A week in the life…

I imagine most of you don’t actually really know what I do week in, week out. You just see my photos on instagram and think I spend my life going around snapping away. Well, first, there is no such thing really as a typical week. Cambodian culture has a high tolerance for ambiguity, whereas Western cultures tend not to. So, it means that schedules rarely go to schedule. This is usually fine, but when I’m stressed I don’t like it so much. We’ve not really managed to get a routine established, mainly because life changes one week to the next. So all these things are really flexible. Some days we don’t do everything (or anything) on the list. I’ve also written ‘between’ so it means it can happen any time during that period. It doesn’t usually take the whole slot.

You’ll notice that at the moment, I don’t actually interact with Khmer people a whole lot. I’m in what’s known as a support ministry role. (If you want more details of what my job titles are, then let me know.) I basically sit at my computer and type away at things to enable people to do the day-to-day contact. I free them up from doing emails, visa admin, and other tasks. I also use my teacher skills to create language learning plans: these are pretty detailed and can be up to ten pages long. It’s also a stage of life thing; my MA (click here to see the course overview) is taking a lot of time away from getting out and about. The MA is really valuable though and is already having a positive impact on my work here in Cambodia.

Monday

Studying Khmer – here I was reading the Bible.
  • Between 5:30 am and 6:30 am to get up to pray, read the Bible, have breakfast and a coffee.
  • Between 7 am and 8:30 am, Kristi and I pray together.
  • 10 am, I meet with a Korean colleague to pray for my team.
  • 1 pm until 2 pm, I sometimes join the Bible study at LEC.
  • 2 pm until 4 pm I study Khmer. (I haven’t had lessons this month because I’m busy with about four MA essays.)
  • 5:30 pm until 7 pm I teach English. (This is very flexible. This is the scheduled time. Sometimes it happens at 4, sometimes it happens at 5:30. It depends who is coming and when people are available.)
Teaching English at LEC

Tuesday

  • Get up early to pray, read the Bible and then Kristi and I join one another again to pray.
  • 10 am, have a phone call with a colleague in Kampot.
  • The rest of the day is admin and emails. There is a surprising amount of this in my roles. I might be emailing people in UK, Korea, Brazil, Australia, Germany, anywhere. A lot of the emails are with the new members in my team that I supervise. I could also be writing the Christian Khmer curriculum for LEC, rewriting the Pre-Arrival Orientation Guide for potential new members coming, dealing with any issues that the current new members are having, helping organise visas for people, creating a resource library for new members, writing a language learning plan, arranging cultural trips and education opportunities…
  • 3 pm, I will start picking up Vitou’s twins from school and helping them with their homework.
  • 7 pm until 8:30 pm, I will have a Zoom Bible study and prayer with my Khmer church. (Yes, it’s all in Khmer.) Or I will have a monthly Zoom meeting with the new members in my team, going through their orientation process.

Wednesday

  • Usually, get up early. But I didn’t manage it this week. Also, if I get up early but have things scheduled every evening, I end up burning the candle at both ends. I was confused at the end of last year why I was always so tired and getting run down a lot. So, I’ve decided that a few days a week it is okay to rest in the mornings a bit.
  • Do MA work. Wednesday mornings are usually spent reading for my MA. Or I might be actually writing an essay.
  • 2 pm I have another meeting on Zoom. (Yes, I have quite a few meetings it seems.)
  • Then I will follow up on the meeting in the afternoon and do admin tasks.
  • 9:30 pm until 10:30 pm I have an online lecture about my MA dissertation.

Thursday

  • Again, this week I didn’t manage to get up early. I don’t think I ended up going to bed until about midnight, because I was thinking about my MA dissertation.
  • Mid-morning and afternoon, I am going through my to do list (see above). This maybe admin work and more follow ups on emails. (I often find emails lead to emails.) Or it could be reading for my MA.
  • 6 pm – 9 pm I am in another online lecture. This semester, I am studying a module about leadership.

Friday

Lunch with some of the LEC teachers
  • Let’s see if I manage to get up early again.
  • Morning Khmer lessons (again not happening this month due to the volume of MA work).
  • At 11 until 1 pm I am having lunch with the teachers at my Khmer school, LEC.
  • From 1 until 2 pm, I am leading a training session for the LEC teachers, in Khmer.
  • Two Fridays a month, I meet with the Phnom Penh team in my organisation for fellowship from 4 until 5:30 pm and then we often eat together.

Saturday

  • Rest, sort out the house, do some more MA work or go out and about.

Sunday

Waiting for church to start. You can see me explaining what happens and who is who to one of my team mates. I had to translate and I actually managed it! You’ll notice, it’s outside. I haven’t been to a service yet when it’s raining but I can imagine it’s impossible to hear anything.
  • Morning is church. We alternate between an English-speaking Anglican church in the centre of Phnom Penh and a Khmer-speaking church down the road.
  • Rest.

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