A Week of Small Victories

9 09 2011

As I mentioned in the last post, training is slowly but surely allowing us more independence, as well as more time to interact with the Cambodian people. I am extremely grateful for this shift. And, in fact, because of this new independence, this week has been one filled with small victories. These victories will probably not be all that impressive to many of you reading this, but some of you who have lived abroad and/or learned another language may relate. So, in no real order, here are a few of the things that made this (otherwise mundane) week a little more exciting.

1.) I went to the tailor. Not only did I go to the tailor, but I went by myself and was able to order two custom-made shirts. I got the two shirts in a matter of days and they fit me perfectly. To top it all off, I got a good price. I consider this a testament that my Khmer is coming along. (And besides, now everyone thinks I’m saa-aat– beautiful- because I have a couple of Khmer shirts.)

2.) For our community activity, we held an infant nutrition seminar at the local health center, and I would deem it a resounding success. We demonstrated how to use boboa, a traditional porridge used for weening small children, as the base for a healthy and delicious meal. We added in some locally produced, affordable veggies and wah-zam, a great meal to use when introducing complimentary foods. We had a good turn out, and I had a wonderful time talking with the mothers and children who came.

Nutrition Seminar

3.) Finally, after having been here for six weeks, I can really start to see relationships forming and growing. Tim and I genuinely enjoy spending time with our host family, we are starting to develop some real friendships with other trainees and, even between the two of us, brand new meaningful conversations continue to sprout up on a daily basis. Moving abroad can feel isolating at times, but this week really made me feel like I have a support network of Americans and Cambodians in-country.

So I’ve seen some small, but important victories this week, but the real test is still to come. Tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon, we find out our permanent placement then leave immediately to visit it for a few days. This will be the real test of our speaking abilities. This will the be the first opportunity to see how we are able to form relationships with our future coworkers and host families when we are completely on our own. This is where we begin to assess how realistic our personal and professional expectations are for the next two years. I am supremely optimistic and most certainly looking forward to seeing our new home. It will definitely be a week of surprises though, so I am sure that we will have much more to write about when we get back…





2 responses

9 09 2011

Glad to hear you’re settling in, Katie! My Khmer is still limited to counting, hello, and no! Best of luck settling into your placement site!

14 09 2011

Hey T & K!

So we can’t wait to hear….what is the placement? Where are you going to be? What will your jobs be? And the house? You guys seem to be doing amazingly well, and we love the blog. Keep the updates coming and we can’t wait to see pictures. Also let us know what Tim’s snacking situation is in a land far from toaster struddles and fountain drinks.

Pittsburgh misses you!
Paul & Rebecca & Leo & TimKat/Ramsay

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