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:
Cambodian Royal Palace