Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Teaching English and Learning Khmer

We made these gingerbread houses - all of the cookies were intact
after traveling 8,000 across the world. A fun easy activity if you are traveling
 at Christmas - I brought extra frosting to fix any damaged cookies.
First, let me begin with the correct pronunciation of the word Khmer - the word which is used to describe the people, language and culture of the people in Cambodia is pronounced (Coo my). The language has been very difficult for me to understand although my daughter Shannon has picked up some phrases and words and can now at least show respect to the people whose homeland we are being welcomed into. My nephew's Khmer is very good and he is well understood anywhere we go. It is always great to see a Cambodian's face when he begins to speak their language, and then Shannon throws in a phrase too...it really makes me proud to be in the company of such world citizens.

Christmas is not a holiday celebrated in Cambodia  although there are lights, Christmas trees and lots of Santa hats...we are a few of those "lots". People we run into are interested and in the two sessions of English Club we taught  there were many questions about Christmas..."Why do we give gifts?", "What is the relationship between Santa and Jesus?", The seventeen year old girls in the first class we taught wanted to know from me what kind of a husband I wanted for Shannon and they were very surprised to learn that although I had high hopes for someone to care for her, it didn't matter because it was her choice. That really surprised the girls since their marriages will all be arranged and they may or may not know their future husbands.

Christmas Eve Day began for us with a trip to a noodle shop for breakfast, a trip to the market to buy our lunch supplies, a bike ride to school where we sat in on two English classes - answering questions as they arose about us, to Les' home for the second of my two cooking classes, then biking back to school to teach two of the English Clubs that my nephew has organized. Our family loves to play games when we gather and I have in my suitcase three games: Nertz, cribbage and Settlers of Catan and we head back to the air-conditioned Golden House Hotel where we are calling home.

The Golden House will be reviewed in a future edition when I discuss all of the accommodations from this trip,  however, it is fairly clean and has air-conditioning - not bad for $15/night. They also have an elevator, but it was not working, so we got some great exercise walking up and down the four flights of stairs. After games, we head off to dinner and ice cream and call it a night...Santa is coming to Cambodia after all...enjoy the photos...from my table to yours...

Les's host Mom is riding on the back of the lead bike as we head off to breakfast.

Kathy, Shannon and Les' Host Mom who was willing to take this picture...
even though I learned later that it is not good to take photos of three people.

Kathy's breakfast - I added lots of sugar at Les' host Mom's suggestion.

Shannon's breakfast - she said it was delicious and did not add sugar.

Now this donut dipped in sugar then dunked in the thimble of coffee was divine.


Although it is early morning at the market - it is already steamy and hot.

It took a long time at the market because Les' host Mom introduced us to all
of her vendors, one gave her something for me to thank us for being there...
...and because I groaned in delight at the coffee in a bag the vendor had just made for me.

Everything is so freah.

I wish  had time to cook with these!

This device scrapes the coconut meat out of the coconut and shreds
it into finely shredded coconut meat for our curry. One coconut nets about 3-4 cups of  meat.

Coffee!
 
Settler's of Catan board all set up ready to play.

These girls are captivated by Shannon, who is their same age.

How far away is Minnesota????
The three Christmas trees outside of the White Elephant Restaurant


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