Thursday, March 16, 2017

"Beauty and the Beast" in Cambodia, a Review

We go to the movies more here in Cambodia than in the States.  You might ask, "Why"?  First it is only $3 per/person, and secondly, it is one way I can get the kids out of the house.  It is always a fun experience to go to the movies.  Not only do they have popcorn, they have corn in a cup.  They even have different flavored popcorn, Carmel, Seaweed, Salted, and Cheese.  I want to warn you to not get the cheese, if you love cheese from the States or England, or France, don't get it here.  Actually don't get anything with cheese flavored here in Cambodia.  You will be extremely disappointed.  Yes, the prices are inflated (Popcorn are $3 for a large compare to $1 for large bag at a down stairs).

The staff are amazing and they do all they can to please you.  They have different uniform on different days and different if there is a holiday.  They have suits and business wear and traditional attire.  I love it when they dress in traditional Cambodian attire.

They only open the doors a few minutes before the show starts and you buy tickets for your seat.  The seats are numbered and you get to pick your assigned seat, just like the airplane.  It works so much better when there is big audience.  I wish the States would do that.  That way people get to sit next to each other even when you are a little late and you don't have to wait half an hour before the movie starts.

Today we went to see "Beauty and the Beast", and if I am right, I got to see it before you guys in the States.  Hahaha In your face. lol  Although, if I am not right, you got to see it before me and I don't care.  :)

First let me tell you that I was not super excited about this movie.  I mean I love Emma Watson and Disney, but I don't enjoy remakes.  I am more excited to see Guardian of the Galaxy Vol 2.  Oh, I can't wait for it.  Like, I said the movies is a way for me to get the kids out of the house and I was craving caramel popcorn.  

We usually sit in row K, but that was taken so we got row L.  K was already close enough, but most of the good seating behind row K was taken.  There were lots of teenagers, still in their school uniform, watching this movie.  I think they all skipped school to go see it.  It was at 2:25PM, and school is not out until 4:30PM.  Being in row L, the movie was really in your face.  


Let me start by saying that Disney did a wonderful job, and loved it in row L.  I am so happy I went to see it at the theaters.  The experience was so much better than watching at home a year later, because that is what I would have done in the States.  I mean for all six of us to go to the movies back home would be over $60, and we spent $18 here.

Most of the movie was just like the Disney animated version, and they explained many questions that you might have, such as; why people in the town don't know about a princess and a castle near by and why is winter near the castle and summer in the town, why the the servants were being punished, too?  The movie is 2 hours and 9 minutes compared to the animated 1 hour and 30 minutes, and you felt that they used all those minutes effectively.  They had more time to develop some of the characters which was amazing.  I got chills when the whole town was singing and I wanted to cry when you think you should cry.  The casts were amazing and costume and scenery were beautiful.  They did have a few extra songs in there that was not in the original, but they were very well done.  Everyone should go see it.

The only thing I had a problem with was that I don't think the Cambodian movie theater's projector was advance enough to show all the awesome 3D effects (Did I tell? Most of the movies they show are 3D, they don't give you an option to watch it regular screen.).  Usually, I don't pick the 3D version, because it use to make me dizzy and the 3D version in the States are more expensive.  Haha Now you know I am cheap.   Well, some of the parts were really blurry, because of the 3D effect.  I would love to see the 3D effects in better quality.  

It was OK, because the Khmer (Cambodians) audience made up for it.  There might be a part that is a little funny, but they would laugh so hard at it, which makes me laugh too. (Mostly I am laughing at them laughing.)  *spoiler* When the Beast turned human, there was a big, "OOOOHhhhhh" and the lots of girls giggling and commenting.  Also, lots of comments about how Gaston deserved to fall to his death.  It added to the movie.  Loved the people here.  Although it could also get annoying.  When we went to watch "Sing".  There was this girl with the most annoying laugh and she made loud comments all the time.   That did not add to the movie.  I almost turned around, but that wouldn't helped the situation.

Just for your information the movie was in English and there were Khmer subtitles.  Most of the Khmer kids speak or are learning English in school.  Maybe their teacher encourage them to go see the movie.  You don't see many older Khmer viewers or small children at the movies.  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Robam Khmer (Cambodian Royal Ballet)

I really like to live life to the fullest and it is so important to me to be fulfilling my passions.  I don't need to have a life or death experience to know how precious life is.  Life is too short.  Live your Dreams.  Pursue your passions, and don't let anything get in your way! Life is too unpredictable for regrets and too short for excuses!  Dancing fulfills something inside of me that I just can't explain.  It is how this world can be more beautiful for me.  It is what I do.

I love all kind of dance; Ballet, Hip Hop, Latin, Ballroom, Jazz, etc.  My most favorite is Robam Khmer (Cambodian Royal Ballet), because it is part of my culture and it is possess so much grace and beauty.

I want my girls to love it as much as I do.  Here in Cambodia, I found an awesome non-profit dance school, Champey Academy of Arts.  They offer classes to anyone who wants to learn, drawing, music, and dance.
Look at these cuties.  They were such troopers.  It was hard for them, because of the language berrier.  Also, there is a different way of teaching in Cambodia and my girls were not use to it.  I was so proud that stuck with it for a month.  I think I will teach them in time.

They earn most of their funds through tourists donations.  They have many tourists come to watch performance and they themselves get to participate in dancing.  


Just a side note:  I am taking private dance lessons and plan to start a small business when I come back to the States.  There is nothing better than working your passion. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

How's it Going (Christmas time)

It has been getting a little boring since Thanksgiving.  Nothing really to talk about for Christmas.  It was hard trying to get Santa to come and his gifts are not as great as usual.  We did love all our gifts.  It didn't really seem like Christmas except for some decorations at the Mall and Movie Theater.

Ok, I have been looking through all the pictures and it was not as boring as I thought.  Haha

We did celebrate Dad's Birthday on Dec. 16th.  Cakes are not as good here or not the same.  
(Note: You will see in lots of the photos that #3 does not like taking photos.  We usually have to make her, but sometimes we just give up.  It should be a game for you to see where she is and what is she doing?  It should be a pretty fun game.)

We did get a chance to go to a beautiful wedding in December.  We had a wonderful time, it was very hot and we were sweating plenty.  The Bride (the girls' Khmer tutor) was beautiful.  There was fancy yummy food, but my girls only like the peanuts and bread.  What can you do?  They are not use to the fancy and exotic.  The best part was that we all got a chance to get all dolled up (Even Daddy).

Look!  We even got a chance to get a beautiful picture of #3.  Lots of people have commented that she is the prettiest of the 4, but she does not want to be.  Although, all my girls are beautiful.

Surprisingly, Christmas trees are hard to find here.  LOL We did find some, but we didn't like them.  They were types you can get at Walmart for $10 - $20, but here they were$30 - $60.  This gave me the perfect chance to do a #homeschool project.  What a great arts and craft project and we involved the whole family.  (Haha I like to say #homeschool to annoy my girls.  They hate it when I say it, and I say it quite a bit.  Well, we do a lot of homeschooling.  Everything counts.)

They did enjoy putting presents under the tree.  They were very proud of themselves.  Note: Number three was threaten so she can get out from behind the tree for this picture.

Enjoy some pictures we took at the Mall and Movie Theaters, where they had Christmas decorations.

On Christmas Day there was a Church service in the Cambodian Ward.  They had a program, Nativity and Performances in the Chapel.  For all my LDS friends, you know that is a big No No.


Non-Christians Cambodians do celebrate Christmas, but they celebrate it like the United States celebrate Cinco de Mayo or St Patrick's Day.  They just think it a fun time to get together and drink.   It is rather amusing. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Thanksgiving in Battambang

You might ask, "I wonder what those Blimes are up to.  I haven't heard from them in a couple of months.  I hope they are still alive."  Well, good to say that we are doing find and still alive here in Cambodia.  Love to hear that you are worried and concern about us.  We love you, too.

Thanksgiving In Cambodia
That is right people, Khmers (Cambodians) do not celebrate Thanksgiving.  It is a United States of America holiday and people don't even know what a Turkey is around here.  They just call it a big chicken.  Haha Big Chicken... that made me laugh.  Not sure why, but it is really funny to me.  If you guys know me, you know I like to laugh at my own jokes, because I am hilarious. haha

We decided to go to Battambang (a city near Thailand border).  We heard that there was a restaurant there, Green Mango, that was serving Turkey Dinners with all the fixings.  Also, my cousin has been asking us to visit him and his family.  Let me tell you a few things about the food here.  It is great if you get a dish that is native to the Cambodia or the surrounding areas.  It is a different story when you are hungry for a dish from home.  Let's just say, it is not what we expected.  The pie was the worst.  I think that is why my loving husband have lost so much weight.  People in Cambodia seem to get western desserts all wrong.

You might say, "Savin, you make great desserts.  Why don't to find some ingredients (which would be hard and expensive but not impossible) and whip something up?"

Sorry, I don't have an oven.  If I found one I wouldn't even know how or where to hook it up.  I did come across some toaster ovens, but I haven't bought one.

Turkey Dinner

I had been disappointed with western cuisine in Cambodia before, so I got a chicken salad instead.  The chicken salad was good, but I didn't enjoy the bread as much nor the onion rings.

Our favorite place in Battambang was the hotel.  Haha that is right we enjoyed the hotel the best.  For only $30 per night per room we were very happy.  That included breakfast.  We stayed at the Classy Hotel.  I was so impressed with all the natural woodwork that covered the hotel.

Ankgor Wat

This is the highest building in Battambang at the moment.  That green tower in the distance might be taller when it is finished.

Salt water pool.  Those girls could be in here all day.

Free Breakfast buffet.  They had so much stuff.  You wouldn't even have to eat the rest of the day. LOL
This is how bad I was at taking pictures.  I didn't think about it until I finished my meal.  Noodle soup and an omelette from the omelette station.

We went to the Reservoir and had a good and lunch and ride in a boat.

We had the pleasure of picking some waterlilies .

Next we went on the Bamboo train ride.  It was fun, noisy, rocky and scary.  The train comes apart as you can see to the side.  I do have a recording of the ride on my instagram page @savinup.

Okay so I don't remember the name of this mountain.  It is the one with the Bat Caves. I guess I can look it up. (Phnom Sampeau)... Phnom means mountain.

The black clouds are actually bats.  Millions of bats and they come out and go hunt together.  Before they come out there a few scouts that find the best place to hunt that night and they all go together it is a site to see.  (I also have a video of this on my Instagram page, @savinup)

Monday, November 21, 2016


For some of you that are not LDS (Latter Day Saints -aka- Mormon) you might not relate to or understand this post.  It is mostly about church, but read on.  You might find some things interesting.  I am willing to answer any questions, just ask.

There are two Stakes in Phnom Penh.  In our Stake we have 6 Wards and Branches.  One is an English speaking Branch, but we decided to go to a Khmer speaking Ward.  Why would we do such a thing?  Well, we thought the kids would benefit more from this Ward, and it is closer to the house.  We did attend the English Speaking Branch (International Ward), and we did like it.  It was nice meeting people from different parts of the world, not just Cambodia.  We might go back there in January.  We thought we could do some good in this Ward, but it feels we are more of a hinder.  We each need translators in our different classes.  We can't teach classes, because we don't speak the language and it doesn't seem like we are learning it anytime soon.  We will see, we are still deciding.  We go back and forth all the time.

Before I left the States, I remember telling a fellow Young Women leader that we probably won't get a chance to go to Girls Camp.  She said, "They have Girl's Camp everywhere there is a LDS church."  (Remember Donna?)  Well, sorry to say the Young Women's program in our Ward is not very organized.  We would be very lucky to have weekday activities.  The Young Women President is an 18 year old and I don't feel she has authority over the other girls.  She teaches the lessons when she does show up.  They do go to the church every night, just to hang out.  I am not in there so I don't know much that goes on.  All I know is what Kaya have told me.  

I go to Primary with the my younger girls.  I have to be their translator.  The Primary room is under construction so we all fit in a classroom.  Sometimes there are 5 kids including mine and sometimes we have 15.  The Primary President does everything, she teaches the lessons and sharing time, etc. She doesn't know the primary songs so they don't have music time.  The big kids and little kids are all together and it is chaotic.  I volunteered to do some moving songs just to break up the sitting like "Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes" and "Do as I am doing"  and "If you are happy and you know it, Clap your Hands" and other songs I think they know in English, because I don't know any Khmer songs.  

The Stake scheduled our Primary Program for Nov 5th but that was a Saturday and the 6th was Fast and Testimony Sunday.  The week after that it was The Water Festival and less than half of the members were at church.  There was not any kids in Primary.  So they have moved the program to December.  I think they need more time anyways, because the kids don't know any of the songs.  One Young Man and one Young Woman has been recruited to help.  My kids know the songs, but they only know it in English.  Now, they have them singing English one verse and have the other kids sing in Khmer for the second verse.  We all hope for the best and that the little kids don't run off the stage. LOL

I was told this ward was strong a few years ago, but it have lost members in the last couple of years.  They have been struggling.  This Weekend is Stake Conference, and they are having special meetings.  Sounds like they might merge some wards, it will be curious to see what they will do.  Too bad we won't be there.  We will be out of town.  We will be going to Battambang.  We hear there might be turkey at one of the restaurant there (Green Mango).

On a high point Chad loves his classes.  He says they are so passionate and strong, but he does feel like a burden.  I think the missionaries fight on who is not the translator.  Nobody wants to hear that.  

Oh, I never told you guys how my talked went.  So I wrote my talk in English and I translated it to Khmer.  It was not perfect, but I felt I was ready.  I was so nervous.  They told me that it was only 5 minutes so I thought I was the first speaker, since I thought they were treating me as a youth speaker. That morning I was so anxious and when I got to church my heart was jumping out of my chest.  After the Sacrament, they announced the speakers and I was not the first speaker.  They announced I was going to be the last speaker and that made me freak out.  Good thing I don't know how to give a 5 minute talk. Hahaha  Let's just say it was not in pure Khmer, lol, it was in Khmerlish.  They were very attentive and very helpful.  When I didn't know how to say a word they would shout it out for me.  They would nod and seem to say, "Yes, that is the way you say it."  I also think that they liked what I had to say, too.  Afterwards, people came up to me and told me they liked my talk.  They also said I have a beautiful accent and they love listening to me.  It was a very enjoyable experience, but I don't want to do that again.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Water Festival

Water Festival (Bon Om Touk) started yesterday.  It last 3 days and one of the big Holidays.  This holiday is celebrated to mark the end of the rainy season and the reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River.  Yes, that is right the River flows two ways depending on what time of year it is. It is actually pretty cool.

During the Festival there are boat races, fireworks and concerts.  Most holidays last 3 days and it is not uncommon for people to take a day before and a day after off of work, too.

This is the first year day had it since the 2010 Stampede, which over 340 people died and upwards of 744 injured.  The Stampede occurred on a bridge where people were watching the end of the Festival shows.  Too many people were on the bridge and they were pushing on each side and cause the people in the middle to fall down and crushed.  There were lots of speculation about what happened.  There were reports of electrocution and suffocation as the causes of death.  There were wired lights on the bridge and some were pulled down.

There are reports of record low attendance this year, which is understandable.  We are not going to the festivity.  We are just watching it on television.  I have a little one that likes to run off and explore and I don't need to have a nervous break down trying to keep her with the family.  It is just too crowded at the river.

Here are some pictures I got from the internet.  I wish I can give you my views but we will be missing the fun. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Day in A Life

You might ask, "Hey girl, What is a typical day like in Cambodia?"

Okay, Here we go... Try to keep up. LOL  I am a busy girl.

5:30AM - I wake up and go for a 3 mile (5 kilometers) run and 1 to 2 mile walk around the park.  I didn't work out very much when I first got here, but man I am in the swings of things now.  I am back up to 3 miles and feeling good.  I did get a little bloated when I first came.  I am loving the food and eating everything.  (Too much rice and noodles. Love my carbs.)  Although, I have learned to eat Asian portions instead of American portions and I am back down to my fighting weight.  (I plan to lose 10 more pounds while I here and hope I can keep it off when I get back to the States.)  You might think this is early, but there is many people out walking and exercising.  They just start their day earlier, they are out of the house by 7AM.

Early morning "workout", more like stretching to me.

Love this park.

6:30AM - Grab a warm freshly made soy milk or a warm "Green Smoothie", which is made with green beans (not the vegetable, more like a soybean) and coconut milk. Costs 2000 riels or 50 cents. I have been drinking more of the "Green Smoothie" now.  The vendor told me since I have been buying them she has been having more people buy them and selling out.  I think it is because they see me running and working out, they think I must know something they don't.  Women don't run here because they think their uterus will fall out.  Seriously, more than one person has told me that.

If you look closely, you can see the vendor that sells the soymilk and "Green Smoothie" (that is what I call it because I have no idea what the bean is in English) right next to the curve before the workout class.  His motor is next to the curve.  Sorry it was a bad picture.  It was dark.

7:00AM - Do a little Pilates or Yoga and then make breakfast for those little ones.  They mostly like to eat pancakes or bread with peanut butter.  I use to buy breakfast noodles down the street, but she has left to go help one of her family members run a food stand far from here.

Afterwards I go shower and get dressed... A cold shower.  There is no water heater for the house.  You can buy one to hook up to the shower, but we didn't think we needed it.  Sometimes it is nice because it is hot and we don't the wall unit air conditioner on.  It is the first initial water on your head that is the worst, just like jumping into the pool at the beginning of summer.

9:00AM - I go to the Fresh Fish Market (They sell more than just fish.  It is like a farmers market.)  I usually call a Motorcycle taxi (Cost: 2000 riels).  I usually have a guy I call, but when he isn't available I go out in the rode and usually one comes by.  I recently bought a scooter and have been learning to ride it in the Borey (Khmer for neighborhood).  Today I rode it to the market, I was so scared, but I did it.  I was so proud of myself.  Did I tell you about the traffic here?  Arghhhhh

My new to me Motor/Scooter.  It is a Honda Today.

Some Fresh ingredients from the market.  We got country chicken (farm raised), roasted peanuts, fresh pressed coconut milk, and fresh ground curry spices.  I made yummy curry that day.

I usually buy food enough for one to three days.  I also try to get a treat for the girls.  They like fried sweet potatoes or Khmer steam pastries. The vendors are super awesome, but they always want me to buy more than I need.  Well, Americans eat more meat... "here you should get the whole chicken and a kilogram of pork or beef."  Cambodians don't eat very much meat, most of their dishes are mostly vegetables and a small amount of meat.  They also only get enough for the day, because most of their income is coming in daily and also they don't have refrigerators.  We have a refrigerator but it is small.

10:00ish AM - I get home and the girls have their treats, they might save something for Daddy.  I begin homeschool with #3 and #4.  We have our good and bad days.  By this time #1 and #2 have finished their virtual classes.

11:30 AM - Get Lunch ready.

12:00 noon - Lunch

1:00 PM - Rest and maybe nap because everyone nap in Cambodia.  They actually spend Lunch time together.  Kids get out of school at 10:45 or 11:00 AM and their parents also leave work.  They go back to school and work around 1:00PM.  Kids then don't get out of school until 4:30 or 5 PM.

2:00PM - The Khmer Teacher comes and she stays until 4PM.  I would usually listen in or clean up a little around the house.  Sometimes I take a break.
The Girls and their Teacher and her Assistant (Srey Mieh and Srey Rout).

4:30PM - Get Dinner Ready

5:00PM - Dinner

5:30PM - Go to the Park - People are out working out and at the park with their kids.  Their is a type of Zumba class at the park. (Cost: 2000 riels/ class)

6:00PM - My darling Husband goes to work at this time. :) Love that he can spend most of the day with us.

7:00PM - Bedtime routine and then bed... maybe.

We do have our good and bad days.  Sometimes it goes this smooth, sometimes it doesn't.  It goes like this half of the time.  We do take breaks to go to the movies, shopping, and of course sing Karaoke.  Also we do like to make trips within the city studying the culture and history of Cambodia (#homeschool).  Sometimes we need to take a break and go to the Aeon Mall (Japanese influence Mall).  It is so fancy and I love the food court, because everyone can get what they want.  It doesn't hurt the Krispie Kreme is there.

At one of our outings.  This is at Wat Phnom and we are looking at this cool clock.  It is suppose to work but we think it broke because of all the rain.