Sunday, July 10, 2016


Choosing to write words
about a language transcending experience
may be an arrogant move

When I walked into the yard,
The Khmer woman grabbed her pink hat
ready to go out or to stay in
Granddaughter reaching up for a spiky fruit
Trio of pigtails dancing
Daughter crouches deferentially
but grins when I meet her eye
A rambutan falls but no one sprints to pick it up
Only the cow noticed, which surprises me
She seemed like the oblivious type
at least, she had only batted one large eyelash
when I intruded into their world for a few minutes.
No one else said anything at all-
except as I left,
I bowed with an earnest "Thank you"
it was not enough for what they gave me

I've always had an image of silk road traders
meeting on the road
gathering piles of goods
and then turning around
ricocheting back
but I'd never thought about what they said
the culture exchange
Maybe just pointing
Or maybe a thank you

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pepper in Kep

Note: Kind of back logging here- if you want to read first draft stream of conscious thoughts, read onward!
 Still pretty much at a loss for words about Cambodia. New favorite part of my trip (besides my awesome internship): a butterfly farm in Kep. This weekend, all 6 of us interns took Friday off and left early in the morning to go to this beach town called Kep. It’s famous for crab and pepper, so we ate a lot of that. It was a 3.5 hour ride to Kep where we went to our hotel- another little beach resort run by a Frenchman named Olivier. It was on the hill right above the water and right next to the market. 
We took that day and watched crab being caught, ate lunch in a restaurant built over the ocean, went to the beach (the water is warm like Hawaii, but it doesn’t get deep unless you go out really far), I read my book on the beach, we got homemade cookie butter ice cream at a little shop, talked to locals,  explored this monkey palace.

 In the evening, we went to the market and I ate BBQ fresh squid. 
Then we went to sleep early (kind of: I still had to prepare my YW lesson for today.) so that we could get up at 5 to go hiking. We were staying right by the national park with this gorgeous trail. Every turn had an amazing view, and the path was really well maintained. We kept running into silkworms and flowers and little waterfalls. Near the middle, there’s another little path that leads into the valley. It downpoured for 5 minutes while we were coming down the slope, but then it was perfect weather for our butterfly farm trip. Seriously the coolest thing. We walked into an enclosure and were surrounded by butterflies of all different kinds. I think my favorite was one that sort of looked like a monarch, but it was blue instead of orange. I could have stayed all day. 

After that, we hiked down, got some popsicles and a tuktuk ride back by 9:00 am for a great breakfast of omelets and pineapple juice. During that, it started pouring rain and it didn’t let up. So our island-going plans weren’t going to happen. Instead, we worked out something with two taxi drivers to take us back to Phnom Penh, but on the way we got to stop at a pepper farm to watch the whole process of growing red, white and black pepper. Did you know that pepper makes you sneeze because of a preservative in it, not because of pepper? So organic pepper doesn't make you sneeze. We also stopped at this super cool cave that’s a shrine to Buddha with all these awesome spelunking locations. We had 20 kids showing us around with their flashlights and memorized English phrases. The cave is the mouth of the dragon.

Sunday, we started early. Katie and I got invited to the school ending performance of our host family’s kids for Harrod’s international academy. They did an awesome coconut dance. We left and got to church with plenty of time to talk to everyone. I love this branch already. Super cool people from Nigeria and Japan and the Philippines and here in Cambodia and the US and France. Testimonies were so cool with people from every single walk of life. Teaching YW was also amazing- there were 3 girls: Hillary from Phnom Penh and her best friend Sprite who’s not a member and then 13 year old Henrietta from Nigeria. Katie joined us and all 5 of us just talked about baptismal covenants and how we can follow Christ more fully. It was a really enlightening and awesome kind of learning together. 

More to come.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

I'm in Cambodia

For ten days, I've been in Cambodia. I'm working as an intern for the Malaria Consortium on malaria and dengue related projects. Katie and I live in a beautiful home with a member family, next door to an apartment with the other BYU interns who are all working at different public health internships. I ride my bike to work everyday- definitely wearing a helmet. We use a combination of American money and Cambodian riel. Those are the facts as they stand, but they don't really communicate that this experience is so cool!
I'm going to take the "1000 word" approach for now, but more reflective pieces are definitely coming.
We found art on our morning walk.

It's the BYU tuktuk!

Of course, I dragged everyone to the bookstore.

Cambodia FHE

 This is my new favorite picture. In the Ministry of health. With the construction. And the giant Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
Our host family took us to give out backpacks at a village school.

 I was way too excited to be out in the provinces and living like I lived in the Philippines.


I was trying to come up with truly descriptive adjectives for these last two weeks, and I'm a little bit at a loss. English has all of these positive adjectives that all mean about the same thing. Bisaya's nice because you get one or two words and then you just use it frequently. Nindot, chada, yep.
It feels big, great, grand, special, all of the above.