Category Archives: Travel

What babes really need – In Cambodia Anyways


Now nurturing baby #2, I’ve been thinking through what baby items are really necessary. We got a lot of experience with #1 and are wizened to what baby bits are crucial and which aren’t. And it was a major reality check that first weekend we went away with Aya and tripled our baggage (and we definitely didn’t look as cute as the adorable VW bug!). ūüôā

Here’s the non-exhaustive list (excluding crib and change table which are kind of a given and which we bought from friends here in Cambodia) of how we’ve survived with two kids in a developing, tropical country, and where we’ve gotten each item.

1. Baby carrier.

A caveat about Cambodia. The condition of sidewalks is not conducive for strollers. If there are open sidewalks without motos, food vendors, or people’s cars parked everywhere, then they are probably decrepit and bumpy with bricks and tiles jutting out everywhere, or big holes threatening to sprain an ankle or swallow a stroller wheel. Needless to say, we’ve used our carrier a lot. Like every day with baby #1. And it conveniently doubled as a restraint mechanism at restaurants while we were traveling with our daughter. Just plop her on a chair and strap her to it with the Ergo. So useful…

After trying a couple out, I prefer the Ergo – after 3 months – because of the waist strap, the versatility in ways to carry the baby, and the breathable fabric of the Performance Carrier. I say after three months, because the infant rather thick cotton padded insert on the Ergo scared us half to death. We were worried babe would either overheat (+30 degrees every day in Cambo), or lack breathing space.

Second time around I’ve opted for a baby sling for the first few weeks and am now borrowing a Baby Bjorn from a friend. The second she’s big enough for the Ergo though, I’ll move back to it. My back can’t handle hefting a growing kidlet around without the strong waist support of the Ergo. Plus, very keen to clock a few more kilometres with the Ergo this time around.

Procured in Canada

2. Stroller

After expounding the marvels of the baby carrier and the horrors of Cambodian sidewalks, I admit it. Yes, we have a stroller. We caved and bought a cheapo one at a shop in Phnom Penh. It has been particularly useful for international travel – roaming around airport terminals with a toddler in tow – as well as meals at restaurants. The rolling action has allowed the newborn to sleep while I catch up on emails at nearby coffee shops. That makes for one happy momma.

Procured in Cambodia

3. Bottle Sterilizer

After nearly burning our house down one day two years ago during an unfortunate bottle-sterilization-event, I dished out for a second hand sterilizer this time around. I am very happy with it, mostly because there is no risk anymore of incinerating bottles and pacifiers, and I don’t have to remember to put on any timers!

Procured in Cambodia

4. Cloth Diapers.

Not only are they good for the environment, they double up as super cute bottoms! Therefore, I don’t need to buy as many baby clothes. Plus it’s hot here all the time, so often our kids just run around in their diapers. We use them all the time when we are home and find, with our kids anyways, that they are easier on sensitive skin than disposables. The bonus with living in Cambodia is that they dry exceptionally fast in the hot weather.

Procured in Canada and Cambodia

5. Pea Pod.

We love our Pea Pod. So, we were completely shocked when we finally learned (a year after the fact) that it had been recalled.  (Yes, we are a bit out of the loop in Cambodia which has its pros and cons). We rarely used the blow up mattress, so were never really at risk for our kiddos getting hurt anyways. What we love about it is the compact size (we still try to travel light even though we are a family of four now!) and the built-in mosquito net. It is perfect for traveling in Asia where malaria is a risk when you leave the cities. No mosquitoes can get our babies tucked snug as bugs in their pea pods.

Procured in Canada

6. Kolic Water.

LIFE SAVER. I am a mom to two G-A-S-S-Y babies. It’s impossible to find this miracle substance here, so every time we have friends or family visit, we have them tuck a few extra bottles of this magic liquid in their bags for us.

Procured in Canada

7. Highchair

It might seem unnecessary, but we’ve found that the more immobile our daughter is during food times, the more we keep our sanity. We first tried a rattan version only to find it was rather insufficient. The tray was too small and too difficult to clean. Finally, we shelled out and bought a better quality “real” high chair from a fellow expat. I wish I’d just gone and bought it in the first place! The one we have can rise and lower, has a removable/washable cover, and has a beautifully large tray that manages to catch at least some of the food our daughter flings around during meals. Worth every penny.

Procured in Cambodia


The simple things

So thankful for vacation. For simple pleasures and new discoveries. For waterfalls in the jungle and pizza in the most unlikely of places. For swings and green an mountain cool. Mondilkiri is quite fantastic!


What I am and ain’t 10 years on

Photo thanks to

¬†It’s been ten years since I graduated from high school. At the moment, many of my classmates are celebrating our 10-year reunion.¬†I’m not going – not cause I don’t want to – but because I live in Cambodia. And it’s not that easy to just fly home.¬†

Also, I’ll admit. High school wasn’t my favourite season of life. The popularity contest. The games. The insecurity. I sure didn’t jump at the chance to pay $1500 to run back to Cochrane, AB to¬†celebrate¬†with people I’ve hardly kept in touch with over the past decade.¬†

But in honour of my 10 year reunion, here are some of the ways I think I’ve changed over the past 10 years.¬†¬†

  • I am no longer a teetotaler.
  • I am not scared of driving a motorbike.
  • I am not famous¬†and I’m okay with that.
  • I am less judgmental (I hope).¬†[i am almost positive¬†I made following Jesus¬†all about rules and only for prudes and the perfect.]

    photo from
  • I have learned to live more in the present and to enjoy the experiences and relationships that are here and now.
  • Traveling and working abroad has has opened up the world for me.¬†And I realize, I’m tired of being a narcissist.
  • I realize I’m a narcissist (hopefully naming it is the first step on the road to recovery).
  • I met Steve.
  • My family has lived through bouts of depression, an eating disorder, deaths of loved ones and chronic anxiety. These sober experiences have brought me back to reality and¬†helped me to¬†appreciate joy.
  • I now like to and can¬†cook. (It’s a miracle. The first time I made Kraft Dinner I botched it).
  • I play ultimate frisbee.
  • I believe community is important.
  • I am a part of a house church and believe it is a beautiful and legitimate expression of worship and faith.
  • I don’t have something scheduled every night of the week.

I am still learning of course. I am still learning that my value doesn’t come from the number of things I do and how well I do them. But there’s been movement.¬†I like that.

a daughter’s proud moment

My Dad has been living and working in Bangalore, India for the past year. I’ve had the privilege over Skype to hear some of his reflections every few Saturdays over many months.¬†

I think he is a man of deep thought. Of brilliant revelations. A man of God. And this latest poem on his¬†blog¬†shows me some of what is brewing in his heart. It isn’t easy mulling over the the¬†unsettling¬†chasm between rich and poor (and perhaps markedly more difficult in a place like India where everything is more in-your-face).¬†This¬†poem is beautiful and frightening.¬†And one that compels¬†me to try to find more practical ways to act justly and be merciful with great love.¬†

A Message to the Poorest of the Poor

By Hugh Campbell

You, the poorest of the poor, have no weapons, no rights, no access to legal decisions. Your knives are too dull to cut dry bread for your children, let alone an aggressor’s wrist or throat.

You have a voice, but it is ignored, drowned out by louder voices demanding more for less.

You, the poorest of the poor, take up space.

If you, the poorest of the poor, leave your space you may be viewed as trouble makers, aggressors, terrorists, even though their rightful space was stolen from you years ago and sold to the highest bidder, or lowest bidder with the biggest gun, sharpest sword, biggest stone.

What would happen to you the poorest of the poor, if in the same moment you…

Stood to your feet, walked head held high, stepped out of the slums onto the highway and walked towards the international airport; walked shoulder to shoulder the breadth and length of the runway, wave after wave at night into the path of an incoming flight full of business and tourist travelers pursuing exponential profits, unlimited pleasures?

You may not want to know.
You may or may not want to take that risk.

You, the poorest of the poor, are not alone. You have each other.
Millions of you, according to newspapers, magazines, government reports, and websites, indicate your numbers are many, you may become the majority (which means that there may be more of you then them ‚Äď the others ‚Äď those who think you are nothing, powerless, valueless, not worthy of investment, donations, transfer of funds, profit sharing, sharing, intervention or initiative of any kind, until you show that you are a living being capable of doing something at lowest cost for another‚Äôs highest profit.
What, if anything, would happen if you, the poorest of the poor, if in the same moment, you…
Stood to your feet and stamped the ground once?
Stood to your feet, stamped the ground and clapped your hands?
Stood to your feet, stamped the ground, clapped your hands, and shouted, ‚ÄúMy turn!‚ÄĚ and repeated it 59 times.
Stood to your feet, marched on the spot for an hour, a day, a day and a night?

Would anyone hear?
Would the ground move or the earth shake?
Would anyone care?

You, the poorest of the poorest not only have each other. You take up space.
What would happen if a billion of you stood in bare feet, stomped the ground, clapped your hands and shouted at the same time? Your silence becoming noise, a growl spreading fear, an earthquake shredding slum tents, and flattening the walled estate homes on the horizon across the polluted canal flowing into a cesspool called a lake at the edge of your neighborhood slum.
What would happen if a billion of you placed two empty pop cans on the sun baked ground, stomped your right foot on one, and your left foot on the other? Then did it again, and again.
It may or may not start or end a war. It might speak to you if not anyone else. You would hear the sound of your stamping feet, your hands clapping, your shouts; the crackling sound of your feet crushing recycled metal. You would know you are alive. With life comes risks, opportunities, hope.

What message would you send?
What message would be heard by you and others?
What might happen next?

You may not want to know.
You mayor not be willing to take a risk,
and see what happens next.

But then again, you might.

a week of lasts

Our last hiking adventure with Cody and Nicole - but hopefully not our last adventures with them.

finishing strong – or at least trying to.¬† it’s been a week of¬†‘the lasts’.¬†

-frisbee games – au revoir Grass Stainz and Run Fergus Run.¬† It’s been a slice.¬† Thank goodness I ended Run Fergus with a great layout.¬†¬†¬†

-work – last day is tomorrow.¬† it’s bitter sweet letting go of all of my projects and prepping them for the new guy who starts next week.

-the last time to hang out with friends and family.  going away parties, dessert, coffees, a few beers.  there are many people i will miss deeply.

-the last time sleeping in our little room in Mayland Heights.¬†¬†the bed’s been gone for a week already, but there’s something so familiar about this place.¬† i’ve loved every second – the view of downtown; fantastic neighbours – great people for potlucks – family foods 100 steps away.¬†

-the last bike ride to work.¬† i’ve come to appreciate the 20-minute ride.¬† it clears my head, gives me exercize, and i feel stronger after a summer of riding.¬†

-last times with Snappy.¬† she goes to STeve’s dad’s house and is going to stay there until we figure out what’s going on.¬† we’re going to miss her winter adventures with mice.¬† (pout).¬† i’d love to bring her to cambodia…but don’t want to screw her up either with such a huge transition.¬†

winding down.  gearing up for the future. 

i sure hope i’m ready!

thoughts about moving

beautiful views
beautiful views - Steve and I enjoying some of our last times in the Canadian Rockies.



I’m starting to feel the pressure.  We move to Cambodia in 33 sleeps. 


What is swirling around in my brain these days?


Passports| visas| health insurance| missing friends and family| ultimate Frisbee as I know it| the Canadian Rockies| goodbyes with our wonderful church family| the heat| missing good coffee| my kitty| what do I pack in my suitcase?| malaria medication | seeing my sister in 38 days| shopping lists| to-do lists| too many lists| how will I handle the trafficking of women and children? Pedophiles? Etc?| safety|


Everything takes on a whole new perspective‚Ķhanging out with friends and family.¬† Enjoying the ‚Äúlasts for a long time.‚ÄĚ Making the most of the moment.¬† Thinking about what is truly Canadian and what I‚Äôll truly miss.¬†


What a head full.