One Year on

Wow, how quick has that gone. Unbelievable. 20th May 2014 I left England with hope and trepidation. So far the trepidation has gone, the hope is still here but most of all it is excitement and happiness. I can't believe how much has changed in 365 days.

In the first couple of months i was staying in the guesthouse which was no problem and working in the volunteer school. This was also the start of getting used to the diet, the people, the weather, the culture and the city. The hardest was probably the diet. For 18 years i have eaten potatoes, bread and cereal. This was turned upside down when it became rice, rice and beef or pork. It was a gradual transition to enjoying but it makes so much sense now. Before it was to fit in and save money. Now it's a staple part of my diet with me rarely going out my way to find western food unless it's cheap or chocolate. The rice in the morning fills me up until 12:00 or 12:30. If i have cereal, that will only fill me until  11 or 11:30 and i'll want to eat again or have a snack. So now it's all rice or noodles.

The people were no problem at all so welcoming and lovely which is why i love this country anyway. The weather can sometimes be too hot which is not much of a complaint compared to England's grey weather. The city is pretty easy considering it's got big avenues and numbered streets so I learnt it pretty quickly, it's a lot easier than London to say the least! The culture, i'm still learning and i find it fascinating and love learning more all the time. Like just recently i found out they have another language within their language! For example i knew that they have language if they ever talk to the king, another language for speaking with monks and recently i learnt they have rhyming language a bit like cockney rhyming slang. Which is another step up from just learning the base language!

The language on the other hand, i'm still coming to grips with. I've just started having lessons two weeks ago and the teacher thinks some of my vocabulary and idioms are very good for a foreigner. This is probably due to me hanging out with my khmer friends and picking up the local slang rather than the polite 'correct' way to speak that the locals don't actually use but foreigners learn. So i'm pretty happy with my small grasp of it. My teacher has just been teaching me the basics that i completely missed such as food, colours, objects, basic nouns and verbs that are needed and helping me with my pronunciation. So far, so good.  

Then in August, i got a job at a primary school which if you have read has been pretty good experience so far and i have learnt so much. It has been really great to watch these children grow and develop and use words that you have taught them! Especially in the kindergarten! We recently had a run through in kindergarten of our 'family day' celebration and my K1 and K2 looked so grown up compared to N1 and N2. Especially K2 as they are nearly in P1. It made me proud to see these children maturing. All the way through from K1 to P4 they have really calmed and matured and become better than when i first started teaching them.

Every once in a while i would reflect what i was doing in the time last year and I'd think how much has changed. From working in customer service in Uxbridge and living in Chalfont St Peter to then move to London and commute to Uxbridge every day. Playing football every once in a while. To then helping educate poor children and then educating well off children and then moving into my own apartment at 19! Playing football every day. It truly is bliss. Never in a million years would i think i would have a job, house and be master of ceremonies for the second for my schools family day celebration next week!

 If i could change one thing it would be being able to survive whilst educating the poorer children of Cambodia. I really want to help my old volunteer school with their students, it's been documented that it is not good for the children to be constantly forming connections with teachers and then the teacher suddenly disappearing and changing. Plus it means they are always learning the same thing over and over. Not actually developing their understanding of English. Even though i only have one year's experience i really think i could help them. Although i would be working for free... so it's 
trying to work out a way to work there and live.

So what will the next year bring? I don't know but I know that if it was anything like the last then i'm in for a blast! Even though i'm living day by day going to work and coming home and it's practically the same routine, i'm so excited for it.

Link of the day, not much to do with the article, just been listening to it a lot: