Thursday, 7 March 2013

Catch up time...

Hello all!

Apologies for the delay writing this blog, our aim is to update you around every two weeks about the shenanigans we're getting up to over here, but we're a tad behind and have been here nearly 2 months now!! It seems like we arrived just last week, and yet life here is so very different to anything we've experienced before our old jobs and schedules feel like a life a million hours gone away.

So here's my plan, stick with me friends, I've got so much to write about, I'm going to try and curb my habit for wittering and get through a couple of sub-titles to this blog to give you a bit of a more rounded view of life here. Please do ask questions and let us know what you want to know about - whether that's toilets (no they're not that bad... mostly) or temples (yes, they are everywhere, and hauntingly beautiful). I'd love the feedback of knowing that the words don't just go out into a void to sit and get fat by themselves!!

The Weather (what a great place to start, being British and all!!)

Every now and then we convince ourselves as we're cycling along that it's no different to a beautiful summer's day in England. Then we twig that it's 38C and at least 10 degrees hotter than nearly every summer we've ever experienced on that lush green Isle! We were fully immersed in the reality of the climate here last weekend as we had a 4-day power-cut. We'd previously experienced planned cuts where we had no day-time electricity, but it came back on in time for us to find our way to bed, plug in our gadgets and have the air-con and/or fan on overnight. This time however, with no warning at all the electricity went off and we had nothing. The reason? A lorry drove smack into a hefty concrete pylon and took it down, causing a domino effect for 11 pylons and interrupting supply from Thailand. The local power station only produces a 1/4 of the electricity required by the city, and so power was dished out to the shops and pubs in town to keep trade going, and hotels, restaurants and everybody else resorted to generators to keep their clients happy. The amazing managers of the Dream Villa Guesthouse where we stay sourced a couple of generators they could put on for a few hours a day, and though this wasn't enough to get electricity back through the hotel it gave us a couple of plugs for charging things, and also, much more importantly, kept the water pump working, so that the tank on top of the roof would continue working. This meant we could take cold showers before bed and during the night when we woke up, to facilitate sleep. It was a crazy couple of days, ones I hope we don't have to repeat, especially given the huge jump in mosquito bites we got as a result of sleeping with windows open! The good news was that the driver of the lorry fled the scene - and if he could run away, I'm taking that to mean he wasn't too badly injured himself!!
The heat continues to ramp up - we're expecting it to reach into the 40's quite easily during April, but it has rained twice now since we've been here, for about an hour each time, so hopefully there'll be a couple of spells of rain to ease the humidity a bit and bring a fresher breeze! Most days are 'Double Deodorant Days' here, and that label that says '48 hour protection'? It lies!! Maybe don't visit until the hot season is done, and we all smell peachy again! ;)

A Normal Day

I wanted to let you all know what we do on a normal day - but I don't think we've had one yet!! The best I can do is go for generalities, as I'm sure that you wonder what we get up to, especially as most of the photos you'll see are from our downtime or days off. This is usually because those are times we have good wifi and the time to take and post pictures of what's going on
Breakfast interspersed with chatter with our beautiful chef, who daily teaches us new words in Khmer, and practises her English. Breakfast for me is followed by admin - for Production and Connect - getting out my trusty 'to-do' lists and prioritising what needs to be done first. Batteries were last week's biggest achievement after much cycling around and price-comparing. This week we're getting moving on a printer/copier/scanner for us to use. Who said it wasn't a glamourous life hey? Some days I get a pile of hand-washing done, my skills in this definitely need honing, and I won't be sad to get a washing machine at some point!! Washing usually has a worship or preach podcast soundtrack - because without it, who knows what I'd end up singing to distract myself and this is shared accommodation!!
Lunch is often with hubby, sometimes with the team. We'll have meetings over coffee with team/volunteer members, or just to be social. The afternoon for me is often the time to get out and about - fetching things, doing a little shopping, or going to Khmer class twice a week. Then the evening is usually more of a social time - the team are getting quite a nose for bargains - places with free tapas when you buy a drink etc, so that's an occasional treat, or we'll pop to one of our preferred eating spots as a team or in smaller groups. The great thing to see is that as we settle into our different roles here, we all become more independent, spending more and more time with our new friends and contacts here, and not remaining isolated as a group of ex-pats over here. Shout-out to Sarah on this one - she's massively intentional, and follows up 'chance meetings' with regular contact and on an un-related note, the best example of Everything's a Gift I've ever seen!!

I'm not quite sure why - but today's blog has taken ever so long to write. Partly to do with me searching for birthday gifts for various family members, but just a hard one to know what you'd like to hear about! Perhaps all the words have fallen out of my head today?! We love looking through instagram and seeing so very many of our friends and family, but we'd absolutely love to have a word or two in an email - I'm not always the best at replying quickly, or the most eloquent - but we love you guys out there, our family, our extended family, our adopted family, our friends. We love you, we miss you, we'd love to be praying for you where you have need, and share our prayer needs with you too.

Be in touch. I'll be back soon... hopefully with a few more words between my ears and making their way to my fingertips...
With love

Beth, of 'Phil and Beth' fame!