I’ve heard people here refer to Phnom Penh as a “concrete jungle” but I find it refreshing. Buildings and gates painted in different colours, coloured corrugated iron rooves, trees dangling over walls and potted plants everywhere. I know these are small things, but they’re small things I enjoy.
The tuktuk plowed through deep water on flooded back roads. The tuktuk suddenly began leaning toward the right. So there I was, standing under an awning by the side of a small road, looking at a disabled tuktuk and listening to the rain.
I love the sound of rain on a tin roof. It’s like music made by nature and humans working together. I just let the sound of the rain wash over me. Having lived most of my life in semi-dry climates rain always seems special to me.
Cambodia’s Moon Festival is like China’s 中秋节 (Mid-Autumn Festival). It was fun to watch children in our street playing joyfully with lit lanterns while adults chatted and nibbled on food offerings.
It’s been a week now since I left Beijing and arrived in Phnom Penh. All in all, it’s been a great first week – a great start to this “middle” time I find myself in. I am delighted to feel so at home, and look forward to engaging in life here while I can.
At this year’s EPIC conference I had a team of 7 very enthusiastic and skilled young men to lead worship with. I also led a small group; we had a great time, with interesting conversations and some laidback silliness I think all teens need in life.
I really do love visiting Cambodia. I don’t feel drawn to live there, but I very much enjoy having a safe and comfortable place to visit. I was inspired during my recent trip to Phnom Penh so here are some Cambodia stories for you.
I love the mix of foreign and familiar I get here in Phnom Penh. The familiar is part the similarities of expat life, and part the sheer number of times I’ve been here. In 2013 I spent 6 weeks in Cambodia, as opposed to 3 weeks in Australia.
August is rainy season in Cambodia. There was rain most days, some thunderstorms and flooding. I love it here. It is, the perfect blend of familiar and foreign. I speak survival Khmer – enough to get around, not enough to converse.
A fun thing about my trips to Cambodia is relationships with the TCKs there. A highlight of the trip was when two students made comments about “saying goodbye to Tanya is easy – I know she’ll be back”. In TCK world, that’s a big deal.
EPIC was a 2.5 day conference – that’s 50 hours to cram in 5 worship sessions, 3 talks and a LOT of activities. There were 100 participants. I led a worship band of boys – they live in four cities, and come from the US, UK, New Zealand, and Korea.
Siem Reap is 6 hours from Phnom Penh, on small two lane roads through rice paddies, wooden stilt houses, palm trees, haystacks, and skinny cows. We stopped to buy snacks – fried tarantulas, bugs, pineapple, green mango with chili salt.