Thursday, May 22, 2008


We have now been in Cambodia for 2 weeks! This is my second failed attempt to get pictures on a computer at the internet cafe by our apartment. Next time is sure to work.

Carson did wonderfully on the 25-hour journey to get here. A couple of normal crying episodes, but nothing lasting more than a couple of minutes. He is a good baby to put up with all of this! We are taking lots of precautions like using Deet mosquito spray when he goes out (which has to be washed off as soon as we come in), him sleeping under mosquito netting, lots of hand washing, and he and I staying cooped up most of the time! On a side note, despite my best efforts to prevent it, Carson has become a tummy sleeper by choice. I guess there's nothing you can do when he can roll! He also frequently scoots around in a circle during the night. I lay him down with his head facing one way, and the next morning it's facing the opposite direction. We also finally sleep-trained him here. (After several failed attempts and way too much spoiling by me earlier.) We don't call it "cry it out;" I prefer "work it out." We did it pretty gradually, never letting him cry more than a half hour or so, and comforting him pretty often. Last night he slept from 7:30 p.m. til 5:00 a.m., when he woke up smiling and desperately hungry! Good boy!

I am getting used to Cambodia with time. A week ago my top descriptions of Phnom Penh would have included smelly, dirty, dangerous, and nasty, among other things. Ok, so those words still apply. But I am coming to appreciate other aspects of the country and culture. While here, I read a book called Survival in the Killing Fields, by Ngor Heing and Roger Warner, which is by far the book that has had the greatest emotional impact on me that I have ever read. It's not the first account I've read from a survivor of the Khmer Rouge, but definitely the most tragic. As I interact with Cambodians here, I am struck with the realization that everyone has been affected by the Khmer Rouge takover only 33 years ago. Anyone here over the age of 40 survived and remembers the horrors and has lost most, if not all of their close family members to torture and death. I have a great respect for them even though they are the ones slaving away to sell me my lunch for only one dollar or driving me around the city for a meager salary. This country is still recovering from its literal destruction, and it is interesting to observe the recovery first-hand.

In other news, Rick received an acceptance to Wake Forest's medical school, and we are deliberating renouncing our choice to go to Georgetown in favor of the more affordable and nicer living circumstances that Winston-Salem, North Carolina has to offer. Such a tough decision!!!

So, we are surviving here in Cambodia! More to come soon!


Kim said...

I can't believe you are already in Cambodia. That is so exciting. Keep us posted on all of your adventures!

JenSwen said...

Page! I've been wondering how you are and anxious for news. You have an admirable good attitude about things. Can't wait for more details and pictures.

Also, way to go on the sleep training!

Meet the Staffords said...

hello!!! I am so glad your guys made it there safely! You will have such a wonderful summer there! Take advantage of all you can, you'll most likely never get to do it again! You guys are accomplishing so much!! And great choice on medical schooL! Save money wherever you can! I hope all is well, it was so good to hear news from you!

Gwen said...

I don't know if you know me Page, but I used to live in Rick's ward when he was in the Colony and I volunteered with him at Secial Olymics. I think I found your blog from Facebook, and have enjoyed periodically checking it to see more pictures of your adorable son.

On your trip, may I give a piece of advice? I went to India last Fall to do public health research. I was also overcome by how smelly, dirty, and unsanitary everything was. I was in a small rural village and could speak to no one. I even got groped a few times. It was awful. I was doing an internship in a city an hour or so bus ride away from where all of the other BYU students were so I spent most of the time on my own. I was so overcome with how dirty everything was (are you using a squatter?), that I inadvertently focused on that rather than on the other aspects of living and working in rural India that I was exeriencing.

I think I wrote an email home complaining to my family about everything and my sister wrote back saying something like, "Gwen, you will never have an experience like this again (I have since gotten married and know exactly what she meant!). You will be talking about this trip for years. Try and get the most you can out of it."

I'm not saying this is your attitude, but I can relate to the initial shock of being in South Asia. I hope that helps and that you have a great trip. What an experience!

Whitney said...

Page! I saw your blog and wanted to say hi. I'm glad that you made it safely to Cambodia. I'm sure it's definitely an adjustment (I know Russia sure is). Good luck!

Mike and Carly said...

I LOVE the Carolinas! They are so so beautiful. When I was growing up I always said I would end up there. Fun!

I am so amazed how you handle life in Cambodia. I am having somewhat of a hard time in California... it is fun, scenic, but SMOKEY! Everyone here smokes and it drives me crazy. I think my family is going to return to Provo addicted to nicotine!