Sunday, 3 August 2014

First Days

Stepping out of the plane and down the steps brings back memories of other hot countries. The heat hits you like a wave, the humidity washing over you, leaving tiny beads of perspiration all over you in its wake. The hustle and bustle of the airport thins out as we become the last people there. Arriving at midnight to a quiet city, we slowly make our way through the dark and mostly empty streets. We fill a large van with our multitude of suitcases and children. No seat belts, let alone car seats, we hold our babies on our laps.

The early morning brings the sun, and again, the heat. We venture our from our guest house to find food. The streets are bustling, narrow and bumpy, filled with scooters, motorcyles and tuk tuks. The few cars we see seem much too big for these roads. Driving here is a dance, a slow dance allowing each other to pass through the smallest of gaps.

(Breakfast at Koffee Corner)

We settle in at a cafe that is to become almost a daily ritual for the next little while. Tropical plants abound and the whirr of a fan is a constant and reassuring sound. We are in the search for our new home, and spend about two hours our first afternoon visiting several options. Lisa and Leila tag along with us in a sling and carrier as we get in and out of a tuk tuk following a real estate agent around our corner of the city.

Many of the houses here are narrow, long, and tall with lots of stairs. A big balcony on the roof is where the laundry is washed and hung. We have not seen many tall buildings, most houses are 3 or 4 stories, and apartment buildings up to 5 or 6. After much searching we have settled on a 3 story duplex at the end of a closed street, across from some other teachers of our school. Unfortunately we are not to move in until the week school starts. Until then we have a small two bedroom apartment close to the school.

(the view from our fourth floor apartment)

The children have loved traveling freely in the tuk tuks, and already it seems normal to me. Bangladesh travel was very similar and was the way I grew up. We try to keep the babies in a sling or carrier, and we are very thankful the tuk tuks are larger than the baby taxis found in Bangladesh and India. We can easily fit our family of six in one tuk tuk and there is even room between our sitting area and the driver for our double umbrella stroller!

We have found the people of Cambodia to be very friendly and helpful. It is difficult to communicate without knowing any Khmer, but many people know a bit of english.

Tomorrow we start more orientation at the school and have one week before school starts on August 11. Lucas has been asking almost every day if he will start school so we think it will be a welcome change in our crazy routine to be back to a predictable schedule. It looks like Lucas and Elena will "car pool" to school in a tuk tuk with some other children on our street.

(The kids playing on the grounds around our apartment)

As the sun goes down, the city breathes a collective sigh of relief as the temperature drops a few degrees. We sleep to the hum of the AC, thankful for a roof over our heads, new friends and colleagues, and an exciting few years ahead in this wonderful country!


  1. well written and so descriptive! can't wait to hear more about your new adventure, as it unfolds!

  2. I loved reading this! So fun to get a glimpse into your life. :-)

  3. A bit jealous that you're having this adventure with your kids. Always wanted to give my kids that experience. Hope you are settling into the new school and home quickly!


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