Posts

Freedom

Image
Ok, so a lot has changed in these past two weeks.

A lot.

I had to make a really hard decision, and right now I'm writing this from England.

I came home a few weeks early, because otherwise my head was going to explode from all the stress of ICS VSO.

Don't get me wrong, Cambodia has been an amazing experience, and I don't regret going one bit. But, I also don't regret leaving. I did six weeks and it's been a cool six weeks. I'm seen some amazing things, temples, waterfalls, gigantic spiders. And, it was so nice to live in this little rural village, surrounded by so much nature and heat compared to the cold concreteness of England. It was so nice to actually see the sun. And it was so nice to live this completely different life.

But, I felt like a fraud. This Khmer family put me up and the community were so welcoming, yet I didn't feel like I was benefitting them in any way. And believe me, I really wanted to help, but ICS just kept throwing constant streams …

Retreat

Image
Ok, so things have changed since my last post.

Don't get me wrong, this is still a really weird experience. But, I've changed my reason for being here.

No longer the selfless Summer I had had in mind, I am now here for my own future employment progression. (Basically the reference and CV points). And being here for that reason makes it OK that I spend my days here writing reports.

I'm trying to ditch all the negativity and focus on the positives. I'm sleeping for eight hours every night, drinking two green teas a day (albeit with spoonfuls of sugar in) and consuming loads of vegetables. It's like a health retreat!

And the other day I did something kind of cool. A couple of volunteers have been planning English lessons for Khmer children on Sunday's. But when child after child (as well as a few monks) wondered in, we started to realise that more then a couple of volunteers were needed. I found myself sitting with a group of Khmer children looking at me, expectan…

Weird

Image
This is all just a really weird experience. 
My host Mum keeps telling me through sign language that I need to eat more food to be strong. She also keeps telling me when to shower. I'm not so sure she understands that I'm twenty, and am now at this point quite independent. One might even say adult. Although I'm not being treated like one here.
Life here is cool. I even prefer the squat toilet situation to western toilets. I also now have a pet dog that I've named Jeb, and cute little tadpoles in my bathing water. I was rapidly loosing weight here until I discovered fullos (cute little chocolate wafers). I have a feeling I'll probably go home heavier then I came now. 
And that's saying something considering I'm biking for at least half an hour each day, and
I seriously think I'm going to go home soon. 
(Be prepared for some more negativity right now).
I keep telling myself 'stay for the CV points,' but if I'm honest I really don't think it'…

Praying mantis

Image
So I've officially made it to community. Siem Bouk, this tiny little village in the province of Stung Treng.

Am I having a great time? The time of my life? Once in a lifetime opportunity?

Not so much.

As I write this I'm googling the cheapest way to get out of Cambodia and back to the UK. Apparently a quick stop over in Syria might be the answer. 
Don't get me wrong, Siem Bouk is amazing. I'm currently looking out across the Mekong, the river directly next to the village, which I can even see from my bedroom window. The placement of this little village couldn't be better, 30-40 little wooden huts in a straight line alongside the river. We shower from river water, wipe our bums with river water and I wouldn't be surprised if we were drinking river water. It's so green and yesterday there was a  bearded dragon in my room. I've seriously found my zen. 
But (and I'm trying my best to be as un negative as possible right now), the volunteering work I'…

Take me home

Image
To say this week has been a roller coaster of emotions would be a complete understatement. After a ten hour plane journey it was literally straight into training. As everyone's zombie eyes met mine I realised I wasn't the only one with a serious case of sleep deprivation. That night I found myself staring into the mirror, tears in my eyes, like why did I decide to do this. But it's amazing what a good nights sleep can do. 

I've made it to Cambodia.
The first thing that hits you when you walk off the plane is the heat. And then the smell. Cambodia has a very distinct smell. And there's me planing for rain everyday, and it's only rained once. No point in my swag waterproof that's taking up room and upping the weight of my rucksack. Then there's the traffic. It's ridiculous. No wonder road traffic accidents are the third biggest killer here, because the road is full of mopeds literally diving in all different directions. There isn't even a line in …

Wish me luck

I don’t know how cool blogging is anymore or if people still do it, but I’ve decided to give it a go. Or another go. Fingers crossed I’ll actually stick to it, or maybe this will be the only post you ever get to read.
But I’m giving it a go because tomorrow I’m off to volunteer in Cambodia for ten weeks. It may not sound like long but I’ve come to realise ten weeks is actually a long time.
Ten weeks.
Two and a half months. Two and a half months on the other side of the world, maybe showering from a bucket and maybe weeing in a hole. Two and a half months of monsoon rain, because I’ve chosen to visit Cambodia in wet season. And two and a half months of a complete culture shock.  But I’m not nervous. At least I wasn’t nervous until an hour ago when I read there’s a lot of landmines scattered around Cambodia waiting to be set off, and you should always watch where you step because they have snakes and scorpions. There's also tigers, so I'm not too sure whether my rabies vaccina…