maintaining a multilingual environment if we move back to the US

One of the things I appreciate about expatriate life is its cultural exposure, especially in a city like Phnom Penh. The kids are exposed to so many languages on any given day. Contrast this with my early years back home. I only realized after many years in the system that a multilingual upbringing wasn't normal in the US (I went to school in Spanish Harlem). I'm the only one in my family who knew just two languages. That was bad enough - I certainly didn't want my kids limited to English. So we put our little boy in a French immersion program. His teacher is a creative, gentle Frenchwoman. He's been in her class  just four weeks and already he's counting, singing and carrying on conversations in French. Their absorptive capacity at this … [Read more...]

a story from hummingbird banding in Louisiana

  I came across a banding blog post that brought back memories. Hubby and I banded hummingbirds in Louisiana years ago, to help our friends Olga and Walter at their (bird-friendly!) property. A lot of early mornings were spent at our friends' house, just sitting by the pond or by the side of the house to watch birds. Over the many decades that they owned the property their love of birds drove the property's design. It was overgrown to begin with, but every year they cleared and planted the varieties that were the most attractive to birds. By the time we met them and visited this bird paradise, hundreds of winged creatures already called their place home. You can sit on their property on any given day and spot a huge variety of … [Read more...]

Google doodle statement for Russia

Props to google for the rainbow doodle, to kick off the Sochi Winter Olympics! Nice statement against Moscow's anti-gay laws. … [Read more...]

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Center for a birthday party

We've been to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center several times and I'm always impressed with it. The grounds are large - it's certainly possible to walk from one exhibit to the next, but a vehicle would be useful. They have many exhibits. I still haven't seen all of them. Most animals have a fairly wide area to roam (they aren't confined to small concrete cages as I expected). They're rescued from accidents or illegal wildlife trade, and rehabilitated. Those that can't be released back to the wild stay on the grounds. The center is staffed by dedicated conservationists, and they're routinely visited by experts in specific species. Our little boy and his friend celebrated their birthday together, so we took them to the Rescue Center with … [Read more...]

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

All's quiet in the Penh as celebrations to welcome the year of the Horse continue. It's our second chance to kick into gear those New Year's resolutions. But for those who truly excel at procrastination the biggest one is yet to come, Khmer New Year in April. … [Read more...]

Santa Claus has come to the Penh

Our son's first word (apart from mama and papa) was elephant - every time we pointed to an elephant in one of his books he'd say "peh-pet". Last year he was still a bit young to appreciate the celebration of Christmas, and was afraid of Santa Claus, even when he arrived with his favorite creature, Sambo the elephant. This year we milked that naughty/nice list idea cuz it works like a charm - it'll be a treat to watch this little boy on Christmas morning now that he knows better. Sambo, happily, is no longer a regular on Phnom Penh's busy riverside. He retired this year to a zoo. … [Read more...]

Christmas cards with a Khmer twist

I bought these cards at a Women's International Group (WIG) Christmas Fair a few years ago. On the back of the cards is a copyright for Global Art and Anita Dean who, from a quick google search, is the founder of Global Art, Phnom Penh. I wish they printed the name of the artist too. Anyway, I hope I'm not breaking any copyright rules by scanning and posting these beautiful cards. If anyone knows who the artist is, please leave a comment!   … [Read more...]

Merry Christmas!

She isn't happy with his idea to give her to Santa for Christmas!   … [Read more...]