A Travellerspoint blog

Cooking Class

We got to sleep in a bit this morning as we did not need to be at school until 8.40. This was good as this old girl is starting to feel a bit weary!! I hate to complain as the people over here work so bloody hard. Most people have two or three jobs and just get in there and do it and here I am whinging but I can't help it I am tired LOL.
Poor Ashlee wasn't feeling well today but she powered through the morning and helped me with the Grade 4 photo project. We spoke to the children about what themes they had decided on and divided those who needed to go home to take photos with those who were happy to stay at the school. So the themes were Dogs, House, House, Fish, Friends, School, Garden at School and Chickens. Ashlee stayed behind to do the school based photos and I went with the other kids to their homes. This was definitely a highlight of visiting Cambodia and I was so grateful to Kaann and Saral for helping me as we visited all the families. It is such an eye opener to how happy and loving these people are despite the challenges they face living in very poor and often primitive conditions.
The first visit was with one of the boys who wanted to take photos of his dogs. His parents were obviously very proud to have us all visit their home and told us that he originally wanted to do his fish but it died!
The next visit was all about chickens and that was very funny as one of the boys chased chickens around the yard trying to get a good photo!
We trotted down the road a bit further and came to the boy who loved his fish. This was certainly an eye opener as he took photos of what looked like a little stall on the road that was owned by his family who specialised in fish. There were fish drying on a table and a big bucket with what looked like catfish with lots of fish swimming around in it.
It was then the girls turn and they were very particular about photographing their houses. One of the girls told me about her dog Lucky and when we got to her house we were greeted by two dogs. I said which one is Lucky and she said both of them! I met her grandmother and showed her the photos her granddaughter took and she seemed very happy to see them. I am going to print all the photos for the kids and put them in an album for them to keep. They often have very few if any photos of themselves, their family or friends so this is a very small thing I can do for them.
We got back to the school and Ashlee had her group in the outdoor pavillion where we teaching drawing and colouring their picture for the book. Our group joined them and started drawing and colouring as well. They are all so talented I am constantly blown away by how well they draw. After they finished drawing they all wrote a few sentences in Khmer and then Kaann and I helped them translate it into english. This book is going to be so cute!
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After lunch Ashlee was feeling very sick and so we insisted that she go home and rest so Lisa and I were in charge of the activities for the afternoon. Once again we improvised and had a great game with the kids. We played 6 speckled frogs and the kids loved it, we also played a few games and did some singing - I had no voice by the end of the day.. those poor kids didn't seem to mind my terrible singing voice but I am tired of singing "one finger, one thumb".
As we were packing up one of the older kids showed us his pet scorpion.. so fun!
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After school we checked on Ashlee and she was still not feeling the best so she skipped the cooking class. So Tara, Sophie, Kristie and myself trotted off to the Le Tigre de Papier https://www.facebook.com/letigredepapier?fref=ts
This was such a fun thing to do. We first chose what we wanted to cook from the menu, we then went for a walk through the old markets to see all the different produce.
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There were two chinese ladies, a french couple and us altogether and we all were shown how to prepare and cook our meals. I really enjoyed it but don't get too excited Gary I won't be cooking anytime soon!
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After cooking our meal we took it downstairs and ate it! I loved it when the drinks order came around as it was so stereotypical the french couple ordered wine, the chinese girls didn't order anything and we 4 aussie girls ordered a tallie of Angkor beer!
We were sooooo tired by the time we had finished dinner and I couldn't wait to go to bed. So grateful we can sleep in tomorrow.

Posted by sonya13 03:38 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

The power of a camera

This morning wasn't a great start as our alarm didn't go off and we had to race to get ready to leave by 6.20am.. I was feeling a little unsettled in the stomach which was nothing compared to Lauren who had spent most of the night throwing up! We left her at home and went to the school where I spent the morning with Lisa teaching the Grade 4s about doing a photo book. The school has asked us to help them create a photo book for 8 students from the Grade 4 class and the Grade 6 class and I am doing the Grade 4s with Lauren but because she was out sick Lisa and I did it.
The first thing we did was explain the project which involves the students choosing a theme such as home, school, friends, family or pets and taking a bunch of photos related to their theme. They then choose one photo, draw a picture and then write 2 sentences about what they have chosen in both khmer and english. Once we have collected all their work we are going to publish a book.
Well I cannot begin to tell you how much fun the kids had with this project and how delighted I was by how happy they were with playing with the camera. So we began by showing the children how the digital camera worked and explaining how to use the safety strap and how expensive it was so they would take good care of it. We then showed them zoom and how to check the photos they had taken. After all the boring stuff we let them loose on the school grounds to take photos of anything they wanted. I wish I could adequately describe the sense of fun and excitement they had with this. I am so grateful to be a part of it. After they had experimented we explained to them they had to think of a theme and if they wanted us to visit their homes to ask their parents permission and sent them home.
After lunch Ashlee and I did some activities with the Grade 3s using the book Rosie the Hen as a guide. It was a bit of a struggle as the children were having a hard time getting the concepts of under, through, across and past. They all had fun nevertheless and Ashlee saved the afternoon by playing a great game called "Indian Chief" that the kids absolutely loved!
Lauren had ended up in hospital so on the way home from school we dropped in to see how she was doing at the International hospital. OMG the hospital was huge and her room was as luxurious as a hotel room. However, at $US1000 a night I would expect nothing less! Thank goodness for travel insurance!! She looked so much better and only wanted her iphone and ipad! Ashlee put the tv on for her and we left it on the WWE channel and went back to the guesthouse to get her things.
We got a tuk tuk to Lucky Mall to get some money out and buy Lauren some treats as she has finally got her appetite back and then we got the 1/2 hr for us to come back we gave him $10.
We got back and decided we all needed a steak for dinner and so checked out a local steak house just up the road from the guesthouse. I ordered a fried beef stir fry thingy but the other girls ordered steak and I tried some of Kristie's and it was delicious!! Will definitely go back and eat there again and this time I will order steak too.
So yet another exciting and interesting day in Cambodia comes to an end.
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Posted by sonya13 06:52 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

A learning curve

We all woke up bright and early for our school day at Spitler. I was excited and nervous about the day as our teacher was away and so we were in charge of all the classes! We arrived early and Ashlee took the Grade 6ers to work on the photo project and Lauren and I stayed in the classroom to teach the Year 7s. Poor Lauren was feeling sick and her neck was out so I took the lead and hit our first snag when we realised the lessons we had planned were not the right ones!! A quick scramble and look at the workbooks and we adjusted our class to suit the new activities. Was very stressful for me though as I like to have everything planned as much as possible with back ups. But this is what this experience is about for me to get out of my comfort zone and test myself as a teacher and it is certainly doing that!
The Grade 6s didn't turn up so we helped Ashlee with her photo project and had a look at the schedule for the next day. Ashlee visited the Village with some of the children and took photos of their families and home and it was so lovely. She then brought them back to the school where they drew pictures for the book. Here are the photos of their work.. they are so very talented.
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The rest of the day was spent winging the classes as none of our schedules were correct and I struggled with this but the children are so amazing and the experience so awesome it is totally worth it. I know this experience will make me a better teacher and the learning curve will be totally worth it. I am also lucky to be working with some very talented primary and early childhood pre-service teachers and I am watching and learning from them as well as the great local teachers who work very hard and have some great strategies on teaching English.
We came home from school and I went for a run and I felt so good for doing it. I was interrupted halfway through with a phone call from Gary and so stopped in the park to have a chat to him and managed to say a quick hello to Boyd and Wendy. On the way home I saw a guy get knocked off his bicycle.. he was ok but he seemed very shaken... a couple of police were nearby and ran over to assist him. I also saw a suitcase fall off a tuk tuk and get dragged underneath it.. I am surprised this is the first time I have seen any incidents with the crazy way they drive over here. It is not as bad as India but close!
We had takeaway for dinner and am having a quiet night at home planning for tomorrow and finishing this blog.

Posted by sonya13 05:24 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

The Hangover

Well a huge night also means a huge hangover! We all slept in until late and woke up feeling not 100% so decided to head to our now favourite crepe place and have breakfast. I had some mushroom, ham and cheese crepey thing that was delicious and an ice cold chocolate milkshake. Feeling a little better after eating Kristie had a craving for a cupcake so we went to the cupcake shop but was devastated to discover it was closed! We went around the corner to a shoe store that sells Vans, Converse and Nikes for around $50 but I didn't really look closely as I have my friend Ange at home to hook me up with those shoes :)
I did find a portable iphone charger for $40 that I might go back and buy. We then went home and chilled for the rest of the afternoon before planning our lessons for the next day. We have a huge day tomorrow as our teacher is going to be at a wedding and so we are going to be teaching regular classes on our own rather than just assisting and running activities - very excited and nervous!
For dinner we decided to go to Lucky Mall which had the Cambodian version of McDonalds/Hungry Jacks called "Lucky Burger" but was a hybrid of KFC and Hungry Jacks it was actually very delicious and perfect hangover food! Lucky Mall is very modern and has escalators and a supermarket that made us all ooh and ahh. We stocked up on breakfast food and snacks and bought a birthday cake for the birthday girls Ashlee and Sophie.
We felt bad as it was Sophie's birthday and we were all too hungover and sick to do much with her but we have promised to make it up to her! The cake was delicious it was a chocolate cake with cream layers that had fruit in the cream.. yummo we even managed to get birthday candles.
We then finalised what we were going to do for tomorrow and I am now writing this while half watching My Khmer Heart a controversial documentary about Geraldine Cox. We have met two people over here who have different opinions on Geraldine and I am trying to form my own informed opinion.

Posted by sonya13 06:25 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Ashlee's Birthday

We were up early this morning as we decided to do a tour of the Floating Village. A man in a very nice bus picked us up and drove us to the Floating Village dock where we met a very funny little man with a massive hangover who could have possibly still been drunk. Who entertained us while we waited for our boat to arrive. We boarded the boat and travelled down the lake and took in the sights of the floating village. It is so fascinating how these people live. They have a school, a shop and a restaurant all on this lake. We got to a place that had a display of the different fishing equipment they use and some information on how the lake works which was very interesting. After that we headed to the “Tara” boat to have lunch. I had chicken with stirfry vegetables and cashews which was probably the nicest lunch I have had since being in Cambodia which is saying something as the food here is amazing. For $27 we got picked up at our guesthouse, taken on a boat tour of the village, lunch with 2 complimentary drinks of our choice and dropped back at the guesthouse. Bargain. An interesting note if you ever do this there will be some people that will come up to you in their boats with a small child who will wrap the snake around them and you can then take a photo for $1.. don’t do it, it is exploiting the child and will keep that child out of school in order to make money. Do not buy anything from the children in the street you are not helping them and do not give money to beggars.
Anyway in the afternoon we went shopping for dresses to wear for Ashlee’s big birthday bash that night. Shopping is thirsty work so we stopped at this fabulous little Mexican place and ordered a cocktail before our massage booking. I got an hour long full body massage and an hour facial which was so relaxing! I even slept for 20minutes which totally refreshed me for the night. We had another couple of cocktails at the Mexican place before heading home to get ready.
We all headed back to the guesthouse and made ourselves beautiful for the night. It was such fun as we all helped each other decide what to wear. First stop was dinner at a great little restaurant nearby (I can’t remember the name) where I had lobster fried rice… yummy!!!! Billy and his partner Chai and Lisa joined us and we had a lovely night chatting and laughing and sharing stories. After dinner we headed to a local bar called The Station that has a ladyboys show. Well we just had so much fun at this bar and the ladyboys were fabulous performers. Kristie loved it and even got pulled up on stage to have a dance. It was so fun and we were all getting a little bit drunk by this stage. We were joined by Ashlee’s high school friends who were very funny and loads of fun. After the Station we went to Temple bar and another bar and this is where things get a bit hazy for me! I remember drinking a few shots, drinking out of a bucket and dancing and having a great time. I don’t remember getting home but apparently I was very funny especially when I fell out of the tuk tuk (thanks Kristie for looking after me) I think that might be the last time I get drunk in Cambodia!
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Posted by sonya13 06:03 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

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