Hitting the reset button! (September 2018 Update!)

Hi!  How are you?  I miss you so.  What has wrapping up summertime looked like for you?  It’s fun watching everyone’s Facebook and Instagram posts turn from summertime camping adventures to fall activities.  Here it is always summer, the high today is 33C (91F).  September was a month of “resetting” for me.  My last day at Daughters was August 31.  My amazing new roommate, Amanda, moved in on September 1.  And I found myself feeling really “run down” the first week of September, I thought it was a cold.

(Attempting to flush out all the grossness.)

My roommate thought it was my body reacting to the stress.  My mentors and teachers thought I should go to the hospital.  I’ll be totally honest with you, hospitals terrify me.  It took a few delusional days (including one moment where I introduced myself to my friend’s dog as “Aunt Nancy” – my mom’s name) and one of the Prayer Circle rider’s telling me she was taking me to the hospital for me to agree to go.  A few hours later, I found myself in a Cambodian Clinic, with a sweet Khmer doctor, telling me I had a sinus infection.  Shout out to my amazing roommate for keeping the house stocked in orange juice.  I think I single handedly keep the pho place in business with the amount of soup I ate.  Plus the penicillin and benadryl combo the doctor prescribed me.

(My back to school photo.)

Just in the nick of time, I got a clean bill of health right before I started Level 3 Khmer at my language school.  I’m doing this level full time, which means for five weeks, I go to school Monday through Friday from 8AM to noon.  Then I have homework to complete before the next day.  It’s a fun class, for the first two hours, where we learn new vocabulary and additional grammar rules, there are eight students, hailing from Korea, El Salvador, Brazil and Finland.  One other student and I are the only native English speakers.  For the last hour, there is only three of us learning the alphabet and sight words.  There are 74 letters in the Khmer alphabet.  That is three times the amount in the English alphabet!  When I was younger, I really struggled with learning how to read.  I was always mixing up my “L” and “J” and “p” “d” and “b”.  So I’m constantly reminding myself of that as I learn my ក គ and ច ឆ ត.  Sometimes I find myself saying, “the ka sound with the Bart Simpson hair, not the co sound with the Trump hair ជ.”  You need a little laugh to make it through the day.  Another great way to laugh about language learning is to check out this funny video about the English language.  (Warning: Some swearing.)

(World’s oldest teenager, Stu, Tina, and I in Vietnam.)

On top of school, I had the chance to fly to Vietnam to see my dad, Stu, on his “Retirement Tour – SE Asia.”  It was great to hang out with him and some of his co-workers who I’ve known for well over a decade.  Hear how retirement has been treating him and what his dreams of this new chapter in his life will look like.

(Peck, On, Stefanie and I at the Enduro Race.)

The following weekend, I got to ride my Honda Degree to Kampot (my favorite town) three hours away from Phnom Penh to help with a motorcycle race.  The highlight of the ride was right outside of Phnom Penh, when we were on this dirt dyke road.  There were hundreds of dragonflies, we slowed down to make way for a duck farmer and his hundreds of ducks crossing the road, a shepard and his cows, and watched little naked Khmer boys run and do coconuts (cannonballs) into the the river.  I was almost moved to tears thinking, “How lucky am I, that you called me here, Jesus.  Thank you.”  I could hear Him whisper back, “I love this place too.”  I recently learned of the Christian term, thin space, where the space between you and God is so thin you can truly feel the Holy Spirit.  That is how I think that road was, a thin place, where you catch a glimpse of Heaven.

(Towing Stefanie around Kampot.)

The rest of the motorcycle weekend was a complete blast.  On top of seeing all my old friends from the last race in Kirirom.  My friend, Stefanie, joined me to help out at the race.  There was even ONE girls team.  A Khmer national and a French woman competed.  Although they didn’t complete the race they were definitely an inspiration.  Stefanie and I agreed that we want to enter the final race for this year with the goal of inspiring more girls to race AND to just complete the course.  Let me know if you want to come visit and cheer us on!

(Bullet and I on our weekly run with the Running Bongs – an expat and Khmer running club in Phnom Penh.)

Finally, my prayer journal has become more of a pro/con list as I meet with people and explore different employment opportunities to start (hopefully) next month.  I’ve been looking into doing freelancing helping NGOs update their websites, thinking about brand strategy and email marketing.  Applying for jobs at social businesses and nonprofits alike.  I even seriously considered investing in a community bar with a few friends from the homebrewing community here in Cambodia.  While I don’t have anything truly definite for next month.  I can see how God is leading me in terms of connections, meetings and through journaling.

(I also committed to leading the Craft Corner at church once a month – this month we did a coloring sheet on Psalm 139.)

As always, below are some prayer requests. I really love hearing from everyone back home. You can reply to this email and share what is happening in your life, and how I can be praying for you. I’m also available to chat via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, feel free to message me that way. You can do this by sending me a friend request on Facebook (if we aren’t friends already) or adding my USA phone number to WhatsApp. I look forward to hearing from you!

Hugs from Cambo,
Jenna (and Bullet)

I would really appreciate you joining me in prayer in the following ways:

  1. Future employment opportunities.
  2. My continued Khmer language studies.
  3. Health and safety as always.

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