20 things I love about Cambodia


I’m still in the honeymoon phase of moving to a different country (that lasts around 5 months, then culture shock hits). I wanted to record just some of the things I love so that on days where negative feelings might set in, I can look back at this list.

  1. Travelling by tuk tuk. I really enjoy the cool air and getting to see everything around you.
  2. The dragonflies.
  3. The rain and the thunderstorms. And how refreshing it feels afterwards. Even walking in the flooded roads and being surprised at how warm the water is (I try to ignore the nagging thoughts about open cuts and how dirty the water is).
  4. The animals- there are chickens that wonder along the main roads and there is a very aloof cat that lives on our street. He refuses to move out of my way if he’s on the stairs and I have to climb over him. I also have a sparrow nest in the ventilation space in my bathroom.
  5. The hilarious sights- like a motorbike drawn cart with thousands of packets of toilet rolls stacked precariously on top. Or when they transport really long metal rods (about 5m), they just stick wheels at the end and pull them along on the back of a motorbike.
  6. The children that shout “Heylo” at you and wave. Then they get embarrassed when you reply.
  7. Finding unusual foods or products in supermarkets. Every time I go shopping I seem to find something interesting.
  8. The friendliness and gentleness of the Khmer.
  9. The endless patience of the café waiters and tuk tuk drivers who humour my attempts at Khmer.
  10. The smiles of the Khmer people.
  11. The endearing chaos that seems to work (most of them time).
  12. Their punctuality- tuk tuk drivers and delivery men are usually early or exactly on time.
  13. The countryside, which is beautiful.
  14. The colourful, vibrancy of Cambodia- from the gold paintwork everywhere, the saffron robes of the monks, the fabrics for sale in the market.
  15. The variety of fruits and foods to try.
  16. The craziness of the roads. On some days when the circus in my brain is too much, a quick walk stops that. You can’t concentrate on anything but not being run over.
  17. The Khmer script. Complex as it is, I think it’s quite beautiful.
  18. The pride the Khmer take in their cars, tuk tuks and driveways. They’re forever being washed and cleaned.
  19. Chicken amok, a traditional Khmer dish (usually served with fish, not chicken). It’s really delicious.
  20. Iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk.

These are just a few. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to live here.

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