February 23, 2010

Switching roles: from newbie to old hat in one fell swoop

Today marked a decidedly new chapter in my Cambodia chronicle. No longer was I the new kid on the block—on the contrary—Today I was the tour guide, the question and answer gal, the been-there-done-that person. Two new volunteers arrived midday, just after my swim at the Sport Club. Feeling a little cocky pedaling in on a bicycle, I introduced myself and excused my disheveled post-pool appearance. Both were twenty-something American women with delightful personalities. Over lunch I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment as I answered their questions about Phnom Penh, CWF and the house. We took a neighborhood tour to the Russian Market to avert jet-lag napping.

After the intense heat of the market, we took a well-deserved break in the air-conditioned upstairs of Cafe Yejj. I was uncontrollably happy to finally be among my own volunteers, the people with whom I will share a very intense three months. I chatted enthusiastically about travels, school, and boyfriends for a few hours, despite my sore vocal chords. Our next stop was my secret spot—the 7 Mart Cafe with free wifi. I thought of Fiona's wisdom as I told them, you've got to have some comfort things to keep you sane—mine are brownies and daily internet access. For the first time in six weeks, I felt very confident and I found myself quite happy to be in Cambodia.

Now a nagging cough reminds me of me of my grandpa's wise remedy: grandma's frozen chocolate chip cookies do the trick every time. No cookies in the world could compare to my grandma's, but until the next time I can raid her freezer, these little chocolate-filled cakes will have to tide me over.