Alright. I don’t mind power outages. Neither do I mind it if there are four a day. I knew they would happen every now and then. That’s a thing I can live with.
But what I don’t like is, when I open my fridge a few hours after the power has come back and it is warmer inside the fridge than in my room! And there is the air which gets blown inside and that one is also still warm. Ah wait, hot! Sorry, but my fridge is not an oven.
Alright. Keep calm. Let’s not become emotional now. Breathe in. Breathe out.
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When you get saved, it is not a transaction. It is a birth because God wants to make sure, everybody has a dad.
Needless to say, that the culture of Cambodia is totally different to those from outside Asia. Even within Asia itself, it varies a lot. Like in any other countries, it originates in a mix of other nations influence, history (read it here), religion, regimes and their rules. Additionally, positive and negative experiences as well as new trends can change habits in a process which takes years, decades, centuries. Cambodia’s culture is extremely complex and consequently not always easy to understand. I’ve heard, seen, experienced, read already a lot and now I want to try to give you a general idea. Furthermore, I will try to explain some backgrounds, most of those will be my personal view. Please understand, that all in all everybody is different, thus there are people matching these descriptions but also some who are in some parts visibly different.
How some characteristics are
They don’t shout at each other. The more important something is, the quieter they speak. For example, when you’re haggling over a price on the market, you’d rather lower your voice. In that way they’ll show much more respect towards you and you’ll have more success. I can easily imagine that this comes from the past: Cambodians had experienced so many different, cruel regimes and wars during which they probably always got shouted at (e.g. orders). And now, this has turned 180° – as if to set an example for seeking the opposite.
Also helpful is being patient and not in a rush. The more you wait and hesitate the more they discount for you. Time has another significance here than in the business world in the west. What you can’t finish today, do tomorrow. Or the day after. Or the week after. I love these two characteristics, they make life so relaxed. However, it also means that they don’t really care about punctuality and that’s a thing which Swiss people are famous for …
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Saying goodbye to all relatives and friends was a long process which started already one month before I left Switzerland. Personally, I think this is one of the worst parts of such an adventure. Don’t get me wrong, it sure is an important time and most of the “last conversations” were funny and encouraging. However, I sometimes wished that it wouldn’t last so long since I don’t like saying “bye”. Even though I was looking forward to this new challenge, I was sad leaving behind all these people, who I love so much. Once more, I’m thankful for our modern world. Nowadays, Skype, Whatsapp, Email and co. enable us to stay in touch.
Originally, I was supposed to fly from Lisbon (where I had enjoyed a short city trip with my sister) to Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur (capital of Malaysia) and then Siem Reap, Cambodia. Due to the delay of my first plane, I missed the connecting flight. Fortunately, they had already changed my bookings. The new route was via Istanbul (Turkey) and Seoul (South Korea) and took ten hours more. I didn’t mind it, thus I got to see some other airports and airlines and that sounded like sightseeing to me – just a bit different. 😉
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Whoever knows me well, knows that I don’t love to organise. In the end everything works out even though I usually arrange some details at very short notice. As I came back from travelling (31. October 2013), I knew, I would have to look for a job in order to make money as well as I would need to organise a lot.
Coming back wasn’t easy at all. While I was travelling, my family had moved to another place, away from the house where I had lived for about 15 years and away from the town where I was born and grew up – to a small village where I knew nobody at all. Firstly, I had to furnish my room. My very first stroll that afternoon ended up in getting almost lost since I didn’t know the place at all. It was a crazy change for me, I was never really able to say “goodbye” to the former house. Now we had neighbors in the house itself, friends didn’t live close anymore and the familiar forest I loved was more than 40 minutes by train away. Thank God, that I am easygoing. It didn’t take me long until I felt comfortable. My motto during that time was “look at the bright side” – that’s what I did and that’s what opened my eyes to see the advantages.
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