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Posted by on Feb 17, 2013

Random Thoughts by Dave – Khmer Lessons, Motos and a Sweet Valentine


Due to overwhelming positive response (thanks for the note Kristina!), we have decided to make Dave’s Ramblings a regular feature of the blog.

  • I received many inquiries regarding whether there were more updates on Jill being a robot (as he frantically hits the refresh button on his e-mail). Yes, there are many updates. First, and probably foremost, Jill doesn’t want me to talk about her being a robot anymore. Also, Jill’s mother assures me that she gave birth to Jill (it hurt). Also, to the smart aleck who e-mailed me concerning where Jill’s “on and off switch” is,  this is a family blog (apparently read by Jill’s mother) and for you to try and interject sexual connotations into it is just juvenile.
  • We  started Khmer (the language of Cambodia) lessons this week in order to get down some basics while we’re here – things like being able to converse with our tuk-tuk driver, order in a restaurant, greet our colleagues and semi-communicate in a store. For our first lesson, our tutor first went through numbers from 1-10. We read the numbers off his computer, then did a simple exercise where we gave the date of our birth to get a little practice. After that, he turned the computer around and asked us to repeat the numbers. Guess who knew all of the numbers already by heart? Now, guess who didn’t know any of the numbers? I repeat, Jill is a robot who albeit, has not been programmed in Khmer.
  • Less you think that was a fluke, the exercise was repeated with the days of the week and the results were exactly the same – after hearing the days of the week in Khmer twice she knew them by heart.  I’m already dreading tonight’s class where I know there will be a quiz on the first day’s lessons. So, am I boning up on the numbers and days of the week? You’re joking, right? Much more interested in NBA trade deadline rumors. Meanwhile, I heard Jill going over the days of the week (or maybe it was numbers, I have no idea) while in the bathroom this morning. Seriously, why is she possibly with me?
  • What’s one of the first things a couple in the U.S. will do once they find out they’re pregnant? Buy a new and larger car, right? Not in Cambodia. We routinely see families of four riding on a moto together. The situation typically is that an older child, anywhere from 5 to 10 will, stand on a platform in front of the driver (usually the father), then you have the driver, while the wife sits behind the driver holding an even younger child. Quite remarkable.
A family of four getting on their moto.

A family of four getting on their moto.

A little boy holds on as his moto navigates the bumpy road.

A little boy holds on as his moto navigates the bumpy road.

  • Jill somehow discovered a wine tasting going on this weekend so we checked it out. It was thrown by what I assume is the key wine distributor in Cambodia and they were tasting and selling odds and ends. check links . Wines from Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and France were represented and we walked away with a case of wine for $101. So happy.
The sparkling wine table, a frequent stop on the circuit.

The sparkling wine table, a frequent stop on the circuit.

Stocked refrigerator (our apartment gets too hot to let wine sit out - and we need to keep it from the geckos).

Stocked refrigerator (our apartment gets too hot to let wine sit out – and we need to keep it from the geckos).

  • I mentioned in my previous post about how nice the Cambodian people are. To give you a first-hand look at just how nice, I thought I would post an e-mail I received from a colleague after I helped her with an application to get a scholarship. The e-mail is printed with her permission.

Dear David,

First, I would like to say Happy Valentine Day to you and Jill.  When I think about the people whom I love and care for them, I found you and Jill as well. Without drop a message to express my heartfelt to the people I love I feel the day is not complete. Love is one of the most powerful forces in life and key ingredient to make our world better home.

I would like to thank to you for your help and kindness to me. It is the big love and care you give to me and also Cambodia people. I think that I am so lucky to have you and Jill in Cambodia. 

You make me know the real meaning of love, caring and sharing to other. David, I am so proud of your kindness and help. So if do not hesitate to inform me anytime you need my help. I am so happy to help you and Jill as much as I can. 

Thank so much for your time editing my document. I am so happy to get one done. And thank so much for your motivation and encouragement to me. 

Have a nice day on Valentine Day.



  1. Dave,
    As always you make me laugh. Reading the letter you posted made us so proud of the work both of you are doing. It is so easy for me to see how after such a short time the Cambodian people love both you and Jill.

  2. Random comments on Dave’s Ramblings:

    –Best Valentine ever–thanks for sharing!

    –Thank you for planting thoughts of Jill being a robot. Makes me feel quite less inadequate of my geographical, navigational and organizational skills.

    –OF COURSE you found a wine tasting!?

    –Your Cambodian fridge contains more alcoholic beverages than it did in Oakland. Didn’t think that could be possible.

    So impressed with the use of your time and energy. Love you guys!

    • Kristin – you’re definitely right about the refrigerator. Come to Cambodia to help us drink it all!

  3. Nice touch at the end. Not surprising since we know how
    thoughtful the two of you are.