I have a backlog of journal entries, so to get my curious friends up to speed this post will have to be in the form of a digest.
Sunday January 14
We arrived safely yesterday around noon with luggage present and intact. My blood pressure was slightly elevated as we drove from Phnom Penh to Prek Ambel. It seemed we would collect motorbike drivers on the windshield like one collects bugs on a drive through the country.
Our house is nice, but isn't ready to move in. The landlady still has belongings to remove. The village is celebrating a wedding (a long orange awning covers half the street through the market) so the shops are closed and our landlady is too busy to deal with the house.
We woke up this morning to the sounds of roosters (which have no respect for time nor for those still sleeping before dawn) and Sophorn's geese, whose cries resemble the moving parts of old metal playground equipment. It was nice.
Church was a blessing. Kayleen translated for me when some ladies gathered around us. I need to make church member flashcards to learn their names. It was sweet to hear them sing to the Lord, filling the room and my heart with robust praise.
Three groups sang songs for the congregation. Some looked cleaned up, well fed and relatively well dressed, but others are so thin, wearing pajama pants and worn shirts. I remembered in a book I read, possibly Stepping Heavenward, someone asked the mother which child she loved most. She replied, "The one who needs me most." Meaning, the one who is sick or hurt or hungry at the moment. I wondered if perhaps the Lord is a bit that way Himself. How precious these children of God are to their Father.
Monday January 15
We moved into the house today. There is running water, and water in a tank in the bathroom and in a huge jar by the kitchen sink. I was trying to use up the tank water because it has been stagnant for so long; I wanted to get rid of it. But after the landlady, Bong Srey Muey, told us the running water is from the river, stagnant rain water didn't seem so bad. We went to the market to buy some household items today. A flock of children followed us, but when we tried to talk to them, they ran away! We wandered around looking for a bed sheet until we came to Bong Srey Muey's shop. She walked around with us and helped us find the remaining items on the list. When I unpacked the tea kettle is when it really struck me that we aren't just visiting.
Tuesday January 16
We had our first dinner tonight that Sopeak didn't deliver. When I went back to the counter to wash dishes, I found it densely populated by bugs that had fallen from the openings above. I was significantly dismayed, but decided an interminable supply of bugs is something I am going to have to accept.
Thursday January 18
I went to the market by myself this morning. Though one of Chheng's nieces saw me and helped me find what I wanted. I'm getting a little bit used to being a novel item of interest as I wander around. I try not to be too entertaining by acting as naturally as possible when fish jump out of shallow bowls as I walk past. I hand washed and hung out some clothes today, and cooked some vegetables I can't pronounce. The Lord's kindness and care has been very evident to me in even the "small" ways he provides friendly faces to help me do my shopping.
Sunday January 21
We are doing our part to keep the village ants well fed. I was aggitated to discover them in the rice bucket and bag of garlic this evening. Not to mention the wooden cutting stump had sprouted an impressive specimine of mold since last night. Scooping ants out of a bucket of rice is surprisingly cathartic.
Monday January 22
I was trying to put away my purchases this morning when my typical audience of about 5 children appeared outside the kitchen door shouting, "Hello! Hello! Hello!" Every activity was met with a high-pitched chorus stating--in Khmer--what I was doing, and I was expected to repeat. They are very patient teachers. And very persistent. The Lord is reminding me to keep my sense of humor.
Tuesday January 23
Lunch. What else can I say?
I gave the English students written and spoken evaluations today. It's fun to be back in my element. Please pray I will do a good job and honor the Lord with a wise balance of language teaching, learning, and housekeeping.