by but we had yet reached the independence monument. Something was wrong. I asked the driver again to make sure whether we were on the right direction. He said he knew but he most definitely didn’t. So, he stopped for awhile and rang his friend for directions. He kept calling his friend again and again until finally we decided to do it our way and it worked!
One thing I learned from this week: A foreigner (who’s only been around Phnom Penh for several months) knows Phnom Penh more than some tuktuk drivers do. I should probably consider this country as my second (or third?) home. Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. I miss all of you so much!