Friday, March 05, 2010

We're here!

We made it! We've been in Cambodia for 3+ days now and we're having such a wonderful time. The time in Malaysia was good but it was a LONG way from the airport to our accommodation. You live and you learn! We did have a nice morning though and we weren't at all rushed because we had a noon checkout. Had a lovely breakfast in the Hotel - went for a walk around the shopping centre locally (unbelievable oppulance!) and then Eb and I chilled at the Hotel while Gra went and did more browsing! We then had lunch at the Hotel and then headed out to the airport. Decided to catch a taxi this time rather than a taxi then the bus. It was so much easier and it actually would have missed the flight if we had taken that option!
Flight wasn't brilliant for me - but I survived! (not a good plane traveler these days - I think I've watched too many 'Flight crash investigators'!
It was so wonderful to see Paul, Katrina, Elijah, Jo and Autumn as we walked through the doors - we were a bit hot and Eb had had a bit of a melt down - but really it was such a great feeling. None of them have changed much at all really. The children have grown a bit but realistically they are just the same - beautiful inside and out!
It didn't take long at all before Eb was firing on all cylinders and it's stayed that way pretty much since we got here!
She did have a rough start to the first night. She was overtired and I got her off to sleep very quickly. Because the air conditioners are actually in the rooms I had to close the door so it stayed cool - and I never expected her to wake up....but she did and I didn't realise. Paul heard her crying when he walked past her room and I walked in to find her bed empty and her no where to be found. I panicked for just a moment then called her name and she had, somehow in the darkness, made her way under Jo's desk and began whimpering when I called her name. She was separated from 'snugly' too which wouldn't have helped. It all ended up in a sleep terror - but I was able to settle her fairly quickly. Poor little thing - so much has happened in the last couple of days!
Anyway - our first day was fairly quiet. We wake very early because it's so hot and the family has to be up and ready for school early anyway. We went out for a 'smoothie' mid morning and then had a lovely lunch at a very westernized place. Checked out one of the local markets - but it's so hot it's almost unbearable in the markets. The smells are - as is expected - to be experienced to be believed! All I bought was a couple of DVD's for Eb .... and Dexter Season 4!

We had a quiet night at home - a very yummy dinner - and then to bed early.

Thursday was another story! Eb woke at 4.20am ready for the day. I managed to keep her in our room until the children hit the floor at 6am and then I was presented with my birthday present by Kat and the children - a beautiful necklace made from hand-blown french glass and a gorgeous mirror for my handbag!...not to mention the sweet cards I got from the Gliddon's, Eb and my darling husband!

Paul and Kat took the children to school and then we went out for a while for Kat and Paul to meet with some people and then I was whisked away to 'Yumi' Japanese restaurant for lunch. It was absolutely delicious and a real oasis amongst the hustle bustle of Phnom Phen. We then went and booked our tickets for Siem Reap - yet another experience! and then picked the children up from school before we headed to the next treat.....a gorgeous cake shop called 'Blooms'. It has only been open for 4 weeks and is run by a Brisbane woman and her family. Ruth is a trained cake decorator and she takes the female sex-workers off the streets and teaches them how to decorate cakes. The do an awesome job and Ruth says that she only teaches the trade - what the girls do from there blows her mind too. The colours of the cakes are exceptional (click on the link above where I've typed blooms) - not to mention the designs and the shop itself. What a double win to be providing employment for these precious girls and teaching them a trade at the same time! It was a really unique experience and I love it!

I must mention the school. It's an international Christian school and there are children from families all over the world. Families that are giving of themselves to the people of Phnom Phen. Another surreal and very humbling experience to observe.

We then headed home and had a lovely night before heading off for another early night (still adjusting to the time difference!)!

This morning I got up (thankfully we all woke about 6am today!) and observed breakfast in the Gliddon household! took a few photo's and just enjoyed watching the children (grumpy Friday today!). It is getting hotter each day at moment and, if I think about it too deeply, I almost feel claustrophobic!, but I just don't 'indulge' myself and I've coped so much better than I EVER expected. I haven't even experienced the exhaustion that normally comes with humidity! amazing!

There is so much to tell about this amazing country - so much for us to learn. So much I could do to help Paul and Kat - so many lives so desperately effected by the history of this country. So much poverty - so much population - so many to help. Also, so many wonderful ex-pats from all over the world giving away their lives as they knew it to come here and help out. I know I won't come back home the same. It seems wrong to live the life we live when there are people living in such great need.

I have to take my hat off to people like Paul, Katrina and the children who have walked away from their comfortable lives to extend a helping hand. And it's not at all easy to extend that hand. Just learning the language and 'finding your way' in a foreign country like this is an amazing work through the mire of bureaucracy to make the dream of actually doing something helpful is all together a different story.

Well-more to come. If you manage to see photo's then I've had success downloading. If you don't I'll just keep trying.

On our way at Melbourne Airport's like they've never really been apart

Eb and Jo into the DS together.....

Katrina in the kitchen

Autumn and Eb singing Happy Birthday to me!


Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Happy Birthday young chook :)
Hope you have a great time... have a great time...
Flights are booked - woo hooo...
hugs to ya...

San said...

First of all; HAPPY Birthday Jen (better late than never)!!!
I discovered just today what a wonderfull trip you are experiencing!
Not ready yet reading all the stories, but I am already overwhelmed! The part on the orphanage... makes us humble...
Have a nice stay in Cambodia!
Big kiss from San