*typical oozy Sonya happy gushing ahead*
Hi guys! Can we talk for a moment about things I love about living here in Phnom Penh?
- My neighborhood. We might have a large populous of westerners but it's the best little neighborhood in all of Toul Tom Poung (that's the name of this area of Phnom Penh.)
- Royal Mart. It's owned by our land lord but it's got the best prices. I save almost a dollar on my muesli. I can dash down to the corner grab soy milk and dash back up my stairs all during a commercial break. Plus they all know me now and we swap smiles and small Khmer greetings.
- The Russian Market. This is where I can go get my fresh veggies and dried goods. I have my regular stalls that I visit. We're friends and getting good at communicating. I can also stop by and pick up some comfy clothes that are made local. I'll take another blog to talk about this place in depth.
- Joma. I stop most mornings before work to hang out with a few other coworkers over a cuppa joe. The staff know us, what we like and always greet us with a smile.
- My tuk tuk friends. There is a giant apt complex across the street, not a favorite, and recently a small fleet of tuk tuks have accumulated waiting around to take the westerners who live in giant complex where ever they need to go. They started parking in front of my gate so I engaged them in my limited Khmer. It's been great!! Now I have friends who look out for me and we practice conversing. It's a lot of sign language. But I LOVE IT.
- Location. We are a good distance from everything. Work is a mile, the ferry is 10 min, heaps of food, two to Russian Market and 4.5 miles to church.
- BICYCLE. I love ridding my bicycle everywhere. Sometimes I ride it around the neighborhood because just the mile to work isn't enough a day. I love Sabbath when I can ride to church. It's an easy route and I can peddle and think and pray the whole way.
- Little traveling food stands. They are so cool. I might not eat their food but it makes the world feel a bit more like I live inside a carnival or that I'm at a baseball game. Love them.
- The gym. It costs $1 each time I visit and $2 when I need electricity for the treadmill. I even get a towel to use to sop up all my sweat with each visit.
- Sounds. There are so many great sounds at any time of day. The city waking up around 5:30/6am. The squeaker sound from the recycle trash people. The squawk of prerecorded calls for warm bread etc. The light honk to let you know they are passing around another vehicle. The random banging of something against something else. The stinging song of a grinder being used to cut wood. The general hum of trucks and cars passing. I will note that we don't get too much traffic because we are tucked a bit back from the main roads, that's something else I like too.
- Flowers. I can get a few flowers for $1 or two. It helps bring joy to our apartment and remind us that there is beauty in the world.
- Tile. My apartment is almost completely tile. Not just on the floors but on the walls too. I write on them with dry erase markers ALL the time. I even left a note at a friends house on the floor for them. It's a teachers dream come true to have tile everything.
- Mobile Coffee. They roast yummy beans and add gentle background noise to our kitchen.
- High ceiling. Our living room has a two story tall ceiling, it really helps with the heat.
- Safety. I have not felt accosted by tuk tuk drivers wanting me to ride, men cat calling or making me feel less a human, or any of those things. I love knowing that I'm safe as long as I am making good choices and staying where I should be.
See, there is simply so much to love about this place. I could keep going. Maybe I will later.