Publisert av: ingridmogstad | 11. mars 2011

In search for everyday

I am a big fan of everyday, and I think it is very important to enjoy them. They are, at the end of it, the days there are most of. Living without everyday for about six weeks has made me appreciate them even more (at least I think I appreciated them before as well, most of them at least). Tomorrow I have worked at Mekong Quilts for two weeks after I returned from Vietnam, and I hope I the habits and the everyday-patterns will come after a while. I guess it takes a bit more than two weeks to make habits. Or does it?

At least there are a few questions I before spent time and energy on thinking over, that I now have the answers to. One of them is: should I get a motorbike here in Phnom Penh? The answer is (sadly): no. Maybe if I was going to be here for a whole year, but not when I only have four months left. The traffic here takes longer to get used to and I don’t even have my drivers license in Norway yet (not that I think that would be a huge benefit anyway, there seems to be few rules to follow).  My conclusion is none the less; no motorbike for Ingrid.

Instead I got a bike. Biking in Phnom Penh is fantastic, as long as one can keep from being distracted by all the interesting stuff one sees around here.  When people see «barangs» (the word they use for white people in Khmer, exact meaning is «French») they smile humorously and the tuktuk-drivers will shout «tuktuk lady!?» after you just for fun. I feel like an idiot, but I know they don’t mean it like that. I think they just think I look a bit funny, and the tuktuk-drivers would of course like to see that I took a tuktuk instead of saving money biking. For those who wonder, this is a tuktuk:

I was also informed by my colleagues Sinat and Channy that bicycling is very low status in Cambodia. «But for you Inga, it’s ok. You have golden hair and long nose, so no problem», they reassured me. Again this ethnicity-stuff. Today though, I got a flat tire. Two days after purchase, and my fantastic 40-dollar-second-hand -bike is breaking. «Gah», is the best word I know to express my feelings in English.

I feel everything breaks in Cambodia. We live in a brand new apartment, but nothing lasts for longer than two weeks at a time. The sink was stuffed, the shower didn’t work, the light went away, the floor has scratches after the sofa, which is without those white cotton-things one usually has under heavy furniture. Luckily we have the sweetest janitor who is one big smile and always helps us when something is wrong. I really don’t mind the apartment being a bit unstable, but I’m wondering how they’re going to make money on it in ten years when everything in it is broken for good. This is not sustainable (sustainable is a very fancy word I have learned the last few weeks, frequently used when talking about development).

Another thing that is «breaking» these days is my flat mate Bianca. She is sick, and that is not something you want to be when you’re in Cambodia. As our German neighbor kindly was reassured when she got a bad fewer a while ago; «It’s Cambodia, July. It can be anything!»  Great.  Hopefully, and I think chances are, Bianca will be better quite soon.

I myself am feeling another type of sickness that comes to me as a surprise; homesickness. Quite mild, but it’s there. And I who thought I was so tough and wouldn’t get it, I was wrong.  I miss our summer house, my Moccamaster coffee, my university, Oslo, the Norwegian mountains, the Norwegian writer Tarjei Vesaas (I was stupid enough not to bring any books in Norwegian), my family and my friends in Norway. My suggestion for a quick cure is to keep busy (that shouldn’t be a problem) and to ban myself from Facebook for a couple of days. The last one is bigger of a challenge but I have already decided that this is not something that will last for a long time. I have no time to waste when I live for such a short while in Cambodia. But right now I’m going to be sentimental and past in a picture from Kjerag (lysefjorden) in Norway:



  1. Cool reading. Crazy country. Crazy/cool AIESEC Exchange Experience? Greetings from MC office

  2. Crazy/cool experience, and I’ll add challenging and fun to the list as well;) Say hallo back, hope everything is fine at the office in Oslo, and not to mention with the south participants!:)

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