I love Google Alerts. Really, I do. It passes on interesting articles directly to my email inbox. And while I'm not being paid to advertise for them (as if they need my help!), I just want to mention it because it will let you know that I was certainly not looking for this article that dropped into my box this morning.

Now, landmines are not a laughing matter (except in certain cases, like when watching the UN anti-landmine video, which takes place on a soccer field. Though there's disagreement on that particular example.), and I'm not generally given to laughing at horrible tragedy. I'm not certain that a landmine beauty pageant is funny (stop now, go read the article, and then come back), but it certainly is... no, I don't have an adjective for this. It's frightening, as it seems the women are competing to earn prosthetic limbs. It's weird, that anyone would think this was a good idea. It's potentially liberating (?) as maybe it teaches these women that they are still beautiful even after an awful accident.

Then again, I just watched Miss Congeniality last night, so my whole perspective on beauty pagents is off right now. But I really do like Google Alerts.



The mouse is dead. Of course, this didn't happen without a lot of hilarity. Mainly in the form of other people laughing at my expression regarding the mouse. Grace, who works with me, taunted me by telling me the mouse followed me to work; the woman at the store who sold me a mousetrap laughed as I shivered in the aisle at purchasing poison. And then there was a memorable conversation with the neighborhood.

First, the trap. I bought a glue trap (which is completely inhumane, blah blah blah). I have very little compassion for this mouse. Also, everyone else told me to get a cat, so I think this is the least awful way for the mouse to go. As you can see... the glue trap is quite colorful.

Note that the mouse has little electric-looking shocks coming off of him. When I showed the trap to the neighbors to let them know that we had a mouse problem, they became very concerned. After trying to decipher why they were upset, I realized they thought that we were going to electrocute the mouse. I'm not even sure how you would go about killing a mouse in that fashion. I assured them that we were just going to get it nice and stuck.

And in the end, the mouse was nice and stuck (and dead!) and we (mainly Deanna) removed him from the laundry room and the apartment is mouse-free once again. I'm now free to eat as many snacks as I wish. I did, however, see a mouse at the office the other day. Do you think they are following me?



I was going to blog about something real and relevant about how I'm feeling and what I think about Cambodia. You know, something other than silly marriage proposal stories. And then my life was rudely interrupted by something small and furry.

While cooking dinner this evening, a mouse ran past me and behind the refrigerator. Perhaps you don't know this, but I am not a fan of small, furry animals. So, of course, my reaction was to freak out. Not necessarily screaming, but definitely not actively pursuing the mouse. Poor Deanna (my new roommate) has been a champ, agreeing to look for The Invader and try to get rid of It. The last sighting was when That Creature ran into the laundry room (after almost touching me while I was spying on the stairs-- the only time I screamed), and we're hoping It surreptitiously slipped out the back door while we were eating dinner. When we looked again, The Enemy was gone.

When I lived in California, I killed crickets like crazy. I've squashed cockroaches here, and put up with lizards, spiders, and other giant flying insects. Yet this mouse is another story entirely. I don't like it one bit, and we are getting a trap tomorrow. I'm willing to blame habitat destruction for this unforseen event; there is a school being built behind the apartment, and all the foliage has been cleared, likely leaving our new houseguest homeless. That certainly doesn't make It welcome, though. I should also add that every noise that comes through the walls (and there's a lot... I think the neighbors are moving furniture) is making me think that The Intruder is loose and creating havoc. It's not a nice thought.

So now I am hiding out in my bedroom, hungry for a snack, but too afraid to face The Monster in the Kitchen. I realize that it's pathetic, but it's just the way things are. Until the problem is taken care of, no more serious reflection. Or, apparently, snacks.



On the heels of my last post regarding unsolicited marriage proposals, I opened my email to find an article about Cambodia's new rules regarding foreign marriage. Obviously, the problem they're attempting to address is quite serious, but it does give me a new answer to parking attendants, moto drivers, and any other potential grooms: "Sorry, dude, but I'm not allowed to marry you."

Read another article here.



Perhaps I spoke too soon. When I headed back to my new favorite coffee shop to avoid the power outage, soak up the a/c, and attempt to finish my taxes, I ran into my new friend, Lyhov. He gave me a friendly greeting, watched over my motorbike, and when we left, I once again found myself turning down a marriage proposal. I think.

Lyhov and his fellow parking attendant (no name, sorry) were impressed that I told them "see you later" in Khmer, and then Lyhov gestured to his friend and said something to the effect of "Do you want him to be your husband?" I replied, "No, thank you." (I mean, it's not the most romantic proposal... the man was wearing a surgical mask at the time!) Apparently the friend thought Lyhov was shortchanging himself, because he got involved, asking me if I wanted to marry Lyhov, or to make him my "special" (read: boyfriend). When I (briefly) studied persuasive tactics in college, we studied this particular strategy: ask for something outrageous and then move to a smaller request, which won't seem so difficult to fulfill. Too bad I am wise to those games! Instead, there was only more practice at declining oh-so-tempting marriage proposals for me.

In non-marriage related news, I saw someone else on the road wearing the same helmet that I have (and thought, wow, what a great helmet!). I think this makes me a helmet trendsetter, and I'm quite proud. A few weeks ago, someone commented that the Pink Helmet is quite stylish, and wasn't I special for owning one (and yes, they were serious, thank you very much). Just in case you were worried that I 1) wasn't wearing a helmet or 2) was wearing an unfashionable helmet. Safety and fashion... all rolled into one. I guess that ends up being attractive to some people. Like parking attendants. Sheesh.



Yesterday I was leaving a coffee shop and the parking attendant was chatting with me. Although my Khmer is still pretty limited, I can do short, basic conversations-- names, ages, I live in Cambodia, work for an NGO, I only speak a little Khmer--this usually earns me mild approval and even some respect from people I meet. Lyhov was no different.

So we were proceeding through the intro information, when he asked me a question about my house (bptea... a word I recognize). I didn't quite get his meaning, so he tried again, something to the effect of "Do you live with your husband (padei)?" I shook my head no, starting to laugh, and replied "K'nyom aht rivpkah" (I'm not married). His next question--and I should have seen this coming-- "Why don't you have a husband?"

My vocabulary is not nearly large enough to even begin to answer that. At least he didn't ask me to marry him.