Thursday, January 20, 2011


I'm sitting down to a steaming bowl of rice and veggies and a tall glass of chilled green tea and I figure it is time to write about my new apartment. Two other teachers and I are living on the 5th floor of the Vision Center. It is just up the hill from Life International School where we teach. There are six floors, the sixth being a roof completely littered with debris; but it's a great place to catch the sunset and look out over town.

Our apartment has two rooms, two bathrooms and a nice large living/kitchen area. Honestly, it feels like home already. There are just a few things I've had to get used to.

We don't have hot water, so showers at night can be a little uncomfortable at first. The strange thing about the showers is that there really isn't a "shower" at all; it's just a sprayer on the wall in the bathroom. All of the bathrooms have drains, so you pretty much just shower and the water goes all over your bathroom floor. It seems that you would always have a clean bathroom floor cause you're constantly showering all over it but that's not really the case... The floors are uneven so the water pools on the floor instead of going down the drain. Then you walk over your floor with your feet that are covered in the day's dust and well, it equals a really dirty bathroom floor. Since I'm not too much of a neat freak it doesn't keep me up at night, but I do mop.

Sooo on to the lizards. The little guys are everywhere. I'm not the type of girl that screams at bugs, or even spiders, but for some reason these tan colored lizards freak me out. I never know where they are going to be; I had one in my fridge in the first room I stayed in and encountered many of the little guys when I was rearranging my classroom. Whenever I move something I brace myself. Today, I heard a really loud croaking sound in the corner of our kitchen. Megan informed me that there are giant lizards, who in fact, make that very same croaking sound. Guess there are always bigger fish to fry, or in this case, larger lizards to worry about...

                                                                                          One of the backyard crocodiles
I mention the showers and lizards because I find them comical, but really I love living here. I enjoy waking up in the morning to the sun softly lighting my room from the kitchen window. I like the cool floors and our recently purchased bamboo furniture. I love the fact that I can see the top of a temple that's on the hill above us and I even like coming home to fishy Korean food cooking down the hall. It's all so foreign, but somehow it feels familiar.

Monday, January 17, 2011

First Day

Today was my first day of teaching, and what a JOY it was. My students were dressed in their cream and green uniforms and I was greeted by "Good morning Teacher Sarah" accompanied by smiles and bows.

Manly of my students are Cambodian, but I also have Korean students, and a few from Europe as well.
It's a little strange to have children bowing at me and greeting me in such a formal way, but I suppose I'll get used to it.  I also have to become accustomed to speaking slower and using smaller words. Anyone that knows me well could probably attest to the fact that I talk, a lot. Turns out that when teaching a group of English language learners this isn't such a good thing. I was trying to get the students to line up so I was saying something along the lines of "Ok friends, it's time to get in line for gym. We need to be ready when Teacher Jerry comes. Hurry up, form a line." I couldn't understand why my students were acting crazy and disobeying my request. Another teacher, and my roomate Camille, told me that the students refer to physical education as "sports" and that they wouldn't even know what gym meant, and also that they probably didn't even understand what I was saying because I spoke too quickly. She suggested that a simple "LINE UP!" would do, and she was right.                   
I'm adding speech to the list of things I need to simplify.

Life International School

As far as other classroom things go, my behavior management system is already in place and my classroom is a work in progress. The first thing I did was remove these bulky desks called "offices." The students only used them for tests and to put their stuff away, so I thought the extra space was needed more. The following pictures are the before pictures. I will be posting the after shots when I feel the classroom environment is satisfactory :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Finally Home

So I'm finally here in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. I started traveling on Sunday and finally made it here yesterday, which was Thursday. It was a long, tiring trip but I have to say I enjoyed the adventure. I was able to spend the night in Hong Kong and I met some really incredible people.

I wasn't really sure how I would like traveling alone but I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I was most nervous about navigating my way around Hong Kong, but that night ended up being my favorite. Upon arriving in Hong Kong, I struck up conversation with a man in the mining business who gave me his card and told me to look into possibly teaching at a mining school overseas.... Hmmm... another adventure perhaps? Anway, Tom was headed to the same hotel I was and so was Valencia, a friend I had met during my two night stay in Detroit. I know that God was really watching out for me during my trip but it was really neat to see it first hand. In Detroit, Valencia had left a bag of chips and a book for me on my seat. She was just headed back to Indonesia after returning from evangelism training and told me that before she left, God had told her to give the book to a young woman traveling alone.

So Tom, Valencia and I shared conversation over fish ball soup. I have to say I enjoyed the conversation more than the food. It's so interesting to have the opportunity to talk with people that have been all over the world. Their lives are so rich because of their experiences.

So, that's just one of the reasons I'm here. I want to enrich my life by experiencing a completely different way of life. I can tell already that this experience will be entirely unique from any other I've had. There will definitely be more to come...