Living in Cambodia, we’ve grown old eyes for a place we now know much better. Having a visitor helps us remember what it was like to be new and share a little bit more about the basics of our life. One of our next blog series comes from Jenny Kemp’s visit to Phnom Penh in 2022. She asked Sam some questions to help our family, friends and supporters back in Australia better understand what our lives are like in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. These are the first two questions.
Jenny: Tell me a bit about where you live and what it’s like.
Sam: We live between the Phnom Penh Bible School and Hope International school, each are a 7 minute drive. We live in a housing complex called a borey, which has a guarded boom gate at the entrance. Our borey has 6 streets, with many Cambodian, Chinese and expat families. We have lived here for 6 years, and there are many more Hope families here now than when we first moved in (American, NZ, Aussie, UK and Danish). The houses are mostly 3 storey brick villas, with 4 bedrooms, each with an ensuite. We have a tiled front yard with a gate. The houses are only 10-15 years old, but they are not well built, and things seem to break frequently. The borey has a grassy area with a dilapidated playground, trees that are great for climbing and there’s corner store at the gate.
Jenny: What’s a typical shopping trip like?
Sam: My shopping list is complicated. I miss Coles and Woolies where I can buy everything I need for my weekly shop. Here I ride my bicycle to the supermarket near our house and buy some of the items, and ride home with about 3 bags, either in the basket or dangling off the handle bars. This is the supermarket pictured below. Then Craig or my house helper will buy fruit and veg from the market. I like to buy meat and dairy from an online store which delivers on a motorbike, either the same day or the next day. We buy nuts in bulk which also get delivered by moto. Every few weeks I try and go to one of the other big supermarkets to get the extra items on my list, eg probiotic yoghurt, vanilla essence, jars of sauce, shampoo, multi vitamins. The prices of identical items varies from store to store, so I also try to be thoughtful about which shops I go to first. The range of products available in each store varies month by month, so I need to be flexible in what I want to buy. It is a complicated process every week. I still have not had the courage to buy meat from the wet market!