Thursday, December 30, 2010

Laos, how i love thee....

on christmas day, we flew from phnom penh to luang prabang, laos via bangkok.  we arrived mid-day to a quaint airport in which one walks on the tarmac to get to the "terminal".  applied for visas, waited in two immigration lines, and picked up our bags to be picked up to go about 20 minutes outside of town into the jungle.  after a bumpy ride, we arrived at this oasis in the jungle.  it was gorgeous!  we stayed in the jungle for two nights.  the time was great, relaxing and full of rest.  we ate, slept, talked, played, and just did a lot of nothing.  it was fabulous.  the first morning there paul and i walked to the elephant village about 15 minutes away to ride elephants.  it was amazing.  it was early, there was a mist looming over the jungle and we rode about 25 minutes or so.  the cool part was that we walked into the nam khan river.  very cool.  i took tons of pictures and our mahout took some pics of us too.  a great morning activity.  the rest of the day we ate, napped and paul played some video games while i read.  the weather in the jungle was quite chilly which was a nice change from the hot and steamy of phnom penh.  i really loved sleeping with all the doors and windows wide open listening to nature's soundtrack.

the next part of the trip we stayed in town in luang prabang.  the guesthouse was small, simple and sufficient.  we did some shopping, ate at various places, had massages, and took heaps of photos.  the first night in town we met friends from seoul that were spending the holiday in laos as well.  we had dinner at the nicest, best rated place in luang prabang--l'elephant.  it was quite good, to be honest.  i had the best pork loin i have ever eaten with garlic mashed potatoes that melted in my mouth.  for a starter, i had a fabulous pumpkin and coconut cream soup with kaffir lime.  wow!

overall, paul and i loved laos and we will go back sooner than later.  it's a unique, laid back, and edgey country.  we loved the vibe, the people, the food and the company.

click here for pictures from our adventures in laos.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

holidays are here.....

well, it's official....i am on holiday break.  slept in this morning and just planning on hanging out for the next three weeks.  friends arrive late on tuesday and will spend three weeks with us and we could not be happier about that.   it's been a crazy semester and hard to believe that we have lived in phnom penh for almost six months....nuts!  we love it here and pray that it continues to be a great place for us.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


this is the best way to describe my today.  not all messy, but full of a range of emotions.  so much i don't want to go into it, but i will leave you with this...

today i felt:
tired, sick, angry, frustrated, sad, bored, impatient, stressed, vengeful, thankful, happy, pissed off, solitary, hungry, appreciative, uncreative, trapped, tearful, sorrow, joy, full, loved.

looking forward to the long winter break that starts three days....

Monday, December 6, 2010

have not fallen off the planet....

just trying to get my report card comments written and out of the way so i can get back to said blogging and writing/sharing for fun!  will return before the weekend....i hope.  if not, i might just quit all together.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

december photo project ~ 4 dec 2010

homemade apple's what for breakfast!

shockingly, i am up quite early for a saturday morning in the falgout house.  i am hungry and don't want another bowl of oats, apples and cinnamon.  so i went with option #2--homemade apple pie.  i am catching up on this week's episodes of grey's anatomy and private practice while paul sleeps in more.

december photo project ~ 3 dec 2010

i totally am in love with animals.  currently, i want a dog more than anything.  last night we went to dinner and stopped at a new shop called the warehouse.  it's a wine shop that had all sorts of good stuff to gaze at, taste and buy.  the owner is quite nice and has a dog called "lunch".  he is a golden/lab mix and a huge ball of fun that i got to love on while tasting a white chenin blanc from south africa.  it was heaven to me.  it only makes me desire for our own dog more, but so worth it and fills a piece of my animal loving heart.  the hard part is knowing that lunch has about nine pups that need a home....stab a spoon in my heart.  we just don't live in a house/apartment that is conducive to dogs.  sadness.  i love my cats a lot, but i also love the idea of having a dog i could take everywhere with us.  i have even flirted with the idea of asking if i could have a dog as a class pet.  how awesome would that be.  i equate it to having a therapy dog or training a seeing eye dog.  the kids would love it and i would hope the dog would to.  who would not love being loved on by 19 lively kiddos all the time?  ok, i am done for now.  still missing a dog in our life......

Thursday, December 2, 2010

december photo project ~ 2 dec 2010

today  i introduced the concept of tangrams to my students in relation to geometry.  we followed step-by-step directions to cut all seven tans out of a pre-cut square.  then when they had finished cutting all the bits, i asked them to put them back together in a square.  they had such a time trying to work that out....anything from "this won't work" to "it's not possible".  the joy of watching them work it out.  i am reminded them that just a few moments ago that they took a square and cut it up, so it was truly possible.  it's so rewarding to watch them struggle and have tension in their thinking.  it is true learning and thinking which brings me pure joy as a teacher.  good times at school today!  love these kiddos!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


i can't believe that i have been blogging about life overseas for almost four and a half years now.  time has flown and so much has happened.  i am in the process of re-evaluating my blog life and what i want to do with all the blog such things i love and like.  i don't plan on ceasing to blog, but maybe just narrowing/fine tuning my focus a bit.  i love blogging and the "friends" i have made through keeping up with life.  stay tuned for more.

december photo project ~ 1 dec 2010

on the way home from school i pass all sorts of stuff, but i think this best describes my "home"--cambodia.  currently there is some conference going on and whenever diplomats visit from surrounding countries the khmer government buildings deck themselves out.  it's funny, sad and a bit odd to me, but whatever they need to do to make themselves feel better.  today the weather was nice on the way home from school and i thought all the colors out front of a building for the cambodian government looked great!  so glad to catch a shot of the flags as i drove by in the tuk tuk.

canon powershot sd1100is

December 1...YEAH!

It's honestly hard to believe that it's already here.  Hard to believe that we have lived in Phnom Penh for almost six months, I am near halfway through my first year of school at the my school, our trip to Laos is getting closer......nuts! 

I have also decided to find ways that I can be creative and share my artsiness with others.  I have decided to take part in the December Photo Project.  I found the idea from Sara's blog who encouraged me to join too. 

December Photo Project

Monday, November 29, 2010

monday weigh in...

the locale was a very cool place and a restaurant i love now....k'nyay (in khmer it means ginger).  the part owner  is from the UK and been a vegan for twenty years.  the food is amazing and they do have some meat items on the menu.  it suits all walks of life really, but the good part is that much of the menu is so healthy for you.

weigh in...up 2.2lbs/1kg from the last weigh in two weeks ago.  it's frustrating, but not a surprise since we went to vietnam and had thanksgiving.  honestly i thought it might be more, but i had been monitoring myself on the scale.  what done is done.  oh well.....this week i am trying to cut out wheat/gluten and dairy again b/c i think one of them might be doing a doozie to my stomach.  not sure what one, but my stomach has not been happy.  i am also going to eat as little sugar as possible.

here's to another week and getting back on the bandwagon.......

Sunday, November 28, 2010

american thanksgiving....

a three meal affair for me this year....

meal #1--at school with my kiddos--thursday's lunch in the cafeteria was traditional thanksgiving fare.  i had turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy with three rolls with butter.  yum!  the best school lunch i have ever had, i think.  i went back to the classroom quite stuffed and in need of an afternoon nap, but i had to rally through the afternoon.

meal #2--at lone star saloon with paul--this place is great.  the owner is from fort worth and knows how to make food from the south.  we have been there once before where i was able to quench my hunger for home.  we went in and learned that the only thing on the menu thursday was thanksgiving supper.  yum!  here is what the supper included--a before meal bit of two stuffed peppers, one deviled egg, and a small helping of a pasta salad.  main meal--turkey, ham, mashed potatoes with gravy, cornbread stuffing, baked mac and cheese, green beans, piece of bread, and a side of cranberry sauce.  dessert--choice of pumpkin pie or apple cobbler.  we chose the pumpkin pie.  the cost was $14 per person and truly was AWESOME!  it hit the spot like no other.  it was just like home.  the plate was overflowing with yummy, home food goodness.  paul and i came home and proceeded to take the "after meal" nap for a few hours.  it was great and the only thing missing was football.  fun times!

meal #3--at E's house with paul + three other school friends A, D and G--E insisted that she host a thanksgiving dinner.  i was game and thought it was a great idea.  she made turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, pecan pie, apple cake, and roasted pumpkin.  we brought pumpkin pie, homemade rolls, my grandma's fruit salad, and some caramel spice buttons.  she was not sure how it would all turn out, but it was a success.  a nice night spent with friends and sharing our american thanksgiving with two south africans and a englishman.  E, paul and i are all american.  it was fun night and i ate way tooo much.  i got home and had to lay down to subside the overstuffed tummy.  ugh.  it was worth it and we already decided we would do it again next year.  well done, E!

 me, A and E (cook/hostess extraordinaire)

desserts...both get the thumbs up!

saigon, vietnam for water festival

paul and i had quite the adventure over the long four day weekend for water festival.  we took the bus to saigon to get away and visit our dear friend, Jen!  saturday morning we left PP at 6:30am headed for the border and interested to see what would happen.  the bus is a cheap way to travel--$24 round trip for each one of us.  the ride includes a snack and a bottle of water.  it was nice and quite comfy.  the old school (read late 80s and 90s) karaoke music became a bit much, but other than that we will travel by bus again.  the most interesting points of the bus trip were crossing a body of water by ferry where there was not a proper dock.  the ferry just pulls up to the dirt "landing" and we drive across the "bridge" that is attached to the boat.  interesting is all i could say.  the other tidbit was the border crossing.  leaving cambodia was not a problem--we all had to get off the bus, listen for our name to be called from our passport and then get back on the bus.  then the bus drives about 50 yards (maybe) and then we go through the border check for vietnam.  this time we have to get off the bus, collect all of luggage, stand in a building which had no air circulation at all, strain to hear the Khmer/Vietnamese man calling out names one at a time at a barely audible volume, pass through, put our bags through a x-ray machine, walk outside, load our bags back in the bus, and get back on.  it was nuts!  two more hours on the bus and we arrived at our stop in saigon.  whew!

we checked into our hotel, well really hotel #2 since the one we had originally made reservations with had a water issue and rerouted us to another one in a better location where the room was better than the original.  Yeah!  we met Jen for a late afternoon snack and then walked over to her favorite Indian dive.  it was good and fun to hang out and catch up.  she is a great friend whom i met in seoul my first year there.  she was in korea teaching english and we met on skype.  crazy, i know, but it all worked out for the best.  we had coffee at the coffee bean which paul was thrilled about, talked some  more and then turned in for the night.

sunday, we met up for a late breakfast and walked around the city.  we were on the look out for a spa to get massages at and paul wanted to get some work done while the girls got pampered and did some browsing in the shops.  it was good afternoon.  jen and i had a lot to catch up on and share.  it was so great to be with her.  she is living there, so it was fun to get her input on the city.  we went to dinner at jaspas which is tucked away off the street in a alley.  the food was good and as always conversation even better.  the only downside is that we did not get to play scrabble, our tradition and favorite pass time when we hang out.  next time for sure.....

jen had to work on monday and tuesday, so paul and i spent much of the day just wandering around the city.  it rained a bit, so we were a little wet getting around.  we ate sushi for dinner which was divine and wonderful.  saigon has a great japanese community and quite a few places to eat.  we love this part of saigon.  we looked for a few of our favorite shops only to find them no longer in the same place.

tuesday we left on the bus about 1pm and went through the same sort of adventure coming back to PP.  the border was slightly different.  vietnam was the same, but more tolerable this time since we knew what to expect.  it was a little less hot the second time.  on the cambodia side we had to unload ourselves and wait in line at immigration like stalls to get cleared back into the country.  we also went through a customs like experience, but without our luggage.  back on the bus and four hours to PP.

we arrived back to news that there had been a massive tragedy on monday evening.  about 375 had been killed in a stampede on the bridge at water festival and some 700 injured.  as soon as i had cell phone service, i texted my khmer friends to see if they were okay.  we met sophea, our tuk tuk driver, at the bus stop and immediately asked if his family was okay.  they were okay, but he was obviously shaken up about the incident.  it was crazy.  PP was quiet and had a weird, solemn vibe about it for the next few days.  ming, our housekeeper, and meng eang, my teaching assistant, all responded back that they were all okay.  thank God! it's been interesting to see how the Khmer people respond and react to such a tragedy.  the news was filled with many stories and accounts of what might or might not have happened or caused the panic on the bridge.  last thursday was national day of mourning.  we had school, but i had seven students out.  the whole week was out of sorts and carried a solemn vibe to it.  i was thankful to finish the week, have a rest, and try it again this week with a fresh start.  it's been heartbreaking to watch a country go through so much pain and sorrow especially a country that is already struggling to move forward.

i am thankful for many things.

crazy, nuts, hectic...whatever you might call it

that is what life has been like for us here in PP.  a bit of everything.

end of detox was okay.  i all up lost about 10lbs/4.5kg.  it is good, but days #15-21 were sucky.  it was the hardest part--all the novelty had worn off, boring had set in and tears were making an every other day appearance.  all over food!  it was rough.  paul was amazing and did his best to support and encourage me.  i stopped officially on day #21.  we were going to saigon for a long weekend and thanksgiving was around the corner.  i need to be more sensible as i just have thrown it all out the window.  since being back to eating "normal" food, i feel much more tired and my tummy is not sure what to make of it all.  lesson learned, going to eat sensible as much as possible.

paul had an amoeba and then two days before we headed to saigon he spiked another fever.  what?!?!  yes, i was thinking this since the dude NEVER gets sick.  this time he felt okay, but was having wicked nasty stomach pains.  he went to the clinic, this time without a fuss, and they concluded he had a bacteria and gave him general antibiotics.  whew!  he is now finished with all his medications for both illnesses and back in the groove of things.  praise God!

sam, our senior citizen kitty, is aging.  on friday morning, i woke to him laid out on the floor awake and breathing, but making no movements.  this is highly unlike him since it was morning and he knows i give out the food then.  he was just laying there listless.  ugh, my heart stopped.  paul picked him and up and put him on his feet just after he tried to puke laying down.  he wobbled this way and that, leaned against the wall for support as he attempted to walk towards the living room.  we have decided after much observation for the 50 hours or so that he must have had a seizure/stroke.  his left hind leg is working, but not as well as it was.  he is back up and at'em.  he is interested in food again and makes no bars about meowing annoyingly in the mornings to get my attention.  :)  God, i love him.  he has struggled a few times getting up on the couch.  sometimes he can make it and other times his back legs don't want to cooperate.  such a bummer watching him grow older.  we just love on him a lot and try to make him as comfy as possible.  my dear ol' man kitty!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

our cat, india

india is the fickle one in the family.  she likes attention on her terms, not when anyone wants to give it.  she's always been independent and an observer.  she is not the lap cat when anyone comes over.  she usually hides when new people come over and waits for her moment to make an appearance.  she is great, just an independent feline.  

as of late though she has really seem to get more comfortable being close to me and paul.  she has always been a little dog-like when it comes time for me to go to bed.  she gets excited and follows me to bed.  hopes on the bed before i can get it, walks around, meows, and throws herself down seeming to say, "okay pet me."  when i get into bed she likes to lay down at arm's length...not too close, but close enough that i can pet and scratch her. lately though she has been laying down beside me and seems to like sleeping a bit closer than before.  i love it and hope this trend continues.  she is a great cat and has been in bed most of the day with me today.  she just curls up and takes naps.  she will move after a bit, but just to make a new place for her to lie on.  earlier when i was still under the blankets she decided to have a nap on me.  she slept there for a while before i decided to needed to make a potty run and check on paul too.  

i love her.  she is great cat and her personality is challenging at times, but oh so worth the wait when she decides to love on you.  

cravings and other interesting tidbits

since the beginning of detox i have felt quite great.  there was a lingering headache at first, but i just kept drinking lots and lots of water which helps.  there have been a few other interesting things happening worth noting....

first, i have dreams about eating something i am not supposed to.  the other night i was dreaming that i ate a piece of pizza and mid slice i said to myself, "wait, i cannot eat this." and promptly threw it away.  in the same night i was at starbucks with my mom and sipping on coffee when again i realized i cannot drink this.  again, i threw it out immediately.  funny times.

the last few days i have been craving sweets.  nothing crazy, but i would love a piece of pumpkin pie or one of the tasty cupcakes/muffins i have read about on blogs i follow.  it's interesting that of all things this is what i have been craving.  i am a huge fan of pumpkin lately, so honestly it's not crazy that i want something sweet and pumpkiny.

organic oats and fresh fruit helps, but so does freshly made hummus with veggies sticks.  gosh i love food.

day 5, 6, and 7 of detox

sorry there has been a bit of quiet on this here blog, but it's been quite the adventure at the falgout house lately.  paul has been sick, but monday night spiked a fever again.  i put my foot down and said we are going to the doctor in the morning (tuesday).  i arranged for a sub at school and i am oh so thankful i did.  i woke up paul at 10:30 to get ready for the doctor.  he made it downstairs, but proceeded to pass out, sweat through a shirt, and hit his head/face all in one go.  stressful and i began to panic a little on the inside all the while playing it cool on the outside.  he took a shower and we slowly made it downstairs to the tuk tuk.  when we got to the clinic they offered him a bed to lay in while we waited to see the doctor.  after a few pokes and tests, it was confirmed that he has entamoeba histolytica.  basically a nasty parasite living in his tummy and bowels.  yuk!  they are very common here and everyone and anyone gets them.  no matter where you eat or how careful you are, it happens. he has to take meds for three weeks to kill the parasite and any eggs that may be dormant as well.  he was excited that it seemed cool since he had to get stuck with a needle.  he is such a little kid when it comes to the doctor and such.  his response after the tests was, "it better be something cool at least."  it made me laugh.  just like a little kid, but instead from an almost thirty year old.  he was also dehydrated too, but instead of getting IV fluids we promised that he would drink lots and lots of water.  he is feeling better, but not great.  he has done a lot of sleeping since we got home.  he has taken three doses of meds so far.  the doctor said it would take a few days to feel even remotely better.  i decided to take off another day of school to stay home to keep an eye on him.  his whole passing out episode made me nervous and i wanted to make sure he is okay before returning back to school.  family first at this house!

as for the detox, all is well on that front.  no slip ups for me.  i am still eating and drinking as per the rules and feel great.  my quality of sleep has improved which is always nice and i feel less tired in the afternoons.  usually i would be keen to take a nap in the afternoon, but not getting that feeling as of late.  yeah for that.  although i do still love to sleep and rest.  one of my gifts.  this morning paul and i both slept in (shocking i know) and i just had some organic oats with fresh apple and mangos and a dash of cinnamon, YUM!  not to mention i ate it in bed while wearing a sweater.  i love cool weather.  unfortunately, the cool weather in my bedroom is by no means natural but air conditioner induced.  :)  i am a freak, i know.

on monday evening i had my second eat, move and improve meeting.  it was good.  i learned about sugar and glycemic index.  it was interesting and really made me think about all the sugar one can eat without even realizing it.  i also got weighed again which was good.  i love 2kg which is about 4 pounds.  WOO HOO for me.  i am super proud that all this work is working for now.  it's always rewarding.

so far a success....i marked my half way point on my calendar on monday--nov 11th is the half way mark.  nov 26th is the last day of detox for me.  it's been so easy and i have been reflecting on what changes i can easily keep at after detox is finished.  it's awesome and i am so glad i made the choice to do it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

day #4 detox...

paul has been quite sick the last 24 hours.  he had a crazy fever much of the night.  we had another lazy, restful day at home.

i went out for about an hour today to get food and make a few trips to the various grocery stores to stock up on more fruit and the basics.  paul has been munching on pizza much of the day.  i got a salad at vego while i was out.  so good.  i made my own dressing when i got home and added some chicken and wild rice.  it was yummy.  we have been drinking fresh fruit smoothies too.  for dinner i had a bowl of roasted red pepper soup that we ordered in yesterday.  we took a long afternoon nap which was super nice.  paul is feeling much better now although he does have a cough and feels yuck, but the fever has gone.  dayquil is his friend.

we have been chilling on the couches this evening watching tv--lost season 6 and the office.  paul is now eating homemade salsa and chips.  the salsa is soooo good.  ming makes killer salsa.

day #4 is being written in as a success!  woo hoo!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

detox day #3

one more day down, only 27 more to go....

today was good.  we have not really left the house today since paul is feeling ill.  we ordered in food from k'nyay which may be one of my new favorite places.  i ordered more than i would have since i figured that would be what i eat all day.  i started with the fresh spring rolls and they were yummy.  after watching a few episodes of lost, i went out by myself to run some and grocery store.  the weather today was cool and rainy.  i am glad we weren't out much.  paul laid on the couch much of the day before going back upstairs to bed.  i ate some carrot and coriander soup later in the day.  i also have been making fruit smoothies much of the day......watermelon, mango and pineapple.  yummy.  i made paul some steel cut oats for his dinner topped with some fresh cut mango.  he was happy.  after he went to bed i warmed up the red curry and wild rice for my own dinner.  i caught up on my grey's and private practice episodes for this past week.  i am now working on another crocheted bracelet.  just hanging out until it's time for bed....

another successful day in the journey to health....

Friday, October 29, 2010

detox day #2

today has been great.  i have felt really good which makes me happy, a bit worried, and wondering if this is working and/or i am doing it right.  maybe it just takes more time....i guess i will find out soon enough.

today's breakfast was a success--green smoothie with 2c pineapple, 2c watermelon and 2c green escaroles lettuce.  super tasty and did the trick.  snack was 1c mango.  :)  lunch was grilled chicken, 1c wild rice, 1c watermelon, and the left over veggies that ming made from the night before.  so good.  after school snack was 1c pineapple.

i had been thinking about dinner all day long.  we had planned to go to k'nyay which is a cool little place that is khmer food that has the twist of vegan & vegetarian, but they also serve meat.  the fun part about this place is that it has a great story, but more importantly almost all the food on the menu is safe for me to eat on detox.  :)  yeah for that.  i ordered chicken amok which is a traditional khmer dish.  it's like a curry and served with wild rice.  it was divine and with each bite i felt like i was breaking ALL the rules, but i wasn't.  paul ordered homemade pesto pasta with vegetables.  he said it was amazing too!  he said that when i can eat wheat/flour again that i should order it to celebrate b/c it is just that good.  oh, i forgot to mention that we had fresh spring rolls as an appy and they were awesome.  it came with some homemade peanut sauce that i now love.  i could eat it as salad dressing.  the spring rolls were fresh and full of flavor.

back at home now, drinking water and watching the last few episodes of lost season five with my hubs.  i do have to say that day #2 has been a success.  go me!

day #1 of detox

today has been great.  i have felt good pretty much all day except for the minor lingering headache.  to jump start the morning i had a glass of water with lime juice.  breakfast was a bust though.  i made a green smoothie and it was kind of gross.  i used 2c spinach, about 1c watermelon, some water and a bit of lime juice.  ugh.  it was not good and i could not finish it.  i had the urge to gag when i tried.  so i had some almonds instead and drank some water.  for snack, i had some carrots.  i was pretty hungry by lunch which was also tasty.  i had some asian noodles with chicken and some mango.  ming makes the asian noodles and they are yummy.  drank more water through out the day and tried to think away the headache that was still trying to move into my head.  after school on my way home i was hungry again and ate some almonds and drank some water.  when i got home the house smelled so good---aromas of ginger.  dinner must be good is what i thought.  sure enough it was.....chicken with ginger, steamed veggies with a bit of olive oil and garlic, and wild rice.  wow!  it was delicious and after i felt so full.  after dinner i was headed to my SnB group that meets once a month.  we met at a cafe called fresco that is down in BKK.  i was tempted by all the yummy food and drinks but stuck to my plan.  every time i had an inkling to eat something "banned" i just drank my water.  :)  i also had some raw almonds in my bag in case i got hungry.

all in all, the day was a success.....only 29 more to go.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

a journey to health

begins with baby steps.

well, i am starting my journey.  i joined a class that is called "eat, move and improve."  it goes for eight weeks and hopes to educate me on my choices, my health, and all things related.  we had our first meeting last night at the cool restaurant here in town called k'nyay.  it's awesome.  all healthy and gorgeous foods.  i cannot wait to go back on friday night.  i cannot wait to share the goodness with paul.  :)

for the next few days i have to work on making a plan for myself--what i can eat, what i will eat, what i need to buy to make this happen, talking to our awesome housekeeper and explain the banned foods to her, coming up with a plan b when in sticky situations.  there must be a plan.  i love the quote--those who fail to plan, plan to fail.  i know this to be true.  i have to have a plan so i can be successful.  on thursday, i will begin a 30 day elimination detox that involves NOT eating any of the following in any form for 30 days---no caffeine, no dairy, no wheat or gluten, no sugar, no processed foods, and no alcohol.  should be an adventure for sure.

today i just started small since there was already lunch in the fridge for me.  i skipped my morning coffee this morning (blerg) or sugar.  one small step.  i have been journaling all my food, how i am feeling, water intake and anything else related.  i have had a chronic headache since last week and hope that cleansing my system will help eliminate them all together.  so far, so good.

baby steps, mandy, baby steps.  follow me, encourage me, pray for me, and hope that i can see benefits before i get sidetracked.  i need and want to be healthy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

ants....we have a problem....

we have ants.  we have them everywhere.  today we discovered they are on our towels in the bathroom.  argh.  what do we use to kill them?  any non toxic solutions?  we have them near food and not near food.  sometimes they are in the most unlikely of places.  please help.....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

pictures of life here in the penh

i have posted quite a few pics on facebook, but i know that some of you are not on facebook.  i am working on posting them on flickr or google picasa, but need an evening to do so.  be patient, dear friends.  i am keen to share our adventures here with you visually.

Monday, October 18, 2010

oh mondays...

most likely my least favorite day of the week since i do have to wake to an alarm clock for the first time since the friday before, but my teaching monday is quite a nice ease into the week.  each monday we have late start which means that i don't have my students until 10am, so between 7:30-9:30 we have collaboration meetings, pro d times, and team planning.  i am not usually fully awake yet, but it's a good deal for me.  i don't have to immediately be "on" and can wrap my head around the week before diving in.  i teach for a few hours and then we have lunch.  after lunch i teach thirty more minutes before my kiddos are off to music for an hour and a half and then the last thirty minutes of the day i read aloud to them.  it's a sweet deal.

today was a bit out of sorts as i am attempting to get organized, but it's been slow.  i am using google docs for my lesson plans, observation notes, calendar, etc.  i have not gotten all the standard things put into my lesson plan spreadsheets, so when E arrived to do word work i stood there saying in my brain, "oh no!  it's word work time and i don't have the new sorts ready for this week."  i quickly walked to the computer and made it happen.  voila!  situation of disaster avoided.

yeah me!

things i love about phnom penh.....

  • the ride to and from school during the week--lots of cool and odd things to see, i never get bored just watching it all go by.
  • the crazy amount of options for food/dining out
  • the colors
  • the warmness of the people
  • the bright smiles of the family that lives on the first floor of our building
  • my super comfy bed with the air con on and i am cuddled under blankets
  • iced vietnamese coffee whenever i want it
  • my student's encouragement in teaching and helping me learn khmer
  • the rain although sometimes annoying
  • the awesome fresh fruit choices
enough for now.......more to come.......

Friday, October 15, 2010

totally amazing....

yesterday and today i have been in three way conferences with my students and their parents.  i have watched many of my students sit, read their work in English, and then instantly translate it into their home language--Khmer, Thai, Chinese.  crazy awesome!  i sit and listen in total amazement that they are able to do this.  i have a tough time thinking and speaking in English much less translating as i go.  AWESOME!


i have not felt the need to blog lately.  i have, but it was a bit of an unhealthy rant, so i spared you the drama.
not sure why.  i am feeling a bit uninspired.
i am comparing myself to the amazing blogs i follow and wondering what i can really write that someone wants to read.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

my lack of blogging....

i have no updated in a bit.  no real reason why that i can think of.  just feeling really uninspired at the moment.  yes, we have moved countries, but things don't seem as crazy to write about it even though i know that they really are.  not sure what the deal is.

things are good here.  paul has been super busy lately which is good.  he was worried since things slow down in the summer and had not really picked up, but now they have.  school is great.  i am loving my job.

i am dealing with some allergy related asthma stuff.  it has been on and off since we got here and school started up.  been using inhalers as needed, but am hoping that i will adjust and not be dependent on using them regularly.

we are headed to seoul in just over a week....we are looking forward to going "home".  seeing friends, loving on the city, tasting foods we love and cannot get here in PP.  :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


not that many of you care about it, but i think i am officially hooked.  we are in season two already.  i am really enjoying the characters and learning about their stories.  i still think there are parts that are stupid and cheesy, but it is what it is. 

our regular tv shows start up in a few weeks and i am really looking forward to that........

might need to make a night or two of the week for tv watching, so we can stay balanced and not become total tv-holics. 


 an update from the penh about us....

things are good.  otterball has been picking up here and there, so paul has been busy with projects.  he spends many days at the gloria jean's coffee shop--drinking coffee and working away.  they all know him now and when we walk in they already start his order----regular iced latte.  it makes me smile that he has a "place" to work and hang out.  other days he stays at home and makes the second bedroom his office.  he has a really creative "desk" that he likes and allows his laptop to cool.  it is Styrofoam packing from our microwave.  he cracks the door, turns up the air con, and leans against the pillows on the bed.  quite the set up, i think.  not to mention he has constant coffee coming from downstairs due to ming, our amazing housekeeper.  she brews him iced vietnamese coffee with sweet milk daily---at least one or two per day.  he is spoiled. 

school is going well.  i love my job and the kids are awesome.  i am blessed to be working with two great guys on my "team".  they both teach grade 5, but we plan the same units of inquiry so we can collaborate and share.  so far, it has been awesome.  we all have fabulous ideas to share and easily think aloud with each other while planning.  one is from england and the other from south africa.  i feel valued and respected here.  my ideas are accepted and thought about.  there is much freedom to do what i truly love and for me that is huge.  it has been such a joy to come to work and know that i don't have to worry about the small stuff.  thank God!  the PYP adjustment can be overwhelming, but i am in line with the philosophy, so it works with me deeply.  i am doing lots of thinking and reflecting which i love and challenges me to do my best work.  it is just wrapping my head around it all and making it happen that can be daunting.  

our apartment is in the final stages of becoming "finished" whatever that really means.  we are trying hard to sort out places and "homes" for the last bits of stuff.  we have a few more pieces of cane furniture to pick up, pictures/art to hang, and the touches that make a home.  i have to go hunting for some lamps, but not sure when that will happen. we are also planning to buy bicycles to poke around our neighborhood a bit more without depending on someone else.  we are so excited about this venture.  once i get a bike, i plan to "pimp" it out with some baskets, plastic covers for them, and a bell.  i am hoping that i can find an orange bike too.  me loves all things orange. 

i have made a few good friends that i can be real with which has been huge for me.  this revelation just happened which has been a blessing.  knowing that i have a friend to hang out with is what i needed.  someone local and that is on the same page--especially with faith--was something i was seeking out.  she also happens to be supporting my ESL kids in the classroom which makes it fun too since we work closely together as well.  good stuff there for sure!

we have started church shopping which has been interesting, full of all kinds of emotions, and lead to some great discussions.  things are different here.  not bad or negative, just different.  pray that we can find a church we can call "home" and be able to connect with some folks in this way.   paul has asked me not to panic, so i am trying not to since we have only been here just over two months.  patience, mandy.

on the artsy front, paul is planning and hoping to buy a guitar today.  we went shopping over the long weekend and wow, i learned a lot just from observing.  you can really "hear" how good a guitar is or not.  it was quite interesting to follow him around.  he found a nice "fender" (looks real, feels real, sounds real, but not sure how "real" it really is) acoustic.  it sounded warm and beautiful.  the only catch was there was no pick up or "electronics".  he is hoping to make it back to a different shop that had lots of stuff and seemed pretty in the know about all things music today to ask if they sell the electronics and if so, do they install.  not sure what will happen, but i am so glad that he is "missing" playing and music.  he hopes to find some gigs around town to play regularly.

as for me, i am still figuring it out.  i am feeling a bit plain these days with more normal hair.  i know hair has nothing to do with ability or anything, but it is this weird thing i deal with.  i have been getting involved with a local stitching group (knitters & crocheters).  it works, but not really filling my creative hole in the way i hoped.  i am thinking about working through the book, the artist's way, again on my own.  i need to be intentional and set up art dates with myself.  i really love photography, so maybe i can make that my outlet.  i just have to get out of the house and do it.....then more importantly do something with the photos.

off to do some planning....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

lost--the tv show

i have been totally anti-lost for a while.  i never got into it.  the few episodes i had seen were pretty cheesy and far fetched in my opinion.  after much persuasion, paul has talked me into "trying" it again.  he really enjoyed it and thought the way it was all wrapped was genius.  i am still watching but with a lot of skepticism.  paul assures me that i will change my heart, but i am still not so sure.  we watched episode six or five earlier.  i am on the fence and the verdict is yet to be handed out.  we will see....

going au natural

today i went to get my hair colored here in PP.  i went back to the same salon and had decided after much thought that i would just go natural for a while to give my hair a rest.  i kept having second thoughts, but i did it.  here is the end product---

the front had to be a bit darker to cover up the red well and look good.  so the back is pretty natural....kind of a dark blonde like color.  the front bits are dark brown/black.  sokun, the guy who did it, said that next time i could make the front lighter to match the back if i wanted.  i might just go with it like this since dark colors on the whole are not as rough on your hair.  surprisingly, i like it.  i was worried b/c last time i had dark all over i was not a fan, but that was in my first year in korea.  paul likes it too which is always an added bonus.  

here are some more pics.....

off to try to get into more episodes of "lost".  i am pretty skeptical, but paul thinks i will like it at some point.  i am not so sure.

Monday, August 16, 2010

a rocky start....

this week has gotten off to a rocky start.  every monday we have late start which means the kids do not start school until 10am.  during 7:30-9:30 we have collaboration meetings and professional development.  today, i realized that God is teaching me to be patient.  around 9ish i began to freak out a bit since i needed to print some pictures for my writing activity that was to kick start our first (my first as well) unit of inquiry.  i did not have access to a color printer in the time frame i had free.  some colleagues and i came up with a brilliant plan B using my class projector and the images i had saved to my usb drive.  yeah!  then when i returned to my classroom, the power kept going on and off.....there is nothing like teaching in the dark.  the nice side to this is that the kids are used to it, so they just keep working regardless.  we have been working outside some too.  i began to worry about my plan B since the power was being twitchy....i definitely needed power to use the projector and computer.  after about an hour of solid power, i felt confident that all would work out.  until about 10:45am when i got the kids back on the mat, set up the activity, handed out paper, talked about what we were going to do, plugged in my usb, and pushed power to the projector-----nothing.  yes, the projector did not turn on at all.  zip, zilch, nada, zero.  this came to be a very teachable moment of flexibility--my kids totally understood and we went on to plan C.  i think God was really trying to remind me to be flexible and patient--not my students.

pray that i can continue to be patient and flexible as the week continues.  quite a few new meetings to attend, ideas to be shared, and planning to be worked on before friday rolls around.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

took the plunge....

well, i did it. i have been itching for a trim for a few days, but was not sure where to go and if i would be able to communicate what i wanted well enough to avoid disaster. all day we were out running errands and had the super itch to just do it. we had lunch, ran a bunch of errands, and then went to dinner. we ended up walking home from dinner which was quite fun since we got to see lots of cool stuff along the way. we rounded the corner of street 108 and sisovath quay and there was a small hair salon. i stopped paul and asked if i should at least inquire how much. some of the ladies in the shop had cool, trendy do's, so i figured it was worth asking. what?!?! only $8....well, okay....what is the worst that can happen? really, i mean it could be disastrous, but i was in a risk-taking mood. i asked about paul's too since he was also due for a trim. only $6...what!?!?! we checked to make sure they could trim it without cutting it all off. he was okay with it, so we said yes. it all began with a shampoo which was a bit much for both of us. lots of shampoo and massaging, but neither one of cared for the craziness. a little too much ear rubbing for both of us. ugh. then under the shears we both went. the guy, sokun, who cut my hair is the owner of the shop and has been trained in singapore by a french lady. he seemed quite knowledgeable and cautious which eased my anxiety a bit. i honestly felt like i was violating some hair cutter's code by having someone else cut my hair other than lucy. it was the oddest feeling. he did a great job though. i am quite happy with how it ended up. i need to let my fringe (bangs) grow out a bit more. paul was quite happy as well which does not happen often when he gets his hair cut. all in all, we think it is a great place. i am thinking about making an appointment next weekend to tweak my color. not sure what i will do yet. the many colors i have is kind of irritating here b/c some many locals stare and comment. it is okay, but it gets old. i might go natural all over, but keep my streak of bright color or i will bleach it all again and keep the front the same. not sure....what do you think???

well, one step closer to make PP our home. we are working on getting our house in order. we have set a goal for the end of the month to have it sorted. we bought an official alarm clock today and some lamps for our bedroom. it is slowly coming along....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

new country, new blog

after four years in korea, paul and i are now living in phnom penh, cambodia. since my first blog was started when i was single and chronicled my adventures while living in seoul, i am now making a blog for us and all about our journey while living in asia.

so, with all that, welcome to the falgouts in asia!

we have been here in the penh for about six weeks now. it has been an adventure already. we have set up our apartment, bought furniture, found some great places to eat, had our first overseas visitor, been to siem reap, seen the ancient temples, dealt with communication issues, had curtains made, learned about the local markets, sweat quite a bit, started back to work, meet my students, and managed to keep our sanity. it has been great! we are loving living here and find the people quite friendly. it has been affirming to be here knowing that God has a plan for our lives.

we hope you will join us on this journey that we are on...
stay tuned for more.