Week 3: Happy Heart and Rough start

After a very early 4.30 am start I headed to the airport to catch my flight to Singapore for the night. My next major stop is Cambodia but the only flight available had an 18hour lay over in Singapore, this initially was an inconvenience but turned out to be a complete blessing.

My grandparents-friends-son, his wife and their children had moved to Singapore a few years back from London. This was amazing as I got to stay with them for a night and have a little home from home experience.

I had such a good evening, their children are adorable, the little boy Charlie melted my heart as soon as I met him! The girls were amazing too! It was a lovely night spent eating pizza and beans for tea (my idea of heaven) and chatting about life. Caroline and I had such an intelligent, inspiring and entertaining chat that lasted way into the night – It’s amazing how you can meet people for the first time and instantly feel comfortable. It just all made my heart happy! I’m so lucky I got to meet them and wish them so much luck with their big move to Sydney!

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After saying goodbye, it was time to go back to the airport. They sent me on my way with a packed lunch which was lovely, little bits of care like that when your a solo traveller make such a difference! Singapore airport is amazing, definitely the nicest I’ve been in so far. Next stop Phnom Penh.

I arrived into a the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh just after a storm so the heat wasn’t to unbearable. I met my new co-ordinator Hong and we took a tuk tuk ride to the guest house I would be staying in for the night.

Cambodia has such an interesting atmosphere. It feels young and industrial in some ways but then bustling and alive with culture. I had dinner at my hostel and it was incredible – I may even go as far to say the best noodles I’ve ever eaten! At one point I ended up helping the owners family pull a rope attached to a massage chair he had won at the bank, they were pulling it up three stories – it was all very surreal! I met some interns staying in the same place so it was nice to have some people to chat to after the social craziness of Sri Lanka.

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The next day it was time for a whistle stop tour of Phnom Penh, me and Hong went to the market, where I ate a tarantula! Then we went to an awesome view point and drove past the memorial statue for the previous King and the palace on the river. After this it was time to travel for about 45 minutes to my project at the orphanage.

My first impressions were that the place was beautiful, and the kids were really welcoming and friendly. I was shown around and then taken to my room above the office. There was one other girl here for the first night but then she was leaving – this is where some problems began.

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Before starting this project I was told that there would be at least 3 volunteers at the project with me for the duration of my 3 weeks in Cambodia. This is not the case. I would be here by myself. This was quite difficult as I had just come from a volunteer house of around 22 people to just being me in a room from Monday to Friday.

I decided to just take it in my stride and give it my best effort. I began planning some lessons and started teaching properly on the Tuesday. Teaching is so hard!! I have a mixed ability class of children from 4-14 so it proved quite a challenge.

I muddled through for the rest of the week but I did find the nights quite lonely. I am really enjoying travelling but when you get too much time by yourself the distance between you and your loved ones feels a lot more real.

I gave the children a test on Friday and it was awesome to see that they had actually taken in some of what I had taught. On the Friday afternoon I headed back into the city to have some well deserved social time!

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Me, Hebe, Elina and another volunteer who I have only ever called higher but I’m sure his actual name is different, went to an incredible rooftop bar for some cocktails and then into the night market for some more delicious noodles. Hebe and I were heading to Siam Reap for the weekend so we chilled at the guest house before getting our night bus at 11pm.

I can’t wait to write all about the weekend!

Again well done for finishing! if you got this far, I’m sending you an invisible high 5 of appreciation!

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