Custard Apple

Also known as the Sugar Apple or Sweetsop, I thought for the longest time that this was Milk Fruit but it’s actually Custard Apple. In Khmer, it’s called ផ្លែទៀប (plae tieb). It’s a sweet fruit with a mild citrusy taste. It has many large seeds that are smooth and quite solid. The outer shell peels…

Cambodian Spice Pack

This morning at the local market I picked up two of what I call ‘Cambodian spice packs.’ In traditional rural life, villagers wouldn’t buy these ingredients but would have them growing in their yards. Life is a bit different in the city – though many homes still have these growing in pots – so they’re…

Three Languages, None Khmer

Yesterday morning at the local market in Phnom Penh a boy asked me, in English, “Do you speak Vietnamese?” I know maybe seven words of Vietnamese so I answered with, “Xin chào.” He responded in Chinese with, “Wo hen hao.” I have to thank the bookshop owner in Prey Veng for teaching me enough Chinese…

Rain and Privilege

There are many things I love about Cambodia and I hope to devote blog posts to the fruit, the present-ness of people, the eagerness to celebrate and many more things.  But I have to start with the rain.  It’s rainy season here.  6 months of nearly daily rains that sweep across the tin roofs of…

A Conversation with Charlotte

It has been a hard week but this talk with Charlotte is why it’s good that the girls are here. Growing up in Brazil shaped me, growing up here is shaping them. Charlotte: The doctor said that my leg might get cut off if there’s an infection. Me: Yes, but that probably won’t happen to…

Bike Injury

On Saturday last week, Charlotte and I had a lovely daddy-daughter outing around Phnom Penh. We stopped by the office on the way home to pick up a bike and, as the guard did some last minute maintenance on it, Charlotte took off her shoes. This is where I messed up – as we started…

The week of broken things

The last 5 days have been full of brokenness.  It started last Friday.  In my eagerness to set up the partner meeting, I moved a portion of the glass table by myself.  My sweaty hands slipped and glass fell hard on my leg, cutting into my shin in two places, leaving spectacular bloody trails all…

Durian

The first time I had durian I was told, “it smells like hell but tastes like heaven.” Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. It tasted like a rotten sweet onion. This was in Ohio in the year leading up to my first cross cultural trip to Viet Nam. Because of that experience I avoided eating durian…

So Dengue Fever

To conclude the story of Ugh Food Poisoning and Probably Not Food Poisoning… After the tests came back the Doctor concluded that I did have Dengue Fever. It has been a long recovery – lots of muscle pain, fatigue, and headaches. But, after a month, I’m finally feeling close to normal again. Dengue is a…

Charlotte and Victor Playing Chess

The Dengue fatigue hit me hard this evening and I’ve been up in the bedroom resting. When I came down to get some water I was surprised/delighted to see Charlotte playing Chess with Victor – one of the YAMEN participants from Kenya. I taught her how to play last year but never expected her to…