Thursday, March 19, 2009

Adventures of a Peep

Once upon a time, packed snugly in a box, a group of peeps traveled from Idaho to Cambodia. It was a long journey across the Pacific Ocean to get to Phnom Penh.

After they arrived, most of the peeps were content to sit in the box, waiting to be devoured. But one little peep was curious. It wanted to see Cambodia. So it hoped out of the box and ventured into the LWF office.
The little peep quickly made friends around the office. Vutha held it...

Panha gave it a kiss....

and Borin gave it a ride on his moto.

After hanging out in the office, the peep ventured outside. It took a tuk tuk to the market...

And got some lunch.

The peep returned to the office and contemplated its future. Go back to the US and face massive falls in candy sales as economic crisis deepens, be eaten by a sugar-loving communications consultant or run away and melt in the Cambodia heat. Poor peep.

Fortunately, the peep happened to have amazing computer skills. So it put them to use and started work on projects for LWF Cambodia!

And so the peep lived happily ever after in the LWF office with its new friends (including Sokny).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

InDesign makes my world go round

I am a design nerd. I love fonts (except for Comic Sans, which is evil). I have a habit of pointed out which ones are used in billboards, programs and movie trailers. Adobe InDesign and I have a long term relationship. In the last year, I have spent more time with this program than with my family.

At last, all that nerdiness has been put to good use. Presenting the baby of the Communications Unit, conceived by many hours with InDesign, several weeks of visiting the countryside and a lot of editing. The LWF Cambodia 2008 Annual Report. Ta dah!

Check out the full report at

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

If you wanna be my songsa

So for the past three and a half weeks, I was blessed to have Nathan visiting me here in Cambodia (thus my absence from communications with friends, family, etc.) It was so amazing to have him here with me, to walk to the Russian Market with him, hear him give a tuk tuk driver directions in Khmer (after a few lessons) and just spend time together.

Last night he boarded a plane for Seoul and as I type this he is probably curled up on a bench at in that spaceship of an airport. Though I felt ridiculously sad at times yesterday, today I feel grateful for his visit and hopeful that we will see each other again back in the US in July (ticket prices willing). Because I am a fan of list, here are the highlights of Nathan’s visit.

Fish massage: Oh yeah, it’s weird. You put your feet in a pool of little fish and watch as they form a sock of wriggling tails and fins in a mad dash to eat the dead skin off your feet. Nathan tried this out at the night market in Siem Reap and then requested I join him for another round the next night. For a person with ticklish feet, the first 5 minutes of this are torture. We grimaces and squealed like preteen girls at a Hannah Montana concert as the little mouths nibbled away.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat on Valentine’s Day.

Eating: All day, every day. Phat Thai on Ko San Road in Bangkok, a wedding feast in Phnom Penh and a giant meal with my lovely coworker Vannary and her family on a river boat cruise. Also, I must not forget to include the massive Costco bag of candy and the giant jar of Jelly Bellys brought by Nathan I am rapidly devouring.

Ko Chang: An laid back little island of the coast of Thailand where we stayed in a 1970s looking mini cabin on the beach and snorkeled with the puffer fish.

Wedding picture: Now we did not get married. But for our third anniversary, I “treated” Nathan to a Khmer style photo session. For him, it entailed white pants, purple shirt, a Titanic style "Heart of the Ocean" necklace and a touch of pink, shimmery lip gloss. Unfortunately for me it was 45 minutes of intense make-up application (complete with little pieces of plastic tape to make my eye creases bigger), hair styling and general bedazzlement. The result is the hilarious picture above.

Of course the trip wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Protesters in Thailand made for a tricky ride to the airport, we got “lost” among the Bangkok’s mega-malls, I lost it a few times in negotiations with tuk tuks and the heat and sickness paralyzed Nathan on several occasions. But nothing stopped the visit from being wonderful and inspiring. I am left remember lines of the poem that has become our relationship anthem since I accepted this position in Cambodia.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Songsa is Khmer for boyfriend