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Six Things I've Learned in Two Years in SE Asia

We are coming up on our two year anniversary in Cambodia, and I've been reflecting on what I've learned in the first two years of being a missionary. There are too many to mention, for sure, but here are just a few

I can do a lot of things I never knew I could do

I've learned how to drive a motorcycle through crazy Cambodian traffic during rush hour (Now should I do it? That's a different story!). I can cook many things from scratch and really enjoy it! I can share the Gospel in another languageand a Cambodian will actually understand what I'm saying!

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Everyday tasks of living can be overwhelming in another country

I remember when we first arrived in Battambang and went on a bicycle tour around the city. After going around the town for an hour or so, I asked, Is there a grocery store?. The no that followed put me in a panic that lasted for about the first month of being here. Where do I buy toilet paper? Where do I buy flour? What if I need Q-tips (I'm not sure why, but I remember wondering that)? WHERE DO I BUY STUFF??? Not only is it difficult to find where to buy things, when you do find it, you can only use cash! While we in the States over Christmas it was the first time we had used a credit card in almost two years. It had been so long we sort of forgot how to use it!

Now I've grown accustomed to the ritual that is our "grocery run". I buy fruit, vegetables, eggs, and chicken at the market. Then we drive to a cafe to get whole wheat bread. Then it's on to what we call the Drink Shop to buy milk, cheese, cereal, and anything frozen or canned. If we need cat food or cat litter, we can then visit the Thai Shop and on and on it goes!

The everyday life things in another country are something you never take for granted! When the power goes out, when you need to pay the water bill (you cannot do anything online), when you have to get a license plate for your motorcycle, these are all situations that can take an extreme amount of energy to sort out. This leads me to another thing I've learned.

It's ok to spend a little more money on things like air conditioning and cheese

Because the everyday tasks of living can be very overwhelming, we decided that it's ok for us to give ourselves a break sometimes! For us, that explains why we sleep with A/C, which is a luxury for most people here. It explains why we spend more on groceries than we did in the U.S. (since most things we want to eat are imported and expensive)! After going back and forth about some of these issues, we have realized that a missionary who has slept well during hot season is able to be much more effective than one who was lying in a pool of their own sweat all night.

And as far as the food one goes, we discovered soon after moving here that eating food we like was a small thing that makes a big difference! It makes me feel like me and makes some of the cultural difficulties a little easier to bear! As a side note, I will never again wonder why so many Asians who move to the States go to Asian grocery stores and cook Asian food all the time!

These are just a few things I've learned along the way. Six Things I've Learned in Two Years in SE AsiaPart 2 is coming soon

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Posted in Sport Post Date 07/08/2016


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