Considering that it’s already the end of February, it’s probably about time that I share what a typical day looks like for me! However, because of Cambodian holidays and special events, I didn’t really settle into a routine until December and it’s hard to say what a typical day looks like because when I wake up, I rarely know what my day will be like. Some days are boring and some days are full of exciting adventures but most days are somewhere in between (hint: similar to life at home!). Nevertheless, here is how I spend most of my days!
Weekdays: Teaching and Learning!
6/6:30am – Wake up and get ready for the day! On Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, I eat breakfast with my co-teacher Pho and some of my students at the school. On Thursdays and Fridays, sometimes I eat with my supervisor, Rachna, sometimes the staff cook breakfast and we eat together, and sometimes, I go to a nearby restaurant on my own. Pork and rice is my favorite and Khmer noodle soup (in Khmer: koyteeyew) is a close second. Somedays, I buy iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk, which is absolutely delicious!
7am – School starts at 7am and I teach Grades 8 and 9 every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning. My 8th graders are a rambunctious bunch and my 9th graders are still so shy to speak with me, even though they know quite a bit of English.
11am – I head back to the LWD compound after school and see what the rest of my team is up to. Sometimes I come back and everyone has gone out to the field and sometimes I come back to a large training or meeting!
12pm – My team and I eat lunch together every day. The food (rice, of course!) is always spicy and normally delicious! After lunch, we all rest. Some of my coworkers turn on the TV to tune into the latest Korean, Thai, or Indian soap opera. Sometimes I watch with them and try to guess what is happening!
2-3pm – After we finish our break around 1:30, the staff goes back to work and on Mondays and Tuesdays, I head back to school to teach Grade 7.
3-6pm – Once I get back from school, I work on a variety of things including sending emails, writing blog or journal entries, following the news in Cambodia and the US, reading, editing English reports or proposals for my team, studying Khmer, and creating lesson plans for English class.
5:30/6pm – Most days, my coworkers finish working around this time and we play volleyball in the back of our compound. I’m not very good at all but it’s a fun time. The loser has to do 5 push-ups!
6:30/7pm – Dinner time! I try to help by setting up the chairs and getting the silverware but I am pretty useless at Khmer cooking!
7:30pm – On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, I teach English to my coworkers. Sometimes, they’re exhausted from the day or still working so I cancel class ;). On Thursdays, they teach me Khmer! It’s always good to learn a few new words & phrases and I love learning from my coworkers. Afterwards, Rachna and I normally sit downstairs and talk. She lets me ask her a million questions about everything from LWD’s work to Cambodian holidays to her weekend plans. It’s my favorite way to end the day!
10 pm – Time for bed! I quickly shower and get ready for bed. It’s important to get those 8 hours of sleep, especially after a full day!
On Wednesday afternoons, Thursdays, and Friday mornings, I will often go on field visits with my coworkers. I absolutely love traveling through the rice fields by moto and getting to see more of LWD’s work. I’ve been to Agricultural Cooperative Assemblies, seen an irrigation system installed, conducted interviews about new roads, visited farmers to see their chickens & vegetables, and learned about the construction of spillways, family ponds, and deep wells. Sometimes we’re gone all day but we always manage to have a good time and take some selfies!
Weekends: Relaxing and Exploring!
Some weekends I get to travel around Cambodia, mostly in and around Phnom Penh, but on the weekends I spend in Phnom Kravanh, this is my schedule!
7:30 am – On the weekends, I let myself sleep in. I know, dream big, right?! After I get dressed and ready, I head to the nearby restaurant for breakfast (pork and rice or noodle soup again!) and I almost always get iced coffee. What’s a weekend without coffee?
8:30/9 am – This is normally a great time to call friends and family back home, due to the time difference. After I finish catching up, I start doing my laundry. Honestly, I’m really proud that I can somewhat successfully clean my clothes by myself. Though I don’t think I’ve found the perfect technique, the whole process gives me an appreciation for hard work and washing machines.
By the time I finish, it’s normally 10:30 or 11am. Then, I normally hang out in my hammock (shout out to Elise for leaving it behind for me!) downstairs, watching TV with the guards, cross stitching, reading, writing blog or journal entries, studying Khmer, or catching up on TV shows from home.
12pm – Lunch time! I normally go eat with my coworker Longheng at the restaurant again. We pick out 2 different meals to share that come with jasmine iced tea and rice (are you sensing a trend here?).
1pm – Who knows! Sometimes, I do the same things I did in the morning and sometimes, I go on adventures with Jasmine, who is a Peace Corps volunteer in Kravanh. We go on bike rides to the river, buy snacks, visit students at our schools, and hit up the Tea Cafe, which serves delicious drinks and has wifi!
6pm – Dinner time! This is the same as lunch except I normally get fried rice because it’s one of my favorite meals here (#treatyoself)! It also costs $1 as opposed to $1.50 for most other meals.
7pm – I try to prepare for the next week by cleaning my room and writing lesson plans. I never know what the next week will bring so it’s always good to be prepared!
10pm – On the weekends, I tell myself I can go to bed whenever I want but this normally ends up being around 10 or 11pm because I guess I’ve become accustomed to this routine!
..and that’s about it! I have mostly gotten used to the pace of life here in Cambodia and because I never really know what’s going to happen next, I’ve learned to say “yes” without much hesitation & to always “be ready to move at a moment’s notice.”
Wishing all of you peace and joy in your daily lives!