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Reisverslag A typical day in the Expat Life
19 oktober 2014
A typical day in the Expat Life
“Early” varies from 5.00 am to 6.30 am. All these years I’ve thought, that the earlier you wake up, the harder it is to get out of bed.
Even though the transition from half-in-dreamland to standing up besides my king size bed-shaped-throne is the one of the hardest movements ever, time doesn’t seem to influence it that much. Truth be told, waking up at 28degrees Celsius does make everything slightly more acceptable..
Plus, everyone here is awake just before the sun comes up.
So the moment I open up my curtains, I find the streets beneath me crawling with life.
Wrinkly Cambodian women are passionately putting up their laundry, while most of the men sit at one of the many cafeteria scattered around the street. They’ve already pulled their t-shirts up, exposing their bellies. I’m still not sure if this is really keeping them more cool or if it’s just a deeply imbedded cultural habit. Maybe rubbing your round, naked belly is just more cool than we realise (no pun intended).
The cafeteria serve njam-bai, which means as little as “eat rice”. The dish itself varies from place to place, but is basically some rice, a bit of meat, egg and a soup-like dish on the side to add to it.
Every now and then I mix myself into the crowd to quietly consume a njam-bai myself. It’s cheap, good and doesn’t require me to prepare anything myself. Yeah, I’m becoming thát lazy.
Habits are sticky though, so most of the days I start with the overnight oats I prepared the day before. I mix them with some organic muesli and chia seeds, and wash it down with an ice cold mineral water, fish oil and a multivitamin.
Then I put on the training outfit I’ve readied the day before, too, and make my way to the Crossfit gym.
The class begins at 5.30 and the WOD’s (Workout Of the Day) are normally pretty ruthless.
I’ll find myself breaking records on powerlifting techniques, doing Burpees for time or maxing out my pistol squats.
And strangely enough, working out so early doesn’t affect my performance at all. I’ll even take it a step further and see it gets me feeling great. It gets my brain into high gears and I’m ready for a day of work.
Since I start at 8, I’ve still got time to shower and grab a cup of coffee at Joma, my favourite coffee place after working out. Which is, comfortably situated, right between my home and the clinic.
So I sit down and take 30 minutes, drink my coffee, and put some chapters of whatever it is I’m reading into my brain. Right now, I’m reading “Born to run”, a phenomenal book about the art of running. It’s fitting, because I’m planning to run the half marathon at Ankhor Wat, one of the seven miracles in the world in Siem Reap.
After this morning routine, I’m off to work. The clinic I work at is literally a world of difference from back home. Physiotherapy in Holland, is moving further and further away from its essence. There is simply too much paperwork, it’s time pressured and strongly affected by insurance companies breathing down our necks.
Here in Phnom Penh, we have 45 minutes of pure treatment time for each patient. Every therapist you ask, will tell you that this is a massive step forward from that. The types of injuries are all serious, challenging and rewarding to help fix. Patients are motivated and every one of them has an interesting story behind the reason they’re here.
In my two-hour lunch break I eat quality food, whether it’s Mexican, Indonesian, Italian or anything in between. And every now and then I squeeze in a 60-minute 5$ massage in, too. But I call it “meditation” and do it twice a week, every week.
After I get off work, which normally is around 7am, I repeat the eating experience. And most of the time I order so much that I can barely walk afterwards, or have enough to eat again the next day.
Then I come home. And I’m still somewhat awestruck, every time I find it completely cleaned up.
The cleaners come twice a week and go all out: my dishes are washed and stored, my clothes are folded. My bed is refreshed and made up hotel-style, and even the money I keep lying around is neatly stacked up. Amazing.
And another one of those wonderful things is, once you’re ready with work, you’re free to do whatever you want. No dishes, no cooking, no post to go through. I don’t even have a mailbox! Take a moment and consider the amount of stress that takes away. For me at least.
The only thing I have to do, is choose: Do I stay inside, or go out?
Phnom Penh is alive, whatever day of the week it is. There’s always things happening, from bar openings to fashion shows up to the celebration of the “National day of the Kroket”. So whenever I feel to join in, I put on my flipflops again, but some spare change in the back of my pants and walk off to Monivong, one of the mainroads that connects almost everything here. Near the road, a handful of tuktuk drivers will pop up soon as I’m in sight and they’ll start waving like they’ve not seen a human being for weeks.
This time, a moto stops right in front of me, blocking my path. I look at him with an eyebrow raised when he takes off his helmets and smiles at me. “Dies Yo Baiiik!!!!”. He says.
I smile back. I appreciate the funny and no nonsense way of the approach. Overly animated, I swing my arm in the air with a thumbs up and say “O…KAYYYYY!!! LET’S DO THIS BONGGGG!!” *
I feel like an anime character while I do it but Bong is not impressed. He laughs sheepily back at me with a look in his eyes saying maybe I should have picked another foreigner, this one might be crazy
Too late. I’m already on the back and for one dollar he brings me to another adventure.
* "Bong" is a way to address someone in a respectful way, instead of just
20 oktober 2014 08:52 | Door: marie-jose
wat leuk om te lezen hoe jou dagindeling er gemiddeld genomen uitziet.
Krijg sterk de indruk dat je alleen datgene doet wat je wilt en kan niet anders zeggen dan dat je groot gelijk hebt. Je hebt de kans en mogelijkheid om er een relaxed bestaan op na te houden, iets wat hier in NL helaas niet mogelijk was/is.
Geniet ervan, maar dat hoef ik je niet te adviseren ;-)
Super om weer eens iets van je horen.
Het ga je goed Mark
gr. uit Alphen a.d. Rijn
11 november 2014 01:38 | Door: Peter Hootsen
Ha die Mark,
Leuk verhaal. Ik herken de regeldruk, die je vanuit de Hollandse fysio-keuken beschrijft. Het bestrijden van de regeldruk in Nederland is een tijdje mijn functie geweest, maar in dit land nogal vechten tegen de bierkaai. Geniet van hoe het dáár, in Cambodja, (nog) gaat. Ja, dat past wel bij je.
Hou je haaks,
PS Met mij gaat het best lekker. Paar weken terug de 4 Mijl van Groningen gedaan; medaille hangt trots op het prikbord. Van Roy moet ik het voorlopig rustig aandoen, om de boel heel te houden. Ik doe m'n best :-)