Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy 2010!!

hi. i hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. i am in phnom penh now and will be spending the glorious evening with some pcv's in town...i hope everyone is well.

just a quick update about work...site is good. i am working pretty much 7 days a week, but i am enjoying it. hopefully, i will start playing volleyball with the girls team next week. teaching english is difficult...really difficult. my co-teacher is fantastic and my director is great. he invited me to have dinner at his house and meet his family for xmas and i gladly accepted. it was a nice evening and so very thoughtful of him. ummm....my family is really nice and they treat me well. for breakfast, i normally eat noodles or bon chayu (this egg omelet with bean sprouts) with an iced coffee at this shack next door... i pay .75 cents for it...i eat lunch at home if i am hungry and my family always cooks dinner for me.

well, here are some photos. hopefully i will have more after new years. enjoy!


giant wooden carving, Battambang Provincial town

Alleyway in Bttb again

(l to r) mira, me, christian and jaNise

Fish drying out in the sun, Battambang Provincial town

BBQ, Battambang Provincial town

Giant Guava, given to me by an old grandpa from school

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

one more thing...something that annoyed me

my feminist side certainly comes out a lot more while i am in cambodia...

i was at school one day and i was sitting grading tests outside. apparently, i was sitting inappropriately, or not like how a female should sit, and one of the younger male teachers told me in khmer to put my leg down on to the ground. i asked why in khmer and he didn't respond. seriously, motherf****r!?! i was pissed for the rest of the day...i really hate how women are treated here and how they so willingly accept it as part of the culture. not funny....

i am waiting to eat with my fellow pcvs and i'm getting hungry. cranky...

jingle bells batman smells...

hey all...its thursday and its a day off from school...human rights day.

i don't have photos to post now, but i just wanted to write and say hi. its already december and i have been in cambodia now for nearly 5 months! time is flying and i am a fifth through service. phew! school has been keeping me busy and i have started my clubs. eager learners out there, but we'll see...cambodians can be quite flakey...haven't seen this much flakiness since leaving...eh...we've all been flakey...

normally around this time, i would be baking and trying new recipes. i miss baking. i haven't seen an oven in 5 months. talk to you later. i am getting hungry.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Photos from Turkey Day--Happy Belated Thanksgiving


me and darlene


our language group


keiko


keiko, tyler and christian


kenny, bob, megan, bri, eddie and katie


dinner


dessert


leah and nikki


lisa and kealan


all finsinhed



conclusion of language--khmer style



Thursday, November 26, 2009

Valentine Ice in Battambang



Doesn't this look pretty delicious? I am in Battambang Province for In-Service Training and Thanksgiving. Tomorrow night we'll be celebrating with 2 smoked turkeys, pumpkin pie, sweet potato cassarole, massed potatos and other fixins...yum....THANKS DARLENE!

Keiko, Kealan and I just arrived not too long ago in Bttb with PC staff. Riding in the PC vehicle feels so official! Anyway, here's a photo of a 'Valentine Ice' that I enjoyed at a chinese owned, cafe spot in town with Dr. Darlene, Philip and Keiko. I ordered this not knowing what it was, but it was pretty tasty. It was a fruity shaved ice with a little bit on condensed milk and some bobas. This cost 5,500 riel or about $1.35.

Just a quickie update on life in Cambodia. So, its officially been 2 months at permanent site!!! Time flew by and life is improving! I am adjusting to site finally and am making friends. For example, I went to the market yesterday to look for some kromas. My neighbor came up to me to ask what I was doing and I told her Iwas looking for some kromas, but was unable to find any to my liking. I guess she told the meat vendor and while I was walking out of the market, she chased me down to tell me that the meat vendor had some at her house. I talked to her and she said to swing by her home around noon and she would show me her stash. I went and she gave a free kromas!!! That was so nice of her. And, I guess being invited to someone's house means they they like me!! YAY! They like me!

Anyway...I am gonna eat a piece of chocolate now and wait for dinner with the gang. Gonna play some cards later tonight in the hotel and just relax. We have 6 hours of language training tomorrow and 6 more saturday!!!

I'll definitely post photos after turkey day festivities tomorrow and perhaps blog. Hi Mom! Hi Dad!
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

photos as promised...


Here are some sorta recent photos:


The lady in green is the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Carol Rodley.





Pretty much the whole gang of K3's...i think a few people are missing.



Christian and me after swear in.

Lori, Mira, Dylan and me. We did a small community health project together on brushing teeth and washing hands.


During Pchum Pben festival at the pagoda.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I am now a volunteer

hey, i swore in as a volunteer on 24 September 2009. i will post photos later, but i just wanted to update everyone.

i am now at my permanent site in Pursat Province. I live in a rural area about 30-40k from the Tonle Sap. my village is very small. i live on a paved road in the middle of the village. i have electricity and running water. my new host family is very different compared to my training family. i live with 11 people now- i have a host mother and 3 older sisters. there are 6 kids in the home ranging from ages 8-20. my host mother and sisters are constantly busy and i don't anticipate growing close to them anytime soon. i have been here for about a week now and feel more or less like a border. i have also noticed that the accent here is different than in takeo, so speaking to my family is very difficult and making that connection and building a rapport is quite challenging. but i think i am making progress with the children in my family, which i am happy about. the oldest son finally talked to me yesterday and asked me in khmai to practice english with him. that was a nice moment.

school also started this week. i am not teaching english yet. instead, i am observing the different english classes. anyway, the education system is very different than from home. since it is the first week of school, more than half the student population is absent because teachers are introducing themselves and establishing classroom policies. also, students do not have their books. it's very frustrating and disappointing to see.

anyway, i should go home and eat lunch now. while i am finished observing classes today, i want to come back and work on organizing'/cleaning the library for the rest of the afternoon. i don't feel like staying home and reading a book in my room under the mosquito net. i can do that tonight after dinner and bathing. i am still debating on whether i want to wake up early and ride my bike 10-15 k into town and hang out with christian (the closest k3 volunteer to me).

it's strange, it was only yesterday that it dawned on me how difficult being a peace corps volunteer is. i hope all is well on the home front. i miss home, diana

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Finally! Evidence that I am in Cambodia

FINALLY! here are some random photos featuring me and my fellow K3 trainees...Hi MOM! Hi DAD!

This was taken on the first day of practicum. I am wearing a sampot--a traditional teaching skirt worn by khmai female teachers.


Here is RT, Christian and me...we are in Phnom Penh on a scavenger hunt.


Obviously, this is a house. I am in training now, but this is my temporary home in Takeo Province.

Here's 1/6th of the Peace Corps group. We went on a field trip to Tonle Bati...quite a relaxing day. L to R: Nikki, Christian, Lisa, David, Me, Dylan, Chrissy, Nick, Vanny (LCF) and Greg (K2).

Nick, Mira and I visited Kristine (in red) for our Kampuchea Adventure. I am sitting next to Kristine's host dad. He pulled these coconuts straight off the tree and served them to us...fresh coconut water...

Me, Chrissy and Dylan on our trip to Tonle Bati...we are sitting in a hut above the water...














(left) You see dilapidated buildings from time to time in Cambodia. (right) This is also in Takeo--homes above water. You see the guy in the boat?


(left) A little girl in Mesang. (right) A girl performing a traditional khmai dance with coconuts.


that's it for now...we are almost finished with training...and can you believe i've been in cambodia for 2 months now? we are swearing in as Peace Corps volunteers September 25th and its really exciting...after that, we all go to our permanent sites. anyway....HI TO EVERYONE AT HOME!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

3 more weeks

we are more than half way through training...its exciting...i can't believe we've been in cambodia for 6 weeks now...so i guess on september 25th, we will be sworn in as volunteers. i'm gonna work extra hard on my language acquisition, so that i am able to communicate as much a possible with my new host family.

oh, i forgot to mention--my permanent site for the next 2 years will be in pursat province, which is half way between siem reap and phnom penh, west of the tonle sap...i live in a rural community, but i am only about 10k biking distance away from the the town. my province buddy is christian (he lives in town). our provincial town is quite small, but clean somewhat. there isn't much to do in town, but we are excited about the presence of a few ngo's in town. there is an orphanage near my village, which is exciting...and there is an women's development org too...

i'm currently at this new internet cafe/hamburger joint in town...fast internet and cheap...everything is new and clean....so, next time i visit, i'm gonna try to post some photos....

i'll write more next time, talk to you later

diana

Friday, August 21, 2009

nek-gru---khmai for female teacher

well, practicum is over. over the past week, we got the opportunity to practice teaching in front of an actual cambodian class and along side an acutal cambodian english teacher. i taught 11th grade english to about 48-53 students for approxiamately forty-five minutes each day and it was exhausting. i can't imagine how teachers teach all day. but, kudos....

i would say that this trial run went somewhat smoothly. nothing major was reported as bad! all the feedback from current PC volunteers and our trainers were positive with some constructive criticism. i'm talking too fast...however, i'm managing my time well and utilizing my co-teacher.
---oh, actually, terry did say i was cracking the whip and frightening students when i said "YULLL?!?!?!" in khmai, it means, UNDERSTAND?!?!!? i must be a maniac in class....
anyway, i think we lucked out with the student population...tramkak district is a larger town and students here aren't so shy. i keep hearing that when we get out to the rural areas, it will be diffifult to elicit student participation.

i haven't figured out how i feel about being a teacher. with all the expectations and responsibilities, i don't know if its a good or bad thing. to tell you the truth, i am one of the laziest people i know. although, i have been going to bed early and waking up early --which is extrodinarily rare for me....i wake up around 5:30 every morning.

teachers in cambodia are well respected and are active members of the community. they are known to be the third parent, which hold a lot of responsibility--teachers are expected to teach students to become disciplined individuals. however, similar to teachers in los angeles, they aren't paid well. in order to survive, most teachers have a second or third job , so they are constantly busy. they either teach private classes on the side or own a small business.

anyway, this week was bittersweet...i felt like a celebrity...so many of our students asked to take photos with each of us and it was really exciting. terry, judy and i got precious little gifts from our girl students...i got two momentos: a key chain with my name stitched in and a minnie mouse hair clip.

oh, today was also the announcement of national test exam scores at local schools. test scores are important because it means going to univeristy in phnom penh---if you get a good score, you are going if you can afford to...if you get really good grades, there's the possibility of getting scholarsips....so 12th grade students rushed over by 9am to check their scores on the printed sheets posted on the wall...tension was in the air...

i'm tired and hot...bye...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Misson Accomplished: Kampuchea Adventure!!

so, i'm back in angtasom district from our 2 day kapuchea adventure. mira, nick and i left around 6:30 am thursday and boarded a taxi headed for prey vang via phnom penh. traveling hectic, cramped and hot, like a sauna. so for 5-6 hours, we were crammed next to 12-14 khmer people sharing headed for multiple destinations in a mini van. at one point, some one was sitting on the roof of the mini van and 3 people puked duringthe commute. the road was seriously bumpy. but, we made it safe and somewhat sound and was welcomed by our wonderful k2 host. we stayed with the k2 and her host family for 2 nights. the k2 was awesome, her host family was awesome, her village was awesome. this k2 lives in a rural village east of the mekong river--about 3 to 5 hours away from phnom penh. her village is small and quite peaceful. honestly, i learned a lot on this short trip. it was nice to get an intimate picture of volunteer life after training. having seen the rural areas now, i'm more welcoming of the idea of being placed in one.

i was pleasantly surprised to learn that her host mom is ethinically chinese and was actually able to speak cantonese. wow! everyone told me that the chinese in cambodia speak some other dialect...the moment that her host mom revealed her ability to speak cantonese immediately changed the dynamic of the visit...from that moment on, she and i communicated in chinese. i think i may request a chinese cambodian family for my permanent site.

on the down side, she lives near a cambodian ngo that is supposedly run by this scumbag director who is pocketing all the fees that the students pay. we heard that the director is charging each student 7 USD (up from 2USD) and 20 kilos of rice per month in exchange for housing, food and education. apparently, the students are only getting 1 meal of day, consisting of rice and green vegetables. looks like all the money is going to the director's two wives...on the bright side, however, the kids who live at the school are so happy. they were just so optimistic and were so eager to practice their english with us. it's just so heartbreaking to see that they are directly affected by rampant, unchecked corruption.

ughh..while this issue may not be as disguisting as the above mentioned, it definitely bothers me a bit-- okay, so my two counterparts, nick and mira, are both american looking (white) and were the highlight of the trip for the people in the village. i, on the other hand, was constantly mistaken to be a khmai person. it happened everytime i was introduced to someone new...it was just frustrating. i think trying to explain immigration and being born in the us will be a challenge in itself because cambodian people have a different perspective of what culture is.

anyway, i'm tired of blogging. its impossible to tell you everything that i've seen or have learned. also, i really wish i could upload photos, but i'm worried about viruses at this internet cafe. sorry. i'll try to write more next time.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

sweatin balls out here

its so hot. i sweat 23 hours 58 mins of the day, each day. yesterday was the one cool day with scattered showers throughout the area. i was still glistening.

our large group of 40some have been split into 2 groups. i am currently in takeo province, in a small town called tramkak. the other group is located in the other direction, in a town called traing. language and cultural training has been tough. its like school all over again, except i'm in cambodia. if anyone has ever experienced cambodia, you'd understand that life is tough. as much as i like living with my host family and have grown an affinity towards my host sister, i have to admit that i am treated like a child. i didn't go home for the lunch the other day because i live 20 mins away by bike and they called me to ask where i was. i never got this treatment from my own parents. its also sorta weird for me, at this point in my life, to start calling another person mom or dad.

other than that, i like being here. learning the language has been somewhat successful.

hello to everyone at home. email me or something!

diana

Friday, July 24, 2009

Being last isn't so bad after all....

while today was suppose to be our first day in cambodia, thai airways overbooked the flight to phnom penh. so, me and 8 other lucky souls were left behind in bangkok international airport. it just so happens that having a last name beginning with the letters s, t, u, v, w, x, y or z isn't so bad after all. here's a photo of us sitting by the ticket counter waiting to see if they can place us on a later flight:


and, since we had like 10 hours to kill, the gang hopped into 2 taxis and spent half the day in the city. we visited the grand palace and afterward, wolfed down some amazing thai food at a nearby thai cafe.


after that, we took a walk and i ended up buying mangosteen on the street. 1 kilo of this fabulous fruit only put me back 30 baht.


















now, we're just waiting at the airport blogging, uploading photos, eating, wandering around. today was pretty awesome. after a day of staging in sf and traveling for what seems like 2 days, having zero structure and being able to do something spontaneous was just what we needed.

anyway, i have nothing else to say. gotta change back into my "professional clothes". we will be boarding soon and finally getting into phnom penh. our destiny awaits!

later taters!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peace Corps hooking us up with phat digs

so, we're in thailand for a bit. pc set us up at the hotel novotel bangkok by the airport, so we could catch some z's. we've been traveling for over 15 hours now -- 10+ hour flight from sfo to tokyo; 2 hour layover; 5+ hour flight from tokyo to bangkok. oh and waking up ass-crack early wednesday morning to catch the bus to the airport. i feel sticky and smelly from the recycled air circulating throughout the plane.

we lost someone at the airport earlier tonight. he was taking a cig break. hopefully, we'll see him tomorrow.

off to sleep. in a few hours, cambodia.

Monday, July 20, 2009

still packing and no no no, long good byes

I HATE LONG GOOD-BYES. i'm having ryan take me to the airport tomorrow morning. its probably not the best idea, but i figured it's a wiser option than having my parents do the deed. i am pretty emotional at this point and by tomorrow morning, i'll be on high alert. and having to see my parents faces can only result in unnecessary crying and puffy, swollen, red eyes. so to avoid all this, i'll just have ryan take me since he always has a stone face. i don't want to show up to orientation looking all tore up.

i just said good bye to crystal and gretch. i didn't even look them in their faces when i said bye. and i'm also making the rounds and calling people to say "see to later". if i don't call you, don't take it personal. i'll see you in 2011. or, come visit me in cambodia--the country of the future.

well, talk to you later. read me blog, as i will try my hardest to keep it updated.

di

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SOLD!!!


SOLD THE COROLLA. enough said. take that haters! oh, and i'll be checking out HP later this week too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

T minus 6 days...

its pretty unreal...i'm leaving in 6 days...and i haven't packed, i haven't studied...i haven't done much lazying around--in fact, i'm not sure what i have been doing with my time.

anyhow on to another topic. you guys remember goal #7 on my list of things to do before i leave? yup, selling the corolla. my cousin Ben has been helping me achieve this goal by doing all the selling. he posted my car on craigslist friday and a bunch of people have called. no luck yet, but, i have a few more days before i leave. at this point, my dad is telling me to just give it away. we've driven this car over 100k miles now, so i suppose he feels like he got his money's worth. currently, the odometer reads 229,392 miles!

this weekend was special. ryan surprised me with a meal at THE FRENCH LAUNDRY! we spent an amazing 3 and 1/2 hours eating a 9-course lunch (the price was pretty amazing too). but, i'd say it was well worth it. people, you gotta experience fine dining at least once in your life. and when you do, try to make it out to napa to visit the french laundry. it wasn't just the food that was excellent. but, the staff made us feel so comfortable and relaxed. they weren't snooty or stand-offish. i enjoyed listening to them tell a story immensely. so, with each new course, came an explanation or anecdote and i was so very happy to listen to each one. and there was so much effort put into creating the food. from every finely sliced pea to precisely positioned piquillo peppers, i appreciated all the little details that were put into our meal because it created such a happy, fulfilling experience. anyway, i can't tell a good story, even if its to save my life. so, when you have time, check out the photos. they should explain it all.

gotta study now. g'night.

diana

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

13 days remaining and being unemployed

peace corps supplied us with a list of our mobile numbers yesterday and i have updated the blog with my contact info. there are 47 of us going! i'm excited to meet everyone---yesterday, i took a few moments and imagined what these people looked and sounded like based on their names. its pretty silly, but i'm really excited at this point. i still don't have any jitters yet, but they should be kicking in sometime soon.

last thursday was my last day of work. phew...feels weird being unemployed. i wake up around 8 or 9, but by noon, i'm napping. and, with my extra time, i finally finished reading stay alive, my son. nearly 90% of the book was about being in the labor camp and figuring out a way to secure extra food. nearly a third of the population died in result of starvation or execution or disease. now, i'm reading First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung. The author is a female who is part Cambodian and part Chinese. She was only 5 when the Khmer Rouge took over.

well, gotta go. lunch date....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

jury duty and other thoughts

hey hey...got excused from jury duty earlier. i told the clerk it was my last week at work and showed them my assignment for peace corps. they require dates, so the lady photocopied the front page of my assignment and my invitation letter. but, since i will be keeping my ca driver's license, i'll continue to receive jury duty summons. bummer--i'll let my parents handle it.

there will be a language assessment when we arrive in cambodia. so, i am trying to keep up with my language study. we will only have 8 weeks of language training before we go to our permanent site. i can barely say "how are you"...

peace corps cambodia wants us to read at least one book on the country before we arrive. so, i am currently reading Stay Alive, My Son by Pin Yathay. i'm only on the second chapter, but the book is a personal account of a man who was forced into a labor camp by the khmer rouge and was separated from his only surviving son, Nawath.

being on a fixed income, i don't have much financial wiggle room. with that being said, i purchased a netbook from costco. it should be arriving this week. acer 10 inch...i hope its worth it or doesn't break down the day i arrive in cambodia.

other musings you ask...THURSDAY is my last day at work! after that, i have 18 days to prepare and "do stuff". i'll be up in sf for one weekend. hopefully, i'll get to go rafting with lisa and tom while i am up there. ryan is taking me to chez panisse one last time! yum!

hold the phone!!!! ryan just said that its no longer chez panisse---and that it was a surprise...huh? what could it be?

time to go eat some hummus....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

32 more days!

I made strawberry stuffed diafuku mochi the other night. fun. fun. fun. anyhow---

I will be flying up to San Francisco, July 21st. We are having one day of staging-- its orientation and pre-training info. I'm anticipating a lot of paperwork and a lot of talk and reflection. Stuff like that. But, I'm excited.

We have a long haul trip to Cambodia though. Our flight schedule looks like this:

July 22nd, leave from SFO for Tokyo on an 11 hour 15 min flight.

July 23, leave Tokyo for Bangkok on a 6 hour and 40 min flight

and finally on,

July 24, leave Bangkok and arrive in Phnom Penh on a 1 hour 15 min flight...phwwww...

I'm still thinking about what I should pack. I think the roller duffel I purchased from Costco may be too big. The dimensions are within Peace Corps limits, but I don't think I'll be packing for 2 years.

Using my handy desk calendar at work, I am realizing that I am only bound to 10 more days of work! wowo! However, I mentally signed out like 2-3 weeks ago (blogging from work...). pretty ridiculous. And, you know what else?!?! I have jury service duty my last week of work. ughhhh..so annoying.

I'm trying to meet up with family and friends before I leave. All this meeting up and eating is really cutting into my running routine (I ran one day this week):

  • This past Sunday, I had dinner with my Grandma and my aunts and uncles;
  • Monday, I had dinner with Naveen;
  • Wednesday, I had dinner with my uncle Charlie;
  • tonight, i'll be joining my cousin Ben and his wife Cherie for dinner;
  • Friday night, i'll be making mochi with Jennifer;
  • Sunday is Father's day, which probably means Baccali
  • And, for the next 3 consecutive sundays, I will be attending Hollywood Bowl shows--which means, I will need to cook food. I love Bowl shows!
Okay, gotta go.

Here's a video of me feeding geese in Cerritos Park---

video

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bye. Have a good summer and Good luck.

I knew I would feel the excitement and blues of leaving once I began the process of quitting and transitioning into the planning and packing mode. Well, I gave notice last week at work and my last day with USC will be July 2nd. I felt very at peace when I handed in my resignation. And, today was my last day tutoring with Jonathan. After nearly 2 years of privately tutoring him, I felt very protective and attached. I'm not sure what he felt or if our last tutoring session even affected him, but it was a bittersweet moment for me. Not that he needed any tutoring, but I asked if he felt that our meetings together helped improve his performance at school and his reply, with a big head nod, was "I think I'm a better reader now." I guess that's all the emotion I'll get from a soon to be 6th grade boy. Having to tell Mr. Lee was harder than I expected. I felt the gratitude and disappointment in his voice. Or, maybe I just imagined it. We shook hands and he said "Good Luck with Peace Corps". Really, my being so super emotional annoys me.

On my drive home, I began to wonder how I will feel when my 2 years in Cambodia finishes. Being ultra sensitive all my life and knowing I'll never change, I really can't imagine thinking or feeling like, Finally!! I hated this place. I'm never coming back." And, once I start thinking about PC, I have to ask myself the reason(s) for joining. It always yields the same reason: the experience--the experience as a whole and the individual pieces of it. The experience of change. The experience of not living with my parents at the ripe age of 27. The experience of quitting the library after so many years of looking for a gig thats more professionally and intellectually stimulating. But, these reasons are too obvious. I guess I want to know if I'm looking for something more...deeper...yea, a deeper meaning. Is there?

Later Taters....di

Friday, May 8, 2009

East Coast Trip 2009

Hi! I got back from vacation a few days ago and it was quite enjoyable! What originally started as tagging along with Ryan to the Tribeca Film Festival, manifested itself into a full blown east coast trip. The weather was all over the place...cold, rainy, humid and hot! Unfortuanely, I didn't get to pack for global warming and looked like a big dork the whole time. Anyway...

Together, Ryan and I visited New York, Boston and Cape Cod. While in New York, I stayed at the L Hostel in Harlem for the first night before Ryan arrived. I liked it. I liked seeing all the north and west african restaurants and shops.

After almost a decade, I got to reconnect with my former roommate, Jennifer from Pace University. It was nice to see her and catch up over dinner. It was a full 4 hours or so, but it felt brief.

After New York, we boarded a bus to Massachusetts. We split our time between Boston and Cape Cod. While in Boston,we got to spend time with Naveen. She actually lives in Cambridge and is attending MIT at the moment. It was the most untimely visit, however, since it was during finals and she was 'quite' busy. Cape Cod was wonderful. No tourists! I recommend going during the off season. Lighthouses, windmills, clambakes, potato chips and beaches. BUT! BEWARE OF TICKS! Yeeeachhh! I chose to visit the Bird Santuary in Eastham or somewhere and after paying the entrance fee, I learned that the ticks had come out early this year! YIKES. I don't even want to talk about it. You can see Ryan with his socks stretched over his pants on Picassa. Boston was cool. So many colleges around. Our stay with NJ was NICE. We ate out, ate leftovers and went dancing. And, she didn't get upset with me when I ate all her clementines. Thanks, Naveen!

I was also able to visit Joanna in Philadelphia. She finishes UPenn this fall. I was a little unimpressed by Philadelphia. I did the liberty bell and cheesesteak deal. It was okay. Can't say that I will crave a cheesesteak anytime soon. On the other hand, Joanna's cooking blew my mind--in particular the salsa! Tostadas! YUM! Thanks, Joanna!

The final leg of my trip led me to DC and Virginia with Marbella. I stayed with Mar in Cleveland Park. One stop down from the park. I loved the grilled cheese sandwiches she made with her cast iron skillet! WOWO! I finally met her roommate, Ed. Nice man. I hope to see his band play one day. Mar rented a car and we took a day trip and visited the Luray Caverns in Virginia. In addition to the caverns, a giant garden maze was on the grounds. The rainy weather made the maze very much so enjoyable. Thanks, Marbella!

I don't feel like writing anymore. Too much info already! My next trip will be to San Francisco this Memorial weekend. I'm gonna fly up Saturday night after work and visit Lisa at her new place. Then, Monday afternoon, drive down with Tom. It should be fun. I hope Armand has some time to eat at Gregoire's.

I never did watch any movies at the film festival.

I really should study Khmer more diligently.

bye.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jum-riab-sua! (Hello in Khmer)

i began studying khmer a few days ago. it's a language I am not familiar with and so far it's tough. also, it's not the most beautiful language. so imagine the combination of speaking khmer with my squeaky, high pitched voice. it'll be awesome. i'll keep going...we'll see how far i get in a couple of weeks.

anyway, it's been a while since i last wrote. i have to admit, i'm not a blogger. and i'm pretty sure that while i am in cambodia, i'll be writing even less.

initially, i thought blogging would be easy--but really i have difficulty posting, not only because i have nothing to say, but i feel very self -consciousness. i feel pressure to entertain and update and to say something profound. i'm not good at any of those things.

ugh, there's something to do around the house. i am gonna do something productive. bye.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

about 137 more days

its sounds like a long ways from now...it is i suppose. i don't really have much to update. my khmer language book arrived from amazon the other day. i have yet to even open the box. it hasn't really hit me yet. i'm still in my routine, the routine i've been in for about 3-4 years? wow, what a waste of time. anyway, talk more later. goodnight.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

what i'll miss while i'm gone


the rain is letting up and the forecast for the week will be sunny....blah...i'm waiting for my rain boots to arrive in the mail.i hope to put a few miles on them before the sky dries up.

i'm still waiting for my khmer language books...ugh...i wanna start studying already

oh. as i promised, here's the list of things/people/places i will miss.
  1. my family
  2. my friends
  3. annoy ryan by hoarding the food and blankets
  4. baking
  5. my golden girl dvds
  6. my indiana jones dvds
  7. my star wars dvds
  8. the apple of my eye--the corolla
  9. rizza pizza
  10. trader joe's
  11. my mom's fried rice
  12. going to the movies
  13. visiting target on a whim
  14. in&out cheeseburger without onions
  15. sur la table
  16. ice in my root beer and ginger ale
  17. playing board games that take incredibly long
  18. getting my hair cut
  19. Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations"
what the heck, since i'm logged on, here are the list of things that i plan to do before i leave:
  1. spend time with my family and friends
  2. watch harry potter
  3. visit san francisco and eat at chez panisse
  4. visit a couple of friends in the east coast
  5. finish painting my room in one solid color
  6. go camping
  7. sell the corolla
list to be continued....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

language study

i began looking into studying khmer the other day. you'd think that working in a library, i'd have an abundance of resources, but seeing that not very many universities own khmer language books, i may have to purchase from amazon. but, even amazon has a small selection. well, i'll wait a week to see if my library requests for the books come. crossing my fingers.

i'm trying to remember what khmer sounded like when i was over there just a month ago. i guess i'd say my most vivid memory of hearing khmer came from all the music videos that our bus driver would put on during long haul trips. there was this one male performer who came out in almost every single music video...actually, it was pretty funny.

Friday, February 6, 2009

mom and dad... i have some news

i just told my parents...hmp...

they were A LOT calmer than i expected. i was surprised that my dad knew what the peace corps were. i can tell they are a little nervous. my dad just asked, "so, every 6 months, you'll come home to visit?" my mom is concerned with the money. my dad offered to give me his brand new laptop. i told him it's not necessary and that it'll just get lost. two years is a lot for them...i told them to just come and visit me, if not in cambodia, then in china.

i'm worried that they are worried. my parents are acting pretty cool and collected about the whole going away thing, but i feel the concern lingering in the air. it hurts to see my parents that way. crystal said it'll pass.

well, telling my parents was half the battle of my peace corps experience...

the next time i write, it'll be about all the things i'll miss while i'm gone.

the invitation arrives

back in sept. 2008, i created this blog as a means to keep in contact with my family and friends at home, while i would serve as a volunteer with the peace corps. it wasn't until last night that i finally had a reason to write my first post.

btw, it is raining in los angeles tonight and i love it. anyway, my reflections...

i got home from watching My Bloody Valentine in 3-D with Jessi last night and there it was, on the coffee table--my Peace Corps Invitation Kit! even before i got a chance to open up the package, i called ryan to tell him. drowsily he asked, "so, where you goin'?" CAMBODIA.

i leave in late july 2009 for orientation and training. after nearly a year of waiting for an invitation, i admit my emotions were mixed. while i was happy to finally receive my assignment, i was a bit speechless and apathetic. i dunno--maybe deep inside, i was disappointed that i wasn't assigned to china. or, maybe cambodia lost its novelty when we visited south asia over winter break. nevertheless, i stayed up reading the handbooks in the kit until my eyelids hurt.

anyway, i'm totally over that weird awe-struck feeling now and am in the process of going through the kit. there are still a few items i need to finish reading, but i'm am DEFINITELY going. i'm going to cambodia! i am not going to let inflexibilty or certain expectations get to me. i've been waiting for this opportunity and got it.

i just need to fill out the visa/passport, write an aspiration statement and update my resume (due in 10 days!). i'll call my placement officer on my day off next week to tell him i am accepting the invitation. yay!