January 25, 2010

New house, new helmet, and a water park

It was a big day! My first official day in the CWF volunteer house began at 5 AM after a muggy night of little sleep. The tuk tuk leaves at 6:10 for school, and I know that I need an hour before I can even think about getting in front of students.

I was called on to fill in for another volunteer whom I had befriended in the short time we knew each other. Her mother suddenly became ill, and of course she wanted to be near. Her mother passed away shortly afterwards. Despite the circumstances, I was ready to fill in, and my first lessons went swimmingly this morning. I used the unfortunate situation to teach students about expressing sympathy, and tomorrow, we plan to write cards for their previous teacher. Although I was unsure about bringing up death on the first day of class, the students were actually very keen to discuss the funeral process with me. In the second class, we had a particularly satisfying diagram drawn on the white board by the end of the hour.

So inspired was I that I went to the Russian Market to buy a motobike helmet for all of my future motobike endeavors. Pink and sassy in my new helmet, I felt ready to take on the world, or at least ride more safely on the back of Nouna's moto. Nouna took me to Phnom Penh's very own water park this afternoon--even though she can't swim. The entrance fee of $3/person afforded us a dip in partially chlorinated lazy rivers, mini pools, and lap pool. What a relief from the unrelenting heat of Phnom Penh's concrete.

Refreshed and hungry, Nouna and I set off for some real Khmer food. I couldn't tell you what it was called or even what it was, but it looked like an omlet, tasted like nothing I've ever had before, and included shrimp. My hands were a sopping mess, and I was pleased. It's always a treat to go out with Nouna. her generousity and sense of humor make even the most mundane activities (traffic jams) enjoyable.