Yes COVID changed our life here in Cambodia when we arrived. But with COVID having less impact on society at present, our life here is still very different from our first term (2017-2019). In our first term we came to an unknown place with an unknown language and so our way of life was unknown and needed to be figured out, almost from scratch.
This time we returned to a known place, a known role and a language that we had begun to know. When we first arrived we were going to a Khmer church, our kids were going to a Khmer International school. Now our kids attend an international school for missionary kids and we go to an English speaking international church. When we first arrived 6 years ago, we would call a tuk-tuk driver if we wanted to go anywhere. Now we use an app, similar to Uber for tuk-tuks. When we first arrived I would go to the ATM every week to get out cash. We are not cashless yet, but now we are close to 50% cashless transactions and now have banking apps on our phones (which we didn’t have 6 years ago in Australia). When we first arrived we had to weather blackouts. Now we have a generator to assist in those times. When we first arrived, I rode a bicycle for 3 years. Now I ride a moto and can’t picture Cambodia without me using one, it’s so convenient. When we first arrived, driving was out of the question for us. Now we use a car more than we use a tuk-tuk.
Life in Cambodia looks substantially different when you compare our first and second terms, COVID changes aside.