Thursday, 16 August 2012

Triumph! 5 Phnom Penh Things that are +/- Mastered!

So here we have the slightly more optimistic follow-up to last week's "OH, the Flailing: 5 Cambo-living 'Works in Progress'" post, in which I humbly laid out just a few of the things about this city that still have me stumped. 

Humble time is over, friends! Get ready to bask in the brilliance that is my smartness about... uh... well anyway, here are some things. Carry on. 

Wooooo! Things That Have Been More/Less Mastered:

  1. Smiling
    This may only be my personal observation, but wow do people ever smile a lot here. While I understand that things aren't always as uncomplicated as they seem on the surface, I do so love getting a nice smile from most everyone I talk to, be they friend or stranger. It's been a big adjustment from Korea, where I felt (again - personal opinion!) that most people were too busy to smile, particularly to someone outside their social network. But I think I've gotten back into the swing of things, and I'm stoked to have an environment that welcomes face-stretching grins!

    One of my all-time favorite portraits: "Coal Seller" by the wonderful Christine Ka'aloa of Grrrl Traveler

  2. Crossing the Street
    Yessiree, this may be my proudest achievement of them all! As my sage-like amigo Jackson explained, "You don't stop moving, because that just throws everyone off. You just have to merge and adjust your speed and direction slightly to accommodate the traffic around you." This was certainly the biggest shock for the first week or so: just how little space each driver gives to others, as well as pedestrians. I remember 10 minute jaunts outside during the first week as being a real test of courage and concentration! Now I've just about got it, and have even started to come to love the sway of traffic here. Hey you, Mr Moto, let's dance!

  3. Fixing the Toilet
    Never in my life have I ever had so much contact with the inner workings of a toilet. 4 weeks previous, there's no way I could have listed even half the components that typically sit pretty in that porcelain tank. Now, just by judging by the noise our dear friend is making, I can suss out the problem and set 'er straight, lickety split. Holy personal pride, batman! You can call me Ms. Fix-It, or just Fixie if you're feeling cheeky.

    Previously my Nemesis. Now we're more like frenemies.

  4. Squashing Ants Sans Remorse
    As my darling Partner In Crime sees the situation, "Having a few ants around is just the price of doing business here." *Cough especially when he leaves his empty but still fruit-particle-smothered smoothie glass sitting on the table for a few hours end cough*. At first I tried bargaining - kind of like, "Ant, if you don't try to live in my house then I won't try to make myself kill you." Logical, right? Apparently not. Now those suckers get squashed as soon as they're spotted. No hesitation. Ruthless. But I still try to be sweet about it: fast and thorough, it's only humane. Seriously though ants, stay the eff away from my toothbrush. That's just gross. 

    I just went to go take a picture of some ants but... I'm winning!
    I can't even find any right now! Bwahahaahahaahaaaa take THAT ants.

    I'm sure that's the last I'll see of them... 

  5. Meeting Interesting People
    Would be fairly remiss if I failed to mention the astounding level of loveliness that abounds in the community that PIC and I have wandered into here. This part doesn't fall under the less-than-humble banner detailed above; rather, I'm just feeling pretty lucky to have met such a delightful crew who have already introduced me to so many neat things about the city, helped PIC and I sort our Cambodian lives out, and been ridiculously fun and interesting along the way. Such a cool group of expats... I love it. Shout-outs to Jackson, Kari, Gemma, Dene, Nick, Corie, Boyd, and a bunch of other cool kids I've so far had the pleasure to meet. Cheers, lovelies!

    With some gorgeous ladies at Color Vintage Clothing's One Year Anniversary Party.
    Cheers to photographer Kwanseok Lee for sharing this snap with me!

    Thus concludes this tire-pumper of a post. Happy Almost Weekend! xx Lady Expatriate