Travel Blog Revived!

21 06 2011

“Fascination, beauty, stimulation, empathy, compassion. [Cambodia’s] a strange place that many people love despite the fact that just about anything you would describe there is awful.”

— Seth Mydens to Karen Coates, as reported in her captivating book, Cambodia Now

The travel blog lives again! That’s right, after a six month hiatus, we’re back with big news: One month from today, Tim and I will be leaving for Cambodia! In late 2009, we submitted applications for the Peace Corps, and we just recently received an invitation to serve abroad beginning in July. Tim will be doing youth development and teaching English, while I will be working with community health issues. We are very excited about our placements and are eager to get started!

The first couple of months there, the Peace Corps provides intensive language and technical training. Also during this time, the in-country staff will be assessing our skills and personalities to determine the best placement for us. That means that we currently do not know where in Cambodia we will live after training; it will be determined, at least in part, by our performance the first couple of months.

After we complete training, we will be sworn in as volunteers and will begin our two years of service. The Peace Corps finds housing for volunteers and provides a stipend while abroad. Tim and I will live with a host family for our entire time in Cambodia, although they’ve assured us that they do everything possible to ensure that couples receive the amount of privacy and space that they need and deserve. From having communicated with married couples currently serving in Cambodia (thanks to Facebook), it sounds like many of them live in guest home-type scenarios, with either an entire house or floor to themselves.

Southeast Asia is a region that we had been wanting to visit for some time, so we are ecstatic to get to spend two years really getting to know what seems like such a beautiful country and its people. Cambodia has a complex and devastating history which has resulted in some interesting contradictions and challenges. We can’t wait to delve into these issues, broaden our own understandings and, hopefully, help out in some small way.