Sophia, Lena, Bella, and I found this awesome REAL pizza restaurant in the middle of Phnom Penh and were so excited! The pizza was so awesome we went back again.
On March 16th, Sister Jessica, the Provincial of the Salesian Sisters in Myanmar and Cambodia, concluded her visit to the Teuk Thla community. She stayed here for a week and a half to observe the community and to speak with every group in the community — the Sisters, volunteers, teachers, training teachers, staff, and students. The community put together a big program to thank Sister Jessica on her last day. As part of the program, I was asked to dance in a traditional Khmer dance of the Phnum local people who live in the outer provinces of Cambodia. I played the “lead girl” in the dance, and teacher Theary (another FTHS teacher) played my boyfriend. The dance was a surprise for everyone, including all of my students who did not perform with me!
I celebrated my 22nd birthday on March 14th in Phnom Penh, Cambodia! It was definitely a birthday to remember. The Sisters prayed for me during all their prayers and Fr. Vincent gave me a birthday shout-out in his homily during Mass. I had a special birthday chair with flowers and birthday signs. During lunch time, my students surprised me with a birthday cake and many home-made cards wishing me good health, more money, and more beauty. At night, Sister Blanchi made me Indian food, which was AMAZING! The Sisters also gave me a chocolate cake and fun, little presents, such as two mini jars of peanut butter.
From March 8th to 10th, the entire teaching and non-teaching staff went on their annual staff outing. This year, the staff chose to visit Ratanakiri and Kratie provinces in Northern Cambodia. The bus ride there was quite long… 13 hours… but we had fun! We listened to A LOT of Khmer karaoke, watched Karate Kid, and ate lots of food. In Ratanakiri and Kratie, we visited several lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. My favorite was a big waterfall that lies on the boarder between Laos and Cambodia. Overall, the trip was a lot of fun with the teachers, staff, Sisters, and other volunteers!
On March 2nd, the Teuk Thla community celebrated Gratitude Day, a Salesian Feast Day started by Don Bosco! The community spent one month preparing for this Feast Day by learning and practicing dances, songs, and plays. Each student, teacher, staff member, and Sister had a heart envelop into which others could put thank you notes. I celebrated Gratitude Day two times — once with the whole community and once with just the Sisters. All five of us volunteers performed a dance sequence for Gratitude Day. Each of us taught the group a dance that is characteristic or representative of our country in some way. Here is what we danced:
The Tango taught by Sonia from Argentina
The Vienna Waltz taught by Lena from Austria
The Cotton Eye Joe taught by me
Schuhplattler (a traditional Austrian folk dance) taught by Bella from Austria
A combination of Malay, Chinese, and Hindi dances taught by Sophia from Singapore
For the first and maybe last time in my life, I celebrated Chinese New Year! We had a big feast in the community with different Chinese dishes. Sister Justina, Sister Rosalia, Sister Lakana, and Sophia, who are all part Chinese, performed a few dances. We also watched an interesting video about 2018 being the year of the dog. Woof. Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh1k-mRWIDs
Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday happened to fall on the same day this year!! Yay! The night before, Lena, Bella, Sophia, and I watched the movie Valentine’s Day and ate a bunch of sweets. The next day, I taught my students about St. Valentine and the history of Valentine’s Day. Also, I taught them fun Valentine’s vocabulary and sayings so they could make Valentine’s cards for their friends, teachers, and the Sisters. My students were very sweet and gave me cards, decorated pens, and home-made paper flowers!