It’s been a big last two and a half months and we have much to report! I (Zoe) completed my first full term at ACE and the second term has just begun. At the end of last year, Simon connected with coffee roaster and cafe owner Gus down in the riverside city of Kampot just south of Phnom Penh. We visited him at his business Cafe Espresso Kampot and from there, Simon became the Siem Reap distributor of Rumblefish Specialty Coffee. Simon now supplies five cafes (Seraiah, The Hive, Common Grounds, Blend and Pages) with coffee beans and also has some regular expat clients who get coffee beans on a weekly basis. Since arriving in Siem Reap, we have seen a big swing in the quality of coffee in Siem Reap. This has been a great job for Simon as he loves coffee and gets to interact with baristas and cafe owners, he has been training the staff at Common Grounds for the past month, and has enjoyed seeing them get more excited about making better coffee.
We welcomed our puppy Wombat into the family at the beginning of February and he has provided much entertainment and love since then.
During March we had a ball with our friend Pip staying with us and a wonderful holiday and visit from my parents.
Since the middle of March the temperature has really started to climb and it has been hard to find relief from the heat and humidity between power outages and electricity-hungry airconditioners! The hot season is unforgiving and many locals say even they never get used to it! Easter is largely a non-event in Cambodia, being a predominantly Buddhist country. We missed the traditions surrounding the remembering of Jesus’ death and resurrection – no hot cross buns, easter eggs or public holidays! Cambodia’s focus at the beginning of April was instead the lead up to Khmer New Year, one of the most important events on the Cambodian calender. This is the third and biggest lot of new year celebrations so far this year, having already celebrated ‘International’ New Year (January 1) and Chinese New Year (mid February). Many Khmer travel back to their homeland to celebrate the new year with family, food, ceremonies and dancing!
It’s been a great year so far and we’re so thankful for all the amazing people we’ve met and the experiences we’ve had. We came to a cross roads about 2 months ago, we found a great location to open a small espresso bar and organic market, and came close to signing the lease. We thought this could have been the opportunity we were looking for. We both really wanted to start a business, but were also drawn to the idea of starting a family together. We chose to have a family first and are now expecting our first child in November!
What we didn’t expect when we made this decision would be the change in perspective that knowing you will be responsible for the life of a young child would bring (everyone now chuckle at our naivety!). We started to think about access to healthcare, proximity of grandparents and uncles and aunties, and realised that all these things we grew up with, we also wanted our own child to have. So at the end of June we will be returning to Australia on a one way ticket. While it’s sad to leave, the friends we’ve made and the opportunities that could have been, we don’t think we have been part of a wasted experience, to live overseas even for a short amount of time is to gain experience and knowledge which is priceless. We are so deeply thankful for everyone who has supported, prayed and thought of us through our adventure in Cambodia and we look forward to the next adventure that we know our great God has planned for us.
If you pray, please pray for:
– the packing up process, selling things and organising shipping back to Australia
– Zoe and baby CJ’s health
– Cambodia and it’s people
– job opportunities for both of us in Australia
– wisdom for the many small decisions involved in relocating
Zoe, Simon and Baby CJ x