I woke up at 5:45 in the morning to the sound of rain falling in sheets- a sort of soft roar that drowned out even the wind chimes hanging below my balcony. It was an unusual rain- Cambodia is still in the dry season, just beginning to emerge into the hot season. The real rainy season won’t hit until May or June, they tell me.
Class with my team was cancelled as they were dealing with some flooding in the first floor of their house. I had flashbacks to Peru, where we needed buckets or brooms to sweep out the monsoons. I say a quick prayer of thanks that I now live on the second floor and try to do a yoga video with the volume blasting over the rain. I finally turn off the video and sit smiling for a minute at how amazing life is, before I realize how uncomfortable it is to sit crossed legged in a meditative position and I should really stretch out my hips and why do yogis sit cross legged anyway? The rain is beautiful. Guess yoga and meditation really do take practice. I send up another prayer of thanks for the silly things.
The rain eventually slowed to the point where you could hear the patter of individual drops. I grabbed my bike and rode through muddy slick streets to the market, where the shop ladies recognize my face but still laugh at me for not knowing Khmer. I overpaid a shopkeeper for my vegetables by two dollars and she was kind enough to give me my money back. Everyone stares, but most people smile. I’m just a crazy white lady shopping in a rainstorm while everyone else is waiting under shelter.
I rode over to the team to check on them. Some of our books had gotten soaked, but overall no harm done. Except for the hard drive. The portable hard drive containing everything we have worked on for our English teaching videos had been in a backpack, on the floor, in the rain.
It is quite possible we lost everything. Before I panic, we are letting it dry. Fingers crossed.
I came home with my groceries. The rain started up again and I was soaked by the time I got home, but happy. Riding a bicycle around a small Cambodian town in the morning rain was one of those things that had never been specifically on my bucket list, but now that it happened? I recommend it to everyone.
I showered and got ready to cook. Cooking is a bit of an event for me. I try to cook one meal that will last me the whole week that hopefully won’t kill me. This requires wearing a dress and sometimes lipstick, for no reason at all except I’m so bad in the kitchen I have to turn it into a sort of acting exercise. Maybe I can fool myself by playing the part of a put-together house frau who has zero likelihood of burning the house down. Lipstick equals fire safety.
So far so good- chicken with lime and cilantro on the stove, rice and vegetables in the rice cooker. I’m nailing this.
Then, but of course, five minutes after the rice cooker has just started working its magic, the power goes out.
I give up on the chicken and the uncooked rice and the soggy vegetables and I decide to eat Nutella out of the jar with a spoon and a hard boiled egg. I stay in my dress and decide to sit down and read Anna Karenina, to stay with my classy and productive vibe even with no electricity.
I of course end up online, watching my cell phone battery dwindle and wondering when the power will come back on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying my Russian Lit, but power outages make me antsy. I’m always half waiting for it to come back on and have a hard time focusing on the merits of Russian peasantry methods of farming. I like Levin, though. He’s a solid dude. Mixed feelings on Anna. Vronsky’s a mess-
The power came back on ten hours later, in case you were wondering.
I went back to the team in the afternoon to finally have class. We sang some English karaoke and even played Just Dance. They gave English presentations and my teacher heart was totally happy. I put together a 1 minute teaser video for the teachers as we wait for our official classes to start next month.
I come back home only to see that the power is still off and now my bike is missing. Gone. I shake my head and go inside. There is absolutely nothing I can do about it except hope someone borrowed it and would soon return it. I hear that happens here.
I work out. In the Cambodian heat with no power to turn on the air con or even a fan, I’m literally slipping in my own sweat on the floor. I love it. Way better than cooking in a dress, this is my happy place.
An hour workout, and my bike is back outside. Yup, someone must have borrowed it. Cambodia. The question now is do I buy a lock, or do I stay in my neighbor’s good graces by letting them use it? Culture questions of the day.
I spend a lovely evening with another expat teacher named Terry, who reminds me how strong women can be. We eat papaya salad and chicken from an open air restaurant on the street corner. Life is good.
I would consider today a slow day, with the exception of being minorly panicked about the soaked hard drive. But it’s 11:30pm, the power came back on, and I was finally able to finish cooking my rice and get to Levin’s wedding (Spoiler!) Tomorrow is back to classes, making videos, teaching English, and eating that chicken that hopefully didn’t go bad from sitting out all day.