There were so many happy and funny moments when I was in Cambodia. I’d love to share these with all of you.
Thanks for the happy times, everyone. You are all my angels. 😊
Moments with the French volunteer:
At a farewell party for a local priest, the students cried. The French volunteer consoled one of the girls:
French volunteer: Don’t cry. When you see Father in Cambodia again in 5 years’ time, he will be very fat cos the food in France is sooo good that he will eat a lot and will have a big belly. (From then on, I referred to her as ‘the French volunteer who boasted about French food’. 😄 Read the whole story here)
In Vietnam, I shared the bedroom with the French volunteer. She suddenly went out:
Me: where are you going?
French volunteer: to Heaven.
Me: oh, see you there.
(Check out our Vietnam trip here.)
French volunteer: You put so many curtains to cover the wooden walls in your room in the village. Eventually, all the walls will be covered and it will look like those rooms in a mental hospital.
Me: Next time when you come to visit me in the village, you need to stay in that room.
Priest: I’m not good at remembering names.
French volunteer: Thank you for remembering my name.
Me: Yeah, I was about to say that too. Thank you.
Priest: But I tend to remember the names of those who cause troubles all the time.
Dinner with the French volunteer. It happened the waiter is also French:
Me: (pointing at the French volunteer and the waiter) French… fries, please.
A group of French volunteers talking to each other. I asked my French buddy:
Me (looking at the other French volunteers): so they are your new French friends?
She: Yes. They are my French friends.
One of them: Yes.
Me: how long have you been in Cambodia?
He: a few days.
Me: oooh! So fresh, eh? (He also looks very young 😉)
She: yes, he’s my fresh French friend.
A new tongue twister. 😜🤣
At lunch time:
Me: oh buddy!
French volunteer: oh buddy, do you want me to feed you?
Me: oh do you want me to feed you too?
We started shovelling the raw beans into each other’s nostrils.
(Check out the food that I ate at the villages here.)
Pakistani volunteer: Yesterday, I was in Kampong Cham. I thought we would see each other, but you were not there and the French volunteer also left Cambodia.
Me: Yeah, I sent the French volunteer off. I needed to make sure she left Cambodia. 🤣🤣
(Check out her overweight luggage here.)
Talking about religious calling:
Me: …but you don’t want to be a nun.
French volunteer: No, I don’t.
American visitor: why don’t you want to be a nun?
French volunteer: I don’t feel the calling.
Talking about discos / nightclubs in Phnom Penh:
French volunteer: if you want to go to that particular disco in Phnom Penh, you need to dress up.
Me: oh, I don’t have any proper shoes.
French volunteer: Hm… there’s one in Kampong Cham too if you want to go.
Me: really. 😓 (note my tone of voice)
Talking about Italian guys with the French volunteer:
Wait, do I need to say anything? 😄
Moments in the college / village / online lesson:
Re retirement age in some countries:
Colleague: in Cambodia, it is 60. How about Singapore?
Me: I don’t remember. 60 or 65.
Colleague: they can continue to work after their retirement in Singapore, right?
Me: yeah but some people don’t want to. There are also people who become a volunteer. Like my mother, she works as a 24-hour volunteer… (colleague was puzzled) looking after my dad.
About not pronouncing consonants in Cambodia. I was having my online lesson with my student from Taiwan:
Me: here, people like to drop the last consonant of English words. Like the word ‘church’, they will just say ‘chur’. When I was traveling here many years ago, I saw something running across the road. I asked the tour guide what that was. He said ‘it’s a mau.’ I was puzzled. He then said to me ‘you don’t know what that is? A mau. You don’t know?’ Honestly, I didn’t. He then started to describe it. I finally understood. It was a ‘mouse’.
My Taiwanese student: so how do they say the word ‘horse’?
It just happened that immediately after that online class with my Taiwanese student, I had a class with the college students. One of the students said, ‘I like to ride a whore.’
At the end of the class, students in the village like to say, ‘goodbye, Teacher. I wish you good luck and good hell’.
(Check out why they call a teacher, ‘Teacher’, instead of ‘Miss / Mr. / Mrs. xxx’ in my blog here.)
One of my students in the village always mixed up the ‘s’ sound and the ‘sh’ sound. Guess how she said ‘sit down’? 🤣
What is the abbreviation for Student Life Office?
Yes, that’s right. S.L.O.
What is the name of their WiFi network?
Yes!! You got it!! SLO WiFi.
(Want to know about internet service and its providers in Cambodia? Check out my blog here.)
I was checking and fixing a very old kettle in SLO. Couldn’t fix it so I waited until my colleagues finished their calls.
A few minutes later, the kettle started boiling water.
Me: huh? It’s working! What did you do?
My colleague: you need to have the right password and fingerprints.
I was walking along the hallway when I saw my colleague.
She asked me: Already?
Me: Huh? Yes.
I actually had no idea what she was talking about.
Got a WhatsApp call from a priest-to-be:
He: I miss you.
Me: I miss you too.
He: really? Do you know why I miss you?
Me: I know… Pancakes!!!
I was his ‘pancake buddy’ when I was in Kampong Cham. He used to take me to the riverside to buy pancakes after dinner.
(Actually, the featured image of my blog ‘Good or Bad News?’ was taken when I was on his motorbike with the pancakes in my hands.)
In Kampong Cham:
I put on an ultra-thin aloe vera hydrating mask. My face needed some nutrients.
Someone called my name outside my room and knocked on my door.
I opened the door, still with my mask on.
It was the priest-to-be.
He saw me, paused for a while and then laughed, ‘What are you doing???!!!’
Lucky that my mask was ultra-thin. He could still recognize me.
(Click here to find out my skincare secret.)
Also in Kampong Cham:
What would you order?
At a party, I was sitting with a priest. There were some people sitting at the VIP area:
Me: that’s the VIP area with more comfortable seats.
Priest: you know what VIP means?
Me: (puzzled but curious)
Priest: Very Impolite People
As mentioned in my previous blogs, MSG is a very important ingredient for the majority of Cambodians. The students in the college also eat plenty of MSG (Check out the local food in my Cambodia blog here.):
One of my colleagues said to the students: if you like MSG that much, you should just eat MSG with water. Don’t ask me to buy any more food for you.
Moments with volunteers / visitors / travellers:
An Indian volunteer introduced me to a cute brown dog in a centre, ‘his name is Tiger. He’s a very nice dog.’:
She then told me: I was teaching the primary school students the word ‘dog’ and after our class, I pointed at Tiger and called “Tiger!”’
Youth from Phnom Penh: Let’s keep in touch after you leave.
Indian volunteer: Yes, of course.
Youth from Phnom Penh: The foreign volunteers always said that. But after they went back home, they always responded to my messages with one word – ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Indian volunteer: Ok, I will write you a paragraph.
Visitor: So this Formation Centre is the centre you stay at during the weekend?
Visitor: So, that’s your resting place during the weekend then.
Me: I’m still alive.
Talking to a photographer on an air-conditioned bus when he was insanely taking numerous photos for record purpose:
Me: yeah, take as many pictures as you want. When you’re on an air-conditioned bus, everything looks exceptionally beautiful.
(Check out different modes of transportation in Cambodia here.)
Talking with a Hawaiian backpacker in Siem Reap who had been travelling for several months:
Backpacker: I’m still wondering what to do next. I’ve been travelling for a while now and have been in Siem Reap for 3 weeks. I’m getting tired of travelling. Previously, I was getting tired of working and now I’m done with travelling. I will go back home after my Vietnam trip and then figure out what I’m going to do next.
Me: You know what, you have come to the right place. This country is also called the Kingdom of Wonder.
I was talking about seeing the king of Cambodia at the Water Festival (check out the whole story here) to a Cambodian guy in a hostel:
He: our king is not married yet.
Me: yeah, I know! I was trying so hard! (Waving my hand)
He (laughed): he’s in his sixties now.
Me: oh, good that he didn’t see me.
Talking about being ditched by my students in the village (find the entire story here):
An NGO guy: you must feel hurt and sad.
Me: no! I feel angry! It’s like seeing your husband having an affair with an extremely ugly woman and spending money on that woman. He has such a beautiful wife at home but he chooses to have an affair with an ugly woman? Seriously?!
Relationship among the three dogs in a centre:
Names: Cafe, Carrot and Coca, but I like to call Coca ‘Bella’ cos she has beautiful shiny black hair – ‘Ciao Bella!’ An Italian priest doesn’t like me to say that. 😄
Priest: they are all Bella’s children.
French volunteer and I (shocked): really?! Disgusting!
French volunteer: we saw them sleeping with Bella!