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Holiday Edition, Get Some

Hello All,

Just wanted to give everyone the bi-weekly update. I have had a rough few weeks since the last update, and in reality a rough last month, but I will get into that later. I have been quite busy recently with things going on in my life here in Cambodia.

Two weeks ago, I started a club at school with one of the best people in the entire country, my coworker Siphen. The club is a Bright Future Club, and to begin with we had over 250 students want to be a part of it. I am sure as the days go on, the club will (hopefully) whittle itself down to a more manageable number like 50 or so. Many of the students want to be in the club just to learn English through osmosis from me, and I do not really envision that happening, so that will be why some of them drop out. The rest will just decide not to show up, possibly. Well shall see. The first activity I had them do was submit designs for a club t-shirt… one of the shirts won in a landslide and i think it has some outside support, but that is not my job to find out. For now, we are working on ways for each of the students to figure out a way to fundraise so that they can purchase the shirts, because obviously I dont have the money to do so for all of them and I never will.

I finally made the cuts for my basketball team. I think doing so was harder for me than it was the students, as I dont even know most of their names, I just had to point for the boys and say yes or no. That was made even worse because the boys that made it were getting shoes minutes later and the ones who didnt had to sit there and watch. Difficult. Anyway, a second rim broke at the school, this time it was not as a result of me attempting to dunk, thankfully. Sometime in the future the students should be getting uniforms and water provided for them on a daily basis.

Lastly, this coworker of mine whos name is Siphen (Sih-pen), also runs a bed and breakfast type of place from her house close to my own home. Here is the website for the operation. There are pictures on there of them with the K1 volunteer, of the first person to be a Peace Corps volunteer in the area. She is also in charge of managing the Cambodian side of the Books for Cambodia trust (a New Zealand group), and helps to pick and distribute these books for six school libraries in the nearby vicinity. The past few weeks there have been quite a few groups to come visit, and one of them was a group of grad students from the University of Chicago. It was nice to speak to them and I also arrange from them to be taken around to visit my fellow volunteers nearby, so that they could all get a slice of our lives, and for us its nice because its hard for us to appreciate the daily things that we take as the norm now. I actually am just getting back from a trip to Phnom Penh to purchase more of the books for the libraries that are supported by the trust. I am not technically allowed to travel there yet, but I did anyway, and actually got caught… haha, but it was no big deal and i dont think it will be reported as i was on a “business trip”. I am planning on meeting up back there again with the other volunteers the next two weekends, and it was a well needed break from the monotony.

Anyway, on to the more personal, and probably depressing part of my story. After a rough final month of being apart, Lauren and I are no longer a couple. I knew it was going to be extremely tough for us to get through this together and I was staying as optimistic as possible, but it just wound just being too tough on us to continue. I wish her the best and I really believed she was the woman for me and the one that I would wind up marrying, but toss in a two year trip apart and you never know how things will turn out in general, plus the timing in her own life was not really right and at times I would feel guilty that I could take such crucial maturing years from here and sacrifice them on some clown in some other country. I really wish things would have wound up differently between us, especially at the end, but I am also working on letting go and letting things in my life run their own course. Dealing with a break up is never tough at home, but being in a country that does not understand the dating occurences of american culture, yet here I am, a very tough thing to communicate as well with my level of language mastery. Ultimately this ending was not what I wanted, but things in life happen for a reason, and this is just another one of those things, but I am going to do my best to come out of that relationship and this experience in my life a better man, and thats all I can do. I am in the midst of a once in a lifetime experience, and I already know that I am currently making a lot friends for life, both Cambodian and fellow volunteers, and I am just going to do my best to embrace my life here and adapt yet again to what lies ahead, even though it will be tougher.

As usual, I hope everyone is well and I will be thinking of you all as the holidays approach. I miss you very much and I am glad that you are all my friends and family, you help me get through the hard times! gracias!

PS. I added a pic to my facebook catalogue, the most recent one of myself, wearing a traditional kruma.

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