Thursday, 27 December 2012

See You In The New Year!

***Excited to spend more time with this guy!***

Hoping that you all are having a wonderful holiday season, dear readers! As for me, I'm off to do a little holiday-ing of my own before life ramps up again in January.

See you in the New Year!

xx Lady Expatriate

Monday, 24 December 2012

Loveliest Links ~ December 24th Edition

It's not exactly beginning to feel anything like Christmas, but kudos to Cambo for giving The Look a solid go. So intriguing that the Christmas decorations here are Caucasian Santa in his fleecy suit, richly decorated pine trees, and cutout paper snowflakes, despite those things having all of nothing to do with local daily life. I'd really love to know more about the evolution of Christmas in Cambo, and how it came to be so exactly copied from Western traditions.

In any case, I shan't complain too much, because here I find myself with mornings off, holiday style, for the next week or so. Poor Partner In Crime only gets a reprieve from his dress shirts and attendance sheets on Christmas Day and New Years Day. Luckily he's being a sweetheart about it all, and not (openly) resenting me too much. I think he knows that my relaxed-as schedule means I'll be a bit sweeter and less of a stressed grouch, so perhaps he's just delighted about that.

So yes, happy Christmas Eve! PIC and I have been saving up for awhile and are stoked about plans for a group Christmas brunch at the fancypants Himiwari Hotel here in town. A brunch with a freeflow of beer, if I remember correctly. I.e. the best kind of brunch, in PIC's opinion. How are you going to celebrate? Please do let me know in the comments!

And onto those promised links! Think of them as an early Christmas present?


<3 Did not know that Azerbaijan looked this modern.

<3 Even though it's hard to find some of these foods here, I definitely still appreciate this list of '98 Cheap and Easy Foods To Make for Under 5 Bucks'

<3 Lou's post about the little ones she teaches in Korea made me remember how much I loved getting my five and six year olds bundled up to head out into the winter weather. There's something so nurturing about helping a little one sort out inside-out coat sleeves and assisting in getting the second mitten on them (pretty difficult when one tiny hand is already mittened!) and wrapping scarves all about their baby necks.Totally amusing how much they would always laugh at things like pulling their hat down over their eyes... seriously every time!

<3 I psyche myself out way too easily. New mantra: progress, not perfection.

<3 Photo essay of mindbendingly massive corsages for homecomings in Texas. Love the ethnography-esque writeups for each photo.

<3 Spunkygirl Monologues has some great tips for tackling the exciting but daunting task of planning your dream trip

<3 Farsickness has done a really informative series of posts about what to expect when working in Korea. "What It's Like to Work At a Hagwon" should be required reading for anyone heading to the ROK.

<3 Manic Pixie Prostitute

<3 No way! Apparently the crazy deserted island from the latest James Bond movie is a real place! 

<3 The first time I watched Girls, I was sitting between PIC and my Mom. The first episode wouldn't work on the Rogers On Demand menu, so we started in on the second episode... which begins with an rather graphic minute-long sex scene . Somehow, I was able to overcome that initial trauma and love the series (despite its many problems). Second season trailer is out, eff ya!

<3 What it's like to be gay in South Korea - one foreigner's perspective.


Happy Holidays, dear readers! 

xx (a very merry) Lady Expatriate

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Wayback Snap: Celebrating My 4th Expat Anniversary

Lovely readers, this time four years ago, I had just landed in Korea, plunging myself into a life I had no idea how to prepare for. Fresh out of uni and having previously only made my way around the US and England, I didn't know what to expect, except to expect that I would have to figure it all out as I went along.

Luckily, I had a Partner In Crime waiting in this faraway land. PIC had gone over a few months earlier, while I impatiently waited in Canada to deal with some visa issues. My arrival in Korea marked the first time we'd really lived together, and only the third month that we'd ever even lived on the same continent.

This pic was snapped in the area around Konguk University in Seoul on the very first night that I arrived. Looking back, I know that I was overwhelmed, but I love that all that comes through in this photo is pure glee. And really, a little bit of disbelief that this was actually real: that I was really standing in this country that was not Canada and where most people did not speak English, and that I finally got to be with this amazing guy I'd been tracking long-distance for the previous year. As you can see, I'm not too keen to let go of him!

So it's my four year expat anniversary, and my to my parents' non-delight, I've no plans to make it my last anniversary of living abroad. I'm loving the expat life more with every day - loving how navigating everyday errands requires so much more brain exertion than it would at home, loving how I'm learning so much about another part of the world, loving how I'm learning how much I just don't know about the world. Everyday can't help but bring something new. It's addicting.

Grrrl Traveler just posted an excellent piece explaining why she can't hang up her travel shoes, and I couldn't agree with her reasons more. I've had so much fun living my little expat life so far, and I love having this photo that captures so much emotion from the very first night I lived away from Canada.

Do you remember your first night as an expat? Would love if you'd share a story or two in the comments!

xx Lady Expatriate 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Scars of Cambodia: Photo Exhibition Launch and Film Screening Today!

Lovely Readers, I am so excited about this. I was gutted when I wasn't able to see even a single screening of the new 30 minute silent film "Scars of Cambodia" at the Cambodia International Film Festival. Today, at 5:30, I'll get my chance to finally see the film, directed by Alexandre Liebert, as well as check out the photo exhibition by Emilie Arfeuil.

I was lucky enough to get to chat with Emilie and Alexandre back in November for the December issue of What's Up Phnom Penh, and by the time we were finished chatting, I felt like I could have written a four page article, instead of the 2400 characters I was given.

I missed out on writing about things like Emilie's lightpainting technique, which we get to see a bit of in this trailer. For this technique, Emilie and Tut, the subject of the film, would wait until night fell outside Kampot and begin the very intimate process of "painting" certain areas of Tut's body with light as he sat very still.

During the interview, I was entranced by the way Emilie described it as something of a ritual for the two of them during the time she spent living in Tut's village and filming him, and the way that she said that nothing else existed in those moments. I can't wait to see more of it in the film, as well as in her photo exhibition, and see how her lightpainting adds more to Tut's storytelling.

Here's the original article that I wrote for the December issue of WUPP to explain more about the content and such.


Scars of Cambodia
A Story With No Words

If someone approached you in the street because you resembled their lost sister, would you stop and try to communicate with them? Would you later return to their village and devote the next stage of your life to bearing witness to their story?

Photographer Emilie Arfeuil opted to stop. After her chance meeting with a 52 year old fisherman named Tut on the streets of his small village outside Kampot, she returned with Alexandre Liebert, a friend and director, and watched as Tut began to tell his personal story about the Khmer Rouge. The French duo provides a stage for Tut to share his experience in their work ‘Scars of Cambodia’ – a multimedia project comprised of a body of photographs, a thirty minute film, and an upcoming web documentary.

Emilie and Alexandre found a unique skill in Tut’s ability to explain his story in great detail without ever relying upon words. Instead, an original cello score is the background as the full story of the trauma this man deals with becomes clear through his gestures, glances, habits, and, most hauntingly, the scars he bears and the tools he uses to mimic the actions of his torturers.

Throughout the two months of filming, Emilie and Alexandre formed an intense and intimate relationship with Tut, even living with him in his home. Amazingly, it was a relationship that did not involve a translator. As they explained, a translator was brought in only two or three times during the entire process, mainly to ensure that what had been interpreted was correct and to explain to Tut the next steps of the project. In the end, Emilie and Alexandre said the translator couldn’t really tell them anything that Tut hadn’t communicated while silent.

Both photographer and director have agreed that, symbolically, the debut of their work must take place in Cambodia, and are ecstatic that ‘Scars of Cambodia’ will begin its international tour here. From their telling, however, the most important of the film’s screenings will be that done by Tut, alone.

If he agrees after seeing his story reflected back on the screen, Emilie and Alexandre will rig up a sheet and a projector in a field outside his village. His community will be invited to this outdoor screening so that Tut might share his story with those whom he’s been living closest for the very first time.

The film portion of 'Scars of Cambodia' debuts at the Cambodia International Film Festival in December before opening at Bophana Center on December 22 until January 5, with additional screenings of the film on December 27 and January 3.


See you today at 5:30 at the Bophana Center (No. 64, Street 200).
Congrats and good luck to Emilie and Alexandre!

xx Lady Expatriate 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Aw Shucks - Thanks Guys!

Well gosh. You guys rock. Thank you so much for the beautiful votes.

Not gonna lie, there's no need to lie: I'm pretty excited about this little award. But I was even more excited to read all of the lovely comments that you wrote about the blog, dear readers. Makes me rather giddy when I hear that this little blog has helped people and even inspired people to travel.

Hugs and high-fives to Arjun, Amanda, Ned, Cassandra, Jenna, Carmen, Richard, Katy, Robin, Christine, K-do, Lu, Whit, Meesh, Karen and Bursey. You guys made me grin like a silly, silly kid. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review. An extra high five to Expats Blog for thinking me worthy of a nomination in the first place. And thanks to my hair dresser and my stylist and... blahblahblah. But seriously, thanks guys.

Congrats to Inside Cambodia, LTO Cambodia, and Cambodinuks, too, who received silver, bronze, and honourable mention, respectively. Three cheers for the Cambo blogging community! :)

In other news, internet issues continue to abound, but I'm determined to get some good stuff up here soon. Reckon I should probably earn some of the praise I received just now?!

For the moment, I fear a [borrowed, kinda without permission] wifi hookup outage is imminent, and thus I say cheers, lovelies - hope your Friday is a breeze! As for me, just one more morning of wrangling three and four year olds 'til I've got a bit of a vacay, perfectly suited to catching my breath and sorting my life out. Excited!

xx (a very grateful) Lady Expatriate

Monday, 17 December 2012

Last Chance For Expats Blog Comments... Pretty Please!?

Hiya Dear Readers!

Hope you Monday swam / is swimming along! Just a quick note to mention that the Expats Blog award is decided *tomorrow*, so it's the last few hours to vote. You vote by leaving a comment, and even one line would be fantastic!

If you've gotten a kick out of my little blog at all, or if I've been
able to help you with anything, I'd really appreciate if you could leave a few words. It would mean so very much to me. :)

Thank you so much to those lovelies who have already left a kind thought... you make me blush and smile!

Sans further ado, here's the comment page
Kind of loving these stomach-butterflies... it's so exciting to be nervous about something so delightful! 

xx Lady Expatriate

Sunday, 16 December 2012

A Flood Because I Am Sometimes Not Smart

I took neither this photo, nor the one of the flood. It's just not who I am, okay!?

So, Friday was exciting.

I came home from my afternoon tutoring session to find three inches of water covering the floor of my apartment, with another four inches covering out slightly sunken balcony, with the overloaded balcony drains pissing pipefuls out onto the street.

And no, I don't have a picture, because unlike the smartypants who snapped the photo above, I opted not to pause amidst my plight and grab an instagram/meme friendly pic. Which is why I will never amount to anything in this day and age. I digress.

Modem = was on the floor. Computer power cords = were on the floor. Luckily, oh-thank-gods style, Partner In Crime had his comp safely stowed in his hip-as backpack (LL Bean, embroidered with his initials, present from his Mommy), while mine sat stranded on the coffee table, watching the waters rise up to meet it.

The solution was to grab the girls from downstairs and 'som' them into coming up to figure out what the foreigner meant by 'dak dak dak' and frantically waving arms. Two hours of swooshing the traitorous gallons of this life saving essential out onto the balcony followed, and then much remnant-mopping. And THEN the most frightening bit at all: plugging electronic pieces in one by one and looking for the tellatale charging symbol or blue light. The final count: mostly all good, including PIC's computer charging cord, though it was a latecomer to the 'lighting up' circle, leaving our wifi modem as the only unrecoverable piece of plastic technology.

Which could obviously have been so much worse, but still sucks.

The Moral (because obviously this piece needs one):
If you come home between jobs for a pb+j, and go to wash your hands only to find no water gushing out the tap, ensure that you don't haphazardly wiggle the tap handle in an attempt to encourage the water. That will do nothing because the water is likely turned off on your entire street. Because Phnom Penh. And it will greatly increase the chances of you leaving the tap in the 'on' position and being none the wiser. Which really sucks when the water turns on again in what I assume were the moments immediately following my exit. Heed the message of this here moral, dear readers: this is my plea.

Anyway, if it seems like I've been distant and cold, please don't take it personally. It's not you, lovelies, it's me and my idiotic ways and waterlogged internet access. I'll sort it out and see you soon.

xx Lady Expatriate

Thursday, 13 December 2012

WUPP Articles - December Issue

Holy eye-catchng cover, batman! First off, congrats to the ever glamorous Laura Joy Kiddle for voguing it so spectacularly on the cover. Stunning. Obviously hats off to the unarguably talented Nick Sells for snapping the pic, too.

Honestly, I'm pretty proud to be part of this mag - it just keeps getting better and better with each issue. I was so stoked to find that the December issue contains even more editorial content than the last, and with January looking even more promising again. It's a good little mag, I'm tellin' ya.

As for my involvement...
As always, I did my "Your Day" column, and I have to say: "Three Days Before Payday" was certainly an inspired theme. Monthly pay packets plus daily temptations, not to even mention throwing a few mad weekends into the mix... it's an equation that's sure to leave even those best at budgeting in a bit of a tight spot. I've - personally! - researched some ideas for when you find yourself skint but still keen to enjoy a gorgeous day in the city.
Check it out!  Your Three Days Before Payday


Scars of Cambodia
My second article was a two-pager (wowee! there's only a couple of those per issue!) and yet I still couldn't get all of my thoughts into the article after talking to the amazing director and photographer of the Scars of Cambodia film and photo exhibition.
The three of us met up for an interview at Brown's and sat talking for over an hour. It was fascinating to hear about how they came to be creating this film and photo exhibition, to ask about their techniques, and to get the personal side of the project creation story from their mouths directly. I could tell they have put their hearts and souls into this project... not to mention their sweat! (Seriously. Cambo = hot.)
I was gutted when I couldn't make it to any of the film screenings at CIFF, but I'm already excited about the launch photo exhibition plus a screening of the film on December 22nd. I'm sure that CIFF will be the first of may international film festivals for this duo, and I can't wait to see what the web-documentary, their next step, will be like.

Ta da.

If you're keen to know more about the social/cultural side of Phnom Penh, my expert advice would be to click around the site for a bunch more brilliant articles, including some written by a favorite person of this blog, Ms. Anna Mischke.

Hope you got a kick out of this slightly self-promoting post, and please do say hello if you're also going to check out the Scars of Cambodia opening on the 22nd!

xx Lady Expatriate

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Review of White Lotus Spa and Other Ramblings

A mostly entirely unrelated picture, but a pretty one, non?!

"Wait," you're saying. "This does not appear to be the promised recap of the half marathonamaphone of last weekend. What on earth is all of this procrastination about, Ms. Expat?"

To which I apologize, prostrated before you, dear readers, and try to communicate just how much of a sleeping-teaching zombie I was this week, and how I am only now returning to the world of the non-walking-wounded. Holy crap 21 Kms can really take it out of one [when one is acutely underprepared].

So yesterday I got a massage. As you do? I think that's what people do in such situations. It's a good idea, anyway. People should. 

White Lotus Spa on the corner of 57 and 334 was the lucky place I found myself outside on my walk home from coffee+computer-stuff at Le Jardin. I chose the Khmer Body Massage after the lovely receptionist singled it out following my deeeeeeep air massage hand motions.

Fair enough: ended up being $7 for 60 minutes of stretching me, pulling me, pushing me... basically my lithe-looking masseuse imposed an entire yoga routine on my body whilst I laid limp and allowed myself to be manipulated. And baby, being manipulated has never felt so good. (Author's note: none of this is meant to be sexy-sounding, really!)

My muscles had their first good stretch since the moments between when I gave a poor sweaty post-race effort and I got stuffed into a bus seat with our luggage for the 7 hour trip back to The Penh last Sunday. My only regret was that it had taken me this long to hop onto that cushy bed on the floor and have my woes massaged away.

Upsides of White Lotus
  • Seriously, my masseuse rocked. She looked tiny, but she could really put some force into the stretches and such. Rockstar. 
  • Seven dollars felt bargain for such a great massage without wandering outside the BKK1 neighborhood. 
  • Walk-ins = seemed to be no problem. 
  • I'm always a sucker for a place that offers you hot tea upon entering.

A Downside
  • The room that I was in had three beds on the floor, all separated by luxurious looking curtains. When my massage began, it was just me, but later on a couple came in and started sorting their lives out verbally from beyond the curtain whilst getting their rubdown. For that reason, and, because of the saxophone and flute-heavy muzak that was pumped in and seemed to play "Puppy Love" on repeat, I was awfully glad I had my iPod around. A must. 
And there you have it. White Lotus Spa gets a thumbs up, muzak Paul Anka covers less so.

xx Lady Expatriate 

Friday, 7 December 2012

It's Going to Be a Real Good Night: Events in Phnom Penh

TGIF, lovely readers! 

Exhausted as I may be, I'm still going to be able to drum up the energy to make tonight a real good night. Can you believe there's four - FOUR - brilliant looking events for this one, singular evening? I call shenanigans, Phnom Penh!

  • Tis the first Friday of the month, is it not? I believe this calls for a What's Up Phnom Penh pool party! At the Eighty8 as always, and with a siiiick lineup of djs. Stoked.
  •  Debut screening at Phnom Penh's first open air cinema! The event post mentions lounging on pillows on the grass and watching Dirty Dancing at 7pm and Midnight In Paris at 9pm. Romantic like whoa. 
  •  Tarantino Night starts at 8pm at Le Bouchon. Obviously one must dress accordingly. And request a five dollar milkshake to accompany your glass of Marlborough Sauv Blanc.
  •  It's been far too long since I've danced my face (and hips!) off to The Cambodian Space Project... can't wait til they hit the stage at the FCC for their third birthday party!

Next Wednesday December 12 
  • Free tapas? Yes. I will be found at Le Jardin next Wednesday from 6 til 9. Because free tapas. 

Ongoing Awesomeness
  • I kind of want to skip school to go to The History of Things To Come Vintage Sale before the masses clear out all the best corsets and wiggle cocktail dresses. But I'm the teacher and I think that's rather frowned upon. It runs from December 6 - 11, though, so I still have a few chances. Save a 20's dress for me!
  • Obviously the film festival is on this here list! Seriously check out the program.
    Personally, I can't wait to see Scars of Cambodia. It was an amazing experience to interview Emilie and Alexandre, the photographer and director behind the project, for this month's issue of What's Up Phnom Penh. Cambopedia has a clear listing of its screening times. My article isn't on the WUPP website yet, but the mags are all over town, in case you want to read up on this incredible film. 
  • I'm really excited to check out Photo Phnom Penh. I haven't been to a major photo exhibition in a long time, and this one sounds grand. In fact, it bills itself as the biggest annual photography meetup in Southeast Asia. Yeehaw! It runs December 8 to 13. 

So what are YOU up to this weekend!?

xx Lady Expatriate

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Loveliest Links ~ December 6th Edition

Chand Baori (1)
Seems like a long way to go for green goo.
(Chaand Baori well in India. Built in the 9th C. 3500 steps)
Seriously check out the whole post for more mindblowing images.

The grind has surely been grinding this week, lovely readers. I don't know about you, but this has been the most exhausting week I can recall. I feel like it's a combo of ongoing recovery from the race, the pile-up of work at each of my teaching gigs, and not being used to having to work a full week without a holiday. 5 full days of work!? No festivals, no international summits? My brain can't even process that anymore! 

Not to worry, though: another holiday soon enough! Monday = Human Rights Day. Also known as catch up on missing sleep and improving half-baked lesson plans day. And maybe Boardwalk Empire marathon day. I'm excited for Monday already!
(Sidenote: I really do care about human rights, I do! And if you do, too, you can be all like "the change you want to see in the world" and write for human rights on Dec 10!)
Hopefully I'll have the race recap post up by then... gah. Though I've currently not got the energy to put together the epic post that I want that one to be, I've been missing the blogging-ness. What a perfect time to share a couple fancy-tickling links, don't you think?


<3 The Cambodia International Film Festival starts tomorrow! Runs til the 12th. Features a general assortment of brilliance and entertainment, if the program is to be believed. 

<3 I'm well aware that cultural sensitivity is a thing. But I'm also well aware that this news makes me incredibly happy.

<3 Things to do instead of spending money. Which is to say, things that my December schedule will be filled with.

<3 Swoon-worthy art. That almost lowers my self esteem? Seriously - who can compete with such beauty.

<3 Half marathons all over! Go check out how Katy's New Zealand 21Km jaunt went, and be sure to pass on some hearty congrats.

<3 This makeup post makes me want to learn how to play with pretty colors. And this one makes me want to go pluck my eyebrows.

<3 You guys. Have you read much of Ned Kelly's writing? Not only does he share a name with the most badass Aussie outlaw, but he also pens an effing really entertaining read. Think Heller, Vonnegut, Thompson, and Robbins - but set in this here Kingdom of Wonders. My favorite piece. 

Post of the week: 
<3 I've been meaning to do a post like this for awhile, but honestly they've just rocked it. The definitive post about the madness that Cambodians can, and regularly do, transport on their motos.

Hope your Friday is smooth-sailing aplenty!

xx Lady Expatriate

aka the girl who PIC found asleep, faceplanted on her teacher's guide, on the balcony circa 9pm last night)