EXPAT REFLECTIONS: Same same but different
We eat out – but we don’t have the variety we had in Australia. Our favourite local is Jars of Clay, a local NGO (non-governmental organisation)but we are slowly building our ‘favourites’ list and look forward to sharing if anyone wants to come to visit us.
We get take-away – in fact even more often than before. We have worked out that it is cheaper to buy meals prepared for us by a local – LIM – who is trying to establish a catering business than to cook for ourselves. We love her eggplant lasagne or chickpea curry, or fish amok and, at $3 per serve, we’re not cooking. (Amok is a traditional classic Khmer dish, a curry of chicken, fish or vegetables steamed in banana leaves topped with coconut milk). Noy Noy’s noodles has just opened so $2 for a dozen dumplings is going to be added to our menu.
We exercise…. but walking isn’t an option. It is hot, sticky, and somewhat dangerous with no footpaths in our part of town. Hence exercise is at the gym two or three times a week. It’s very western except that the clientele is mostly Chinese and Korean and it’s hot because the air-conditioning is set at about 28 degrees.
We go to work…..but now that we work together the work meetings continue over the dinner table. Our hours are also somewhat different. We usually arrive at about 6.45 and leave between 4 and 5 pm.
We watch AFL……on Australia Plus and enjoy having others over to watch with us. Last Friday we had an extra 7 adults and 4 kids to watch the Sydney game – a mix of Australians, New Zealanders, Cambodians and Canadians!
We watch Netflix (same same) and can recommend ‘Money Heist’, a Spanish series we have just finished.
We have friends….but miss those who have been such a regular part of life for such a long time. Our friendship group is diversifying, both in age and nationality. We have even managed to connect with some Americans:)
We have a social life….. but are usually home by 9pm. This week we went to a Charity Concert at the Sofitel and we didn’t get home until 10! A VERY late night. Late because days start early and late because we are so far from the centre of town that drivers don’t want the fare to bring us home at that time of night. Our area is not perceived as being particularly safe. (And it’s not just us. Even the younger staff members are ‘done’ by this time).
We drink Cider…..Brunty’s is the brand of choice. And David still drinks Coke.
We communicate with those around us…. but I am ashamed to say that for me if it is not in English, it is often limited to single words, or maybe three word phrases. I’m working on it.
We work with lovely young people….no difference there. Young people are young people the world over.
We work with young people in transition….bigger difference there, as kids have to learn to cope with different countries, living conditions, education systems, lifestyle, food and climate.
We drive places ….on a moto. This means we get hot, wet (it is now wet season so SOAKED is closer to the point) and have helmet hair.
We are getting to know our neighbours……. who, like at home, love karaoke. Unlike at home, many social events are held in the street so people are very quick to invite us to join. Last week it was a four year old’s birthday party.
We get to go on holiday…. but now, working together, we have longer holidays and at the same time. This means that in the coming ‘summer break’ (an ironic name because it is not summer here but it is somewhere in the world) we can spend a whole month exploring Sri Lanka together.
We miss home and friends and family, but there is enough ‘Same Same’ in our life to keep us sane and here!
Postscript: for those who keep in contact on Facebook. Due to a recent theft I am now without a phone and cannot remember my Facebook log in. We love to hear news from home so either ‘friend’ David Flight or email me (Cheryl) on email@example.com