Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cambodians tell is like it is...

I was having quite a laugh today remembering some of the funny, yet slightly disturbing, things I heard all of the time in Cambodia. Usually it was just the misuse of he/she distinctions and using "used to" for all past-tense sentences-- even when they meant something that just happened one second ago. For example, my Teaching Assistants would say something like, "I used to see Joshua arrive" when they meant, "Joshua just arrived." 
I will never forget the first teen event I had with just the girls. I had practiced saying, "Hello, beautiful ladies" and thought I was ready to greet them with my new and brilliant vocabulary... I was wrong. I walked in proudly and said loudly, "Hello, naked women!" Oh, the shame. In the US, this would just cause great bursts of laughter in a group of 14-17 year old girls. In conservative Cambodia, this was not the case. I was rewarded with shocked stares and nervous smiles. I still try to pretend it never happened.

On February 3, 2011 I posted on my Tumblr some things that I had been told one week. Cambodians are much more honest in public settings than, I think, we are in America. We are always walking on eggshells to make sure we don't offend people. Check it out: 

Things I’ve been told this week:
  • What is wrong with your lips? (Didn’t even know I had a problem there lol)
  • You have so much stuff in your hair. (Like what exactly?)
  • I maybe think you need new chaaampiii (translation: shampoo) because you hair no good. (No argument there lol)
I invited my assistants over for spaghetti tonight. Things I was told tonight by, oh you know, my dinner guests:

  • Did you take a shower yet? I think you no shower yet. (My roommate laughed and asked if I smelled bad and was informed that I didn’t smell bad but I looked quite non-showered…. not sure if I should be grateful I didn’t stink or be sad about my unclean looks lol)
  • I think you are busy because your hair…. it… looks so busy.
  • I think I cut onions because you no good. (Um, for the record, I cut them much faster than she did BUT, apparently, not as well.)
  • I love you. (I’ll take that :)) 
  • You are so quick. (Not sure what this means but I will take it as a compliment lol)
I’ve come to realize that in our culture we live in a bubble of self-denial and, therefore, get offended by the truth. Here you can call anyone fat or too tall/short or whatever because it is just honest. I think I like it more here. You get used to it and realize…. well, what’s wrong with the truth?
 If you’re fat, you’re fat, and if you are slow at doing a task, you’re slow at it. Someone not telling you this doesn’t change the facts. And, here in Cambodia, you can really believe someone when they compliment you because they mean it. They wouldn’t say it if they didn’t.
Cambodian Royal Palace 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September-- Montaigne + Pumpkin + Tango = Joy.

Although it's still hot & humid here in Florida, I get all giddy when I know that Fall is arriving. Not only is it home of my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, but there's this exciting buzz in my world because I know that the holidays are approaching.

Since leaves don't turn beautiful golden and auburn shades in Florida, Autumn officially begins, for moi, when Starbucks begins serving their Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Mmmmmm. Sticking to my budget means that I can't get one every time I want one so I turned to trusty Pinterest to find a recipe. Found one for a Frappe. Didn't follow the directions completely but it was yummy. Nothing like what they serve at Starbucks, but that might just be because my blender doesn't like to crush ice.

This week for my French senior seminar ('Penser l'autre dans le context francographique') we had to read Utopia by Thomas More (1516), "Des Cannibales" by Montaigne (1580), and Le Quatre Livre by Rabelais (sometime in the 1500s). 

After finishing that INSANE amount of reading. I had to do something to de-stress :) So on Monday night-- by night, I mean, LATE at night-- I turned to Pinterest again to find a recipe. Found one for good old pumpkin bread but I changed it a little to make Banana Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins :)

Banana Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 banana (would've done more but that's all I had)

4 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup butter, melted

2/3 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups white sugar (I substituted 1 cup Splenda)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Thursday nights I spend 5 hours at the library trying to finish studying so that I can have some freedom on the weekends. I took a break and went to the Ballroom dancing club here at FAU where I learned the basics of tango. Oh my gosh, so fun!! Love it.

Good night! Back to studying I go!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Marcela n'est pas encore au Cambodge!

It's been almost 2 years since my last post. I obviously failed at blogging here but hope to bring this blog back to life. For more about my year in Cambodia check out the "Cambodia" tab on my Tumblr. I'll be posting highlights, lessons learned, treasured memories, and my scrapbook later, as well.

Say goodbye to my old blog! Marcela is no longer au Cambodge and, so, needs a new title. 

Can't wait to dive back into my adventure and share it with others! As well as share about the new journeys and challenges that I've encountered after coming home and those which are sure to come!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Koh Kred.
One of my new favorite places in the world.
Friday night, two of my house-mates, Casey and Grace, and I headed to Thailand for the weekend. We arrived in Bangkok and went straight to a hotel to meet Grace's Thai friends who were having a drink to celebrate a spiritual birthday. After a morning devo at a pretty little park in the city and breakfast at a hole-in-the-wall type restaurant (with delicious food, of course), we saw much of the city from our boat ride up the river. Nong (far right), Anna (far left ), and Nu took us north of Bangkok to the province of Nanthaburi. The six of us crammed into a tuk tuk which took us to a small market. I bought a hat for my grandmother, walked through the sand-filled rice bag walkway, and took a ferry boat just across the Chao Phraya river. I had no idea that I would spend the day in a charming pottery village on the water.

We walked around the market on the island and then had Thai green curry on the water. And then, we rented bikes for 40 baht and explored the island! It was so relaxing and beautiful to breahe fresh air and see so much nature. It is hard to explain how awesome it was so I'll just show you!

I definitely hope return one day and rent a little bungalow on the water for a few days. Thursday I'm heading to Siem Reep for 3 days! Right now, I'm at the pool grading papers and relaxing with Kendra from Kenya. No school until Monday!!

I am one lucky girl ;)

Monday, August 30, 2010

First month in Asia: Quick update of this month :)

So, as you can tell, I am not a very good blogger. It has taken me a month to post something. August has flown by leaving behind a whirl of yummy foods, tuk tuk price haggling, class full of screaming toddlers, new friends, and complete lack of Khmer language knowledge. I've been really blessed with the ability to live off of a half-day schedule and have my afternoons free to enjoy being abroad and volunteer. I could spend the next 7 days sitting here typing if I were to even attempt to explain all of the things going on in Cambodia right now.

School: I am teaching an internationally diverse group of 20 children who don't speak English and I love it. They are so cute! My classroom:Church: So giving and welcoming. Everything is in Khmer but there is interpretation via headphones, which is great. A week ago I was welcomed into the Teen Ministry with a giant card full of pictures and names of some of the teens... it is going to come in very handy.

Sisters of Charity: The Senior Teacher at my school introduced me to one of the very needy orphanages here. It is about a 20 min walk from my place and the 23 children there are absolutely precious. It is run by a group of Catholic nuns and all but 2 of the kids are under the age of 5. I don't even know where to begin talking about this because it is very overwhelming and is a constant reminder of how many needs there are. I am really praying for the adoption laws and all that jazz to be mended up so that these little ones can have the hope of having a family. I am very inspired by them and I love them so much already. It just breaks my heart to know they they have no chance for a normal future free of prostitution, gangs, and suicide. I've been told that 1 in every 10 orphans commit suicide. Hope that's not true.

Villa 21: Pretty awesome. Especially Casey, of coursssseee. This week, another teen worker, Ah Houy, just moved into our floor. Gerlinda had a band come over for dinner tonight so we had yummy Philippine (sp?) food for dinner.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Monday morning I will be taking off for Phnom Phen, Cambodia to teach pre-school, volunteer, and grow a ton. I am so incredibly excited to spend the next school year there. I have to admit, though, that I am already homesick and missing my family and friends.

Today I spent the entire day clearing out my room and packing... it has never taken me so long to pack two suitcases before. I almost fell over earlier this week when I noticed that the international checked-baggage allowance for my flight is only one suitcase. That isn't happening though lol I'm definetely bringing a second one.

Can't wait to see how it goes!