Follow the way of the tribes.

Today, I had another assessment. For this, I prepared a short devotion in Khmer. I was going to record it and maybe upload it, but I kept making mistakes. (I’m probably just too tired to do it right now.) So I have the Khmer here and the English below.

(I will add some bits for clarity in English. They will be in italics. As I had to keep it within a certain time length, I didn’t want to expand on those points too much. I also will rephrase sections just so it makes more sense and has a bit more nuance in the English.)

យ៉ូស្វេ 1:12-18 គខប

“បន្ទាប់​មក លោក​យ៉ូស្វេ​មាន​ប្រសាសន៍​ទៅ​កាន់​កុល‌សម្ព័ន្ធ*​រូបេន កុល‌សម្ព័ន្ធ​កាដ និង​កុល‌សម្ព័ន្ធ​ម៉ាណា‌សេ​ចំនួន​ពាក់​កណ្ដាល ដូច​ត​ទៅ៖ «ចូរ​ចង​ចាំ​នូវ​ពាក្យ​ដែល​លោក​ម៉ូសេ ជា​អ្នក​បម្រើ​របស់​ព្រះ‌អម្ចាស់បង្គាប់​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា​ថា “ ព្រះ‌អម្ចាស់ ជា​ព្រះ​របស់​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា ប្រទាន​ឲ្យ​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា​បាន​សម្រាក គឺ​ព្រះអង្គ​ប្រទាន​ស្រុក​នេះ​ឲ្យ​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា​ហើយ”។ ប្រពន្ធ កូន ព្រម​ទាំង​ហ្វូង​សត្វ​របស់​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា​នឹង​ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្នុង​ស្រុក ដែល​លោក​ម៉ូសេ​បាន​ប្រគល់​ឲ្យ​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា នៅ​ត្រើយ​ខាង​កើត​ទន្លេ​យ័រដាន់។ រីឯ​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា ដែល​សុទ្ធ​តែ​ជា​ទាហាន​ដ៏​អង់‌អាច​វិញ ត្រូវ​ប្រដាប់​អាវុធ ដើរ​ខាង​មុខ​បងប្អូន​របស់​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា ដើម្បី​ជួយ​គេ រហូត​ដល់​ ព្រះ‌អម្ចាស់​ប្រទាន​ឲ្យ​បងប្អូន​របស់​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា​បាន​សម្រាក​ដូច​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា​ដែរ ហើយ​ឲ្យ​ពួក​គេ​កាន់​កាប់​ស្រុក​ដែល​ព្រះ‌អម្ចាស់ ជា​ព្រះ​របស់​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នាប្រទាន​ឲ្យ​ពួក​គេ។ បន្ទាប់​មក អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា​នឹង​ត្រឡប់​មក​កាន់​កាប់​ស្រុក ដែល​ជា​កម្មសិទ្ធិ​របស់​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា​វិញ គឺ​ស្រុក​ដែល​លោក​ម៉ូសេ ជា​អ្នក​បម្រើ​របស់​ ព្រះ‌អម្ចាស់ បាន​ចែក​ឲ្យ​អ្នក​រាល់​គ្នា នៅ​ត្រើយ​ខាង​កើត​ទន្លេ​យ័រដាន់»។

ពួក​គេ​ឆ្លើយ​ទៅ​លោក​យ៉ូស្វេ​ថា៖ «អ្វីៗ​ទាំង​ប៉ុន្មាន​ ដែល​លោក​បង្គាប់​មក​យើង​ខ្ញុំ យើង​ខ្ញុំ​នឹង​គោរព​ធ្វើ​តាម​ទាំង​អស់។ លោក​ចាត់​យើង​ខ្ញុំ​ឲ្យ​ទៅ​ទី​ណា យើង​ខ្ញុំ​នឹង​ទៅ​ទី​នោះ។ យើង​ខ្ញុំ​ធ្លាប់​ស្ដាប់​បង្គាប់ ​លោក​ម៉ូសេ​សព្វ​គ្រប់​យ៉ាង​ណា យើង​ក៏​ស្ដាប់​បង្គាប់​លោក​យ៉ាង​នោះដែរ។ សូម​ ព្រះ‌អម្ចាស់ ​ជា​ព្រះ​របស់​លោក​គង់​នៅ​ជា​មួយ​លោក ដូច​ព្រះអង្គ​បាន​គង់​នៅ​ជា​មួយ​លោក​ម៉ូសេ​ដែរ។ ប្រសិន​បើ​អ្នក​ណា​ម្នាក់ ​ប្រឆាំង​នឹង​បញ្ជា​របស់​លោក ហើយ​មិន​ព្រម​ធ្វើ​តាម​បញ្ជា​របស់​លោក​ទេ អ្នក​នោះ​ត្រូវ​ទទួល​ទោស​ដល់​ស្លាប់។ រីឯ​លោក​វិញ សូម​មាន​កម្លាំង និង​ចិត្ត​ក្លា‌ហាន​ឡើង»។”

សប្តាហ៍មុន​ ខ្ញុបានអានកណ្ឌគម្ពីរយ៉ូស្វេ ជំពូក ១។ ជំពូកនេះប្រាប់យើងអំពី ព្រះ និងមនុស្សផ្សេងៗ ដូចជា លោកម៉ូសេ លោកយ៉ូស្វេ ប្រជាជន អ៊ីស្រាអែល និងមនុស្សនៅកុលសម្ព័ន្ធរ៉ូបេន កុលសម្ព័ន្ធកាដ និងកុលសម្ព័ន្ធម៉ាណាសេ ។  ពេលខ្ញុំអានជំពូកនេះ ខ្ញុំគិតថា៖ ខ្ញុំដូចអ្នកណា? ខ្ញុំដឹងថា ខ្ញុំមិនអាចដូចព្រះអង្គបានទេ ពីព្រោះខ្ញុំជាមនុស្ស ។ ខ្ញុំសង្ឃឹមថា ខ្ញុំក៏មិនមែនដូចលោកម៉ូសេដែរ ពីព្រោះ នៅក្នុងកណ្ឌគម្ពីរយ៉ូស្វេ លោកម៉ូសេបានស្លាប់ហើយ។ ពេលយើងអានកណ្ឌគម្ពីរយ៉ូស្វេ យើងចង់គិតថាយើងដូចលោកយ៉ូស្វេ គាត់ជាអ្នកដឹកនាំដ៏ល្បី គាត់សំខាន់ ហើយនិងក្លាហាន។ ប៉ុន្តែ ខ្ញុំគិតថាបេសក្ខជនដូចមនុស្សនៅកុលសម្ព័ន្ធរ៉ូបេន កាដ និងម៉ាណាសេ។

នៅក្នុងខនេះ ព្រះអង្គបានប្រទានសេចក្តីសន្យាឲ្យលោកយ៉ូស្វេ និងប្រជាជនអ៊ីស្រាអែល ។ មុនស្សនៅកុលសម្ព័ន្ធជួយលោកយ៉ូស្វេឲ្យទទួលបានសេចក្តីសន្យានេះ ។ ខ្ញុំមកប្រទេសកម្ពុជាដើម្បីឲ្យជនជាតិខ្មែរទទួលបានសេចក្តីសន្យារបស់ព្រះអង្គដែរ។ ពេលខ្ញុំអានកណ្ឌគម្ពីរយ៉ូស្វេជំពូក១ ខ្ញុំចាប់អារម្មណ៍។ ខ១២ ដល់ ១៨ បានបង្រៀនខ្ញុំឲ្យចេះជួយជនជាតិខ្មែរទទួលបានសេចក្តីសន្យារបស់ព្រះអង្គ។ ខនេះមាន៥ចំណុច ។

ទី១ ព្រះគម្ពីរប្រាប់ខ្ញុំថា ទាល់តែខ្ញុំធ្វើកិច្ចការនេះហើយ ទើបខ្ញុំអាចសម្រាកបាន។ មនុស្សនៅកុលសម្ព័ន្ធត្រូវឆ្លងទន្លេយ័រដាន់ និងទទួលបានស្រុកថ្មី។ បន្ទាប់មកទើបពួកគាត់អាចសម្រាកបាន។ ខ្ញុំត្រូវជួយជនជាតិខ្មែរទទួលបានសេចក្តីសន្យារបស់ព្រះអង្គ។ បន្ទាប់មក ទើបខ្ញុំអាចសម្រាកបានដែរ។

ទី២ ខ្ញុំត្រូវប្រយុទ្ធ ។ កណ្ឌគម្ពីរធិម៉ូថេ ទី២ ជំពូក ៤ ខ ៧ និយាយថា «ខ្ញុំបានពុះពារតយុទ្ធល្អប្រសើរ ខ្ញុំបានរត់ដល់ទីដៅ ហើយខ្ញុំនៅតែកាន់ជំនឿជាប់ដដែល» ។ យើងត្រូវតែពុះពារតយុទ្ធល្អដែរ។ មនុស្សនៅកុលសម្ព័ន្ធត្រូវប្រដាប់អាវុធដើម្បីប្រយុទ្ធជាមួយលោកយ៉ូស្វេ ។ ដូច្នេះ យើងត្រូវប្រដាប់អាវុធដែរ។

កណ្ឌគម្ពីរកូរិនថូសទី២ ជំពូក ១០ ខ ៤ បានប្រាប់យើងថា «ដ្បិត​គ្រឿង​សស្ត្រា‌វុធ​ដែល​យើង​ប្រើ មិន​មែន​ជា​អាវុធ​ខាង​លោកីយ៍​ទេ គឺ​ជា​អាវុធ​ដ៏​មាន​ឫទ្ធា‌នុភាព​មក​ពី​ព្រះ‌ជាម្ចាស់ ដែល​អាច​រំលំ​កំពែង​បន្ទាយ​នានា ។ យើង​រំលំ​ការ​រិះគិត» និង កណ្ឌគម្ពីរអេភេសូ ជំពូក ៦ ខ ១១ ប្រាប់យើងថា «ចូរបងប្អូនប្រដាប់ខ្លួនដោយគ្រឿងសស្ត្រាវុធទាំងប៉ុន្មាន របស់ព្រះជាម្ចាស់់ ដើម្បីអាចតតាំងនឹងកលល្បិចរបស់មារ» នេះមានន័យថា ខ្ញុំត្រូវតែអានព្រះគម្ពីរ និងស្គាល់ព្រះគម្ពីរឲ្យបានច្បាស់ ពីព្រោះព្រះគម្ពីរជាគ្រឿងសស្ត្រាវុធរបស់ព្រះជាម្ចាស់ដ៏សំខាន់។

ចំណុចទី៣ ខ្ញុំត្រូវស្តាប់បង្គាប់តាមអ្នកដឹកនាំនិងគ្រូគង្វាលនៅកម្ពុជា។ ពេលខ្លះ ជនជាតិបរទេសគិតថា ពួកគេដឹង និងស្គាល់ព្រះគម្ពីរច្បាស់ជាងជនជាតិខ្មែរ បុ៉ន្តែ ព្រះអង្គប្រទាន សេចក្តីសន្យាសម្រាប់ជនជាតិខ្មែរ មិនមែនសម្រាប់ខ្ញុំទេ។ ខ្ញុំត្រូវបន្ទាបខ្លួនធ្វើតាមគ្រូគង្វាលជនជាតិខ្មែរ។

ទី៤ ខ្ញុំត្រូវអធិស្ឋានសូមឲ្យព្រះអម្ចាស់ប្រទានពរសម្រាប់ជនជាតិខ្មែរ ។ មនុស្សកុលសម្ព័នអធិស្ឋានសូមឲ្យព្រះអម្ចាស់ជាព្រះរបស់លោកគង់នៅជាមួយលោក ។ ខ្ញុំត្រូវធ្វើដូចគ្នាសម្រាប់គ្រូគង្វាលខ្មែរ។

ចុងក្រោយ ខ្ញុំត្រូវលើកទឹកចិត្តគ្រូគង្វាលជនជាតិខ្មែរ។ ដូចមនុស្សនៅកុលសម្ព័ន្ធលើទឹកចិត្តលោកយូ៉ស្វេ និងប្រាប់គាត់ សូមមានកម្លាំង និងចិត្តក្លាហានឡើង។ ខ្ញុំនិងប្រាប់គ្រូគង្វាលខ្មែរ សូមមានកម្លាំង និងចិត្តក្លាហានឡើង ដូចលោកយ៉ូស្វេ។

ដូច្នេះហើយបានជាខ្ញុំសង្ឃឹមថា ខ្ញុំឃើញជនជាតិខ្មែរភាគច្រើនទទួលបានសេចក្តីសន្យារបស់ព្រះអង្គ។

សូមអធិស្ឋានជាមួយខ្ញុំ៖

ឱព្រះអង្គអើយ ! សូមប្រទានពរដល់កម្ពុជា និងជនជាតិខ្មែរ ។ អរព្រះគុណសម្រាប់សេចក្តីសន្យាដ៏ល្អនៅក្នុងព្រះគម្ពីរ ។ សូមប្រទានអោយកូនរបស់ទ្រង់មានប្រជ្ញា ដើម្បីទទួលបានសេចន្តីសន្យារបស់ទ្រង់ ។ សូមលើកទឹកចិត្តគ្រូគង្វាលនៅកម្ពុជា និងប្រទានឲ្យពួកគេមានអំណាចនៅក្នុងនាមព្រះយេស៊ូ ដើម្បីប្រយុទ្ធនិងឈ្នះសម្រាប់នគរព្រះ ។

នៅក្នុងព្រះនាមព្រះយេស៊ូ

អាមែន

Joshua 1:12-18

But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said,13 “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you after he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them 15 until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the Lord your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

16 Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you.Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”

Last week, I was reading Joshua chapter 1. Here, it tells us about various characters: God, Moses, Joshua, the Israelites, and those from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Menassah. Whilst reading it, I thought, “Which of them am I like?” I know I’m not like God as I’m only human. I hope that I’m not like Moses, because in the Book of Joshua, he’s already dead. When we read Joshua, we often want to think we’re him. He’s a famous leader, he’s important, he’s brave. But I think that missionaries are most like the Reubenites, Gadites and Menassehites.

In these verses, we learnt that God has given promises to Joshua and the other Israelites. The Reubenites, Gadites and Menassehites help Joshua to receive these promises. Those tribes had already received their portion. I came to Cambodia to help the Cambodians receive the promises of God, most importantly the promise of salvation for I have already received this. When I read the first chapter of Joshua, I was really interested in what it had to say.

Verses 12-18 can teach me how I can effectively help the Cambodians receive the promises of God. There are five lessons.

First, this passage tells us that only once I have finished my task, I can rest. The tribes had to cross the Jordan River and claim their new country. Only afterwards, could they rest. I have to help the Cambodians receive the promises of God. Only afterwards, can I rest also.

Second, I have to fight. 2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” We have to fight the good fight also. The tribes people had to be armed and equipped to fight with Joshua. We have to be armed too.

2 Corinthians 10:4 says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” This means that I have to read the Bible and know it well because the Bible is the most important armour and weapon God gives us.

Lesson three is that I need to listen to the leaders and pastors in Cambodia. Sometimes, foreigners in Cambodia thing they know more and understand the Bible more clearly than the Cambodians. But I’m here to see the Cambodians receive the promises of God, and not for myself. Therefore, I must humble myself and follow the leaders of the Cambodian church.

Lesson four, I need to pray that God blesses the Cambodian. The Reubenites, Gadites and Menassehites speak a blessing over Joshua. I need to do the same for the Cambodian church leaders.

Finally, I need to encourage the church leaders in Cambodia. As the Reubenites, Gadites and Menassehites encourage Joshua by telling him to be strong and courageous, I will tell the Khmer pastors to be strong and courageous like Joshua.

Therefore, I hope that I see many Cambodians receive the promises of God.

Let’s pray this prayer:

Lord God, Bless Cambodia and the Cambodian people. Thank you for you good promises in the Bible. Give the leaders of the Khmer church wisdom so they may receive your promises. Uplift and strengthen them in the power of Jesus’ name so they may fight and win for your Kingdom.

In the name of Jesus,

Amen.

Moving abroad skills/preparedness audit

Life in Cambodia can be wildly different to life in the UK. There are different routines, considerations and skills needed in order to survive. There is so much I have learnt to do and there are also many skills I know I’m lacking. If I had the opportunity to do more research, receive more training or practise some skills before I came it may could have made quite a bit of difference and I wouldn’t feel quite at a loss at some points. These just cover the basics; I will probably write another one about cultural integration and awareness. Also, if you enjoy this post but haven’t read my A Million Questions post about learning about a new country, you might find that interesting too.

Health

  • Are your vaccines up-to-date?
  • Do you know your blood type?
  • Do you know the locations of the nearest/best hospitals where you will be living?
  • Have you checked whether you can get hold of any medication you need?
  • Have you researched potential threats to health (e.g. malaria, dengue, Zika virus, parasites)?
  • Do you know how to prevent mosquito bites, insect bites and other local risks to health?
  • What foods are safe to eat and what should be avoided? (This varies from place to place, so the blanket advice for travellers may not be applicable. For example, ice is usually fine in Cambodia!)
  • How may the change in diet or climate impact your health?
  • Have you learnt how to adjust to a different climate?
  • Have you made plans in the case of emergency medical care? Does your family know your plans?

Transport

  • What are the main types of transport in the country you are moving to?
  • Is it the same or different to what you are used to?
  • Would it be worth getting lessons before you leave? (I would have loved to have motorbike lessons before I left; I completely feel as if I’m making it all up.)
  • Do you know basic vehicle maintenance?
  • Do you know about different types, brands or models of that vehicle?
  • What public transport is available in the country?
  • What conditions will you travel in when you take public transport? How might you need to prepare for this?

Clothing

  • What clothing do you need for different seasons?
  • What clothing is available in the country? What will you need to bring more of? (For me – vests, socks and shoes)
  • What are locals’ attitudes towards different types of clothing choice? What image are you trying to convey? How do the clothes you wear convey this?
  • What clothing will be comfortable or practical for different reasons?
  • How will you keep your clothes clean?
  • Do you know how to hand wash clothes?
  • What type of clothes will you have to wear at work? What would be good to wear when out and about?
  • Can you sew?

Food

  • What are the main components of that country’s cuisine?
  • Do you know how to eat it? (For instance, I still struggle to eat fish and prawns because I didn’t eat it a lot at home.)
  • What types of fruit and vegetables are there? Do you know how to eat, prepare and cook them? (For instance, can you cut up a mango?)
  • What type of food and ingredients will be available where you are living?
  • Can you cook some simple meals just on a stove?
  • Do you know how to wash vegetables and meats in an effective and hygienic manner? (Yes, I know that probably back at home you are told not to wash meats. That advice might not apply so much where you are.)
  • Do you know how to avoid foods that you are allergic too?
  • Do you know what substitutions for different ingredients you use often can be used?

Language learning

  • Do you know which languages are used in the country and where you will be living?
  • Do you have a basic idea of language families and their features?
  • Do you know your learning style?
  • Are you aware of the International Phonetic Alphabet and its usage?
  • Are you familiar with the phonemes of your target language?
  • Have you researched language learning techniques?
  • Do you know what resources are available for your target language?
  • Do you know the pros and cons of the different resources (for example is the resource somewhat old-fashioned so now a bit offensive? Yes, FSI courses, I’m looking at you.)

Cultural adjustment

  • Have you researched some of the dos and don’ts of the culture?
  • Are you aware of culture shock, what it is and what it looks like? Have you researched reverse culture-shock?
  • Have you researched your own culture so you are aware of some of the potential pressure points? (Privacy and personal space is a large pressure point for me.)
  • Have you found out what cultures you might be working with? Have you researched them? (You might be working in an international setting. I find more extrovert and say-what-you-mean cultures more difficult than Khmer ones most the time.)

Back at home

  • Have you planned how you will stay in touch with those back at home?
  • Have you researched what methods of communication there are available?
  • Have you spoken to others about how they should communicate with you?
  • Have you scheduled regular, committed time to communicate with various people?
  • Have you considered how you will communicate with younger family members? (I’ve found regular Skype calls with little people really hard to navigate.)
  • How will you negotiate import events like Christmas? Have you reflected on how this might affect you?

Yourself

  • Have you taken time to think about how you as a person might affect your experience?
    • What do you enjoy doing in your home country?
    • What activities might be available in your new country?
    • How do you respond to stress?
    • What self-care techniques work for you?
    • What is your personality type? What Enneagram type are you? What does it say about you?
    • What are your reasons for going?
    • What do you hope to achieve?
    • How do you cope with frustrations and disappointments?
    • What bad habits should you try to deal with before you leave?
    • Where might you need to be more flexible in your thinking or world-view?
    • What stereotypes or presumptions might you need to deal with before you leave?

This is a pretty long list. A lot of it could be done with a google search or by watching a few YouTube videos. Some you might need to reflect on for longer. You may want to discuss a few with others who have lived abroad, or close friends and loved ones. I hope this list helps someone and if it does, like or comment! If I failed to add something (because these are only based on my experiences), let me know too.

FAQ Thursday: Are you fluent yet?

I’m attempting to answer some of your questions, or questions that I’ve had asked of me by others or perhaps questions I’ve perceived or felt were implied.

One question I’ve not been directly asked but it seems to hang in the air a bit is “are you fluent in Khmer yet?” The answer to that is no. That’s the short answer and if that satisfies you, you can stop reading here. If you would like a fuller explanation of why not and why it probably isn’t happening anytime soon (despite my best efforts), then carry on.

First, the idea that Khmer can be learnt within a short time is usually expressed only by people who have never attempted to learn Khmer. They may have experienced learning another language, maybe French or German or Spanish. However, this is not quite the same.

There’s the “fluent in 3 months” idea that is bandied around the internet or people who have a vague awareness of foreign languages. And yes, it is perhaps possible to learn a language to a level of fluency in just three months. It is not possible, however, to learn all languages to fluency in three months. It depends on what your mother tongue is, your previous knowledge of language learning and your knowledge of linguistics. Also, it depends on what type of fluency you are aiming for.

The idea I think somewhat originated from the US Foreign Service Institute. That is the governmental body that heads up the training of diplomats and other foreign service workers. They rank different languages according to how long it would take an English native speaker to acquire that language to various levels of fluency in reading, writing, listening and speaking. The end goal for this scale is for an overall professional fluency, which would be more demanding than a conversational fluency. And when they determine how long a professional fluency would take, that is how long it would take someone with 25 hours of class time a week, with an addition three to four hours of self-directed study a day (so around 45 hours of study a week). These classes are conducted by a team of linguistic experts, native speakers trained to teach and training specialists.

Even with that amount of dedication, the shortest amount of time it would take to meet their required standards for a language is 24 weeks, or 6 months. That’s for languages such as French, Italian and Spanish. These languages are considered closely related enough to English to make it easier.

Japanese on the other hand is considered one of the hardest and would take around 88 weeks.

So, where is Khmer? It’s in the group that would take about 11 months to learn. 11 months of 25 class hours a week. That’s 1,100 hours of Khmer class. Khmer is significantly distinct from English. It has a plethora of sounds that English does not have and are difficult to produce, it has a script that seems to read in spirals and comprises of the longest alphabet in the world, as well as a complex system of social registers. 

You may say, but you’ve been in Cambodia 16 months already. That should have been more than enough time. I would like to remind you that the Foreign Service Institute provide 25 hours of class time a week. At my most intense learning stage, I did ten weeks of ten hours a week. That’s 100 hours. So, after that, I only had 1000 more hours to go. During my first year in Cambodia, I probably did a further 70 hours and another 5 hours of classes in the year I returned to the UK. Recently, I have done 10 weeks of 4 hours a week at G2K, 1 hour a week at school (a maximum of 18 hours) and a further 10 hours with Vitou helping me.

Therefore, I have around a further 897 hours of classes to go until I reach the Foreign Service Institute’s required standard.

Of course, I have the additional benefit of living in the country. However, my work means that I often live in a very English-speaking bubble and the Khmer I do get to use tends to be very repetitive and doesn’t progress beyond what I know already. (How long have you lived here? Where are you from? Do you like Cambodia? I would like to go to AEON Mall II. Yes, I went there yesterday.)

I shall persevere as much as I can. I need to not put too much pressure on myself and not to expect perfection straight away. I have definitely made progress since being back but there are still constant and daily struggles and mistakes. Once I am fluent, I will let you know.