Monday, June 6, 2011

Winding down...

Wow. I have been really bad about this lately! I suppose I will just do quick highlights from the last month and a half or so.
1) I finally made it down to my training village to visit my training host family and go to a wedding. One of our peace corps training staff married the training host sister of another k3, so many of our training language teachers and other khmer staff were at the wedding. It was a lot of fun to spend some time with them outside of the office or training setting.

2) I completed my last big project at site. A workshop on preventing gender based violence (the morning was on domestic violence and the afternoon was on sexual violence). I had a team come out from Battambang to conduct the workshop and a couple of the peace corps guys to help facilitate (given that it was a co-ed workshop on some very sensitive topics). The kids were great and handled the issues with a lot of maturity. We had some heated debates but, while it may sound odd, I felt that was a success. The fact that both my male and female students felt comfortable enough to be honest about their opinions and beliefs was huge.

3) A bunch of us were able to join in the engagement party for one of our fellow PCVs in her fiance's home village.

4) I celebrated my 24th birthday with a few friends in Siem Reap which will probably end up being my last visit there.

5) We had our COS (close of service) conference in Phnom Penh which was relatively painless, though most of us aren't used to spending an entire day outside of a hammock anymore, let alone 3... It gave us a last chance to spend time all together.

6)Since then I have just been hanging out at site, trying to get time in with my host family, the nurses at the health center, and my students.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm melting.

After a delightful two week vacation in the cooler/breezier country of Vietnam, I am back in Cambodia. It is hot. It is also Khmer new year so just about everything is shut down. It's nice to be home but I will be happy when things return to normal!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Busy busy busy

Things have been uncommonly busylately. I will blame the busyness for my lack of blogging. Truth be told, with EXACTLY 4 months left in Cambodia, I am running out of blog steam a tiny bit. Highlights of the last few weeks have included:

I presented at the 7th annual Cambodia TESOL conference with another PCV the last weekend in February. We taught about using a basic understanding of cognitive psychology, specifically learning and memory, to teach more effectively. We had over 100 participants and as much as I wanted to hurl during most of it, I think it went really well.

This friday myself and the other Battambang PCVs put in a workshop for International women's day. We each brought in 10 or so students and invited several speakers. The co-teacher of one PCV lead a session on self esteem. Then we had one of the Peace COrps medical staff come with her family to talk to the girls about balancing a career and a family as a woman in Cambodia, and finally we had a guest speaker talking about womens health issues. Everything went off without a hitch!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Joys of Dry Season

Not only is dry season HOT. It is also the time for weddings and various other celebrations. Meaning it is painfully loud more often than not...but also pretty fun when you partake in the festivities.

Additionally dry season is absolutely FILTHY. Without the rain to knock the dust out of the air you get a thin layer of dirt on just about everything. Today I decided to undertake cleaning my mosquito net, window screens, pillow cases and fan.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

We aren't very good tourists...

Back in Cambodia after a short trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We had a great time but definitely did not manage to make it to a lot of the popular tourist destinations in and around the city. We did however make it to McDonalds, starbucks, dunkin donuts, subway, pizza hut, auntie annes, chillis, and a number of other fine eateries. We also made it to the movie theater twice, and to at least 5 malls. (we did some sight seeing stuff too though, the towers, a mosque, independence square, china town...)

KL is clean and bustling and diverse. It was a nice break.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Or July...

Scratch that. Turns out our entire group now has the same COS date. Not logical PC. Not logical at all. Oh well... all k3s (unless they choose to extend) will be out of Cambodia on July 12th. At least that eliminates one decision I have to make about my life in the near future!

Friday, January 21, 2011


The latest bit of big news is that my close of service date was moved up a month. This means that all volunteers in my group (unless they file to extend) will be out of Cambodia by July 12th. While this does not actually make that big of a difference since I was planning to try and leave in July anyway, it did trigger a little bit of a freak out.

I think we are all kind of in Limbo mode. Many of the volunteers (myself included) who have applied to graduate school have not heard back yet. For everyone else, it is still a bit early start looking for jobs back home. Having one month less to figure it out puts the pressure on a bit. I think I will feel better about it, either way, once I know about grad school. The not knowing is the hardest thing. When you have a vague idea of what’s coming you can start trying to wrap your mind around it. At the moment I don’t know whether to be wrapping my mind around a visit to the states before I am of again to re-enter the academic world…or looking for a job, and deciding what academic pursuits are next.

I feel like the start of my time here dragged and once I got settled in and learned to love this place it all flew by, now I don’t feel ready to leave.

On another note I am working with a number of other volunteers on a series of projects over the next few months that I’m very excited about. Plans are in the works for a women’s day event in March focusing on women’s independence, balancing work and family, and women’s health. Later in March there are plans to do a community service project for Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary, and in April I am planning a workshop with a friend in my provincial town on violence and consent for my 12th grade students.

Next week I am off to Malaysia!