Word of the Week Wednesday 2/15/17

Buenos dias (o noches) amigos!
This week our word is straightforward and I bet you can guess what it is. In fact I’m going to give you a second. Go ahead, think about it. Well, let’s see if you are right:


Language: Khmer

Part of Speech: verb

Pronunciation: sroh line

Definition: to love

Did you guess love? If not, that is okay, but if you did- way to go! Valentine’s may not be popular with everyone, but it is one of my favorite holidays and this year was no exception. Love from friends and family in the states, and from my community here in Cambodia. What a wonderful thing to celebrate. So, spread some love this next week! It’s a verb and it isn’t exclusively for the 14th of February! 

Keep Shining,


Make up Monday!

Hey there friends!

Today is Make up Monday! Now, you may be asking, “Ashley, what is this ‘Make up Monday?'” Well, valued reader, Make up Monday is a day where I post the Word of the Week from Last Wednesday because I realized it never posted. So, I am ‘making up’ for the missed Word of the Week Wednesday due to internet malfunction! So let’s take a look:

Word of the Week Wednesday 2/8/16

Today follows a very special time of my YAGM year. Last Saturday was the halfway point of our year here. My Cambodian cohort has reacted in different ways, and I do not think there is any one way to react to this realization. I wrote more about my feelings concerning this moment in time on my other blog, Basically Bowdacious, if you would like to hear more. For now, let us look at our word of the week:


Language: Khmer

Part of Speech: Verb

Pronunciation: rng-chaam, or just chaam

Definition: To wait

This seemed like a fitting word for this week for a few reasons. First, the definition. In our lives, we often tend to wait for the next ‘big thing’ to come. A wedding, a vacation, Friday. My worry now is that I could start to say the same thing about my year here, and take for granted the amazing things that I do not need to wait for. It would not be difficult for me to begin focusing on my next big life step, and live as if I am waiting for that to come. And I do not want that. I want to be here, every day, for the precious time I have left. Rather than focus on what is next, I can live into now.

The other reason I chose this word is because it is actually longer than what is normally said. When using it in conversations, the “rng” part disappears and “chaam” is only said. This year seems a lot like that sometimes. Being halfway through, I think about the in-explainable, the minute, the momentary times that will never be said allowed. Not because they are bad, or unimportant, but because they are part of my year meant just for me. They are the parts where I question myself, seek new things in the world, wish a moment would last longer, or need to stop and think. These times are not any less a part of my year than the ones I write about here or in my other blog, but they are not said allowed. My journey here is the whole word, but I know that the stories can really only say chaam. 

Keep Shining,


P.s. Thanks for your grace on this Make Up Monday- See you on Wednesday!

Word of the Week Wednesday 1/25/17


Today is short and simple because being on the internet recently has been a difficult task for my mental well-being. Our word this week is:


Language: English

Part of Speech: Adverb, Adjective, Noun, or Verb (We are focusing on one of the adverb meanings)

Pronunciation: for·ward

Definition: Onward so as to make progress.

I chose this word because I am in Cambodia, and many things are happening in America that I feel both connected to and disconnected from. The majority of these issues come down to one thing: moving forward. To quote my friend Rafiki from the Lion King: “Oh, yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” And I say we learn from it and make progress forward. Keep moving, keep going, keep fighting.

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 1/18/17

Weeks seem to be flying by as I am here, although I know there are still about six months left before I leave, I am amazed by how fast that time truly will go. This week’s word of the week is actually not in any of the languages I know/study, which is pretty exciting!

Language: Chinese

Part of Speech: Noun

Pronunciation: Lóng

Definition: Dragon
Now, during my time in Cambodia, I have heard a bit more about Chinese from two people who work with City Church. One is from Singapore, and the other is from Honk Kong. They have taught me some, but that is not where this word comes from. Just this week I started to read the book “First They Killed My Father.” The book is a true story written by a women who was a child during the Khmer Rough regime in Cambodia. The book is about her family, and what Cambodia was like in this time. After starting the book, I found that the author’s family has both a Cambodian and a Chinese heritage. Her name, spelled Loung in English characters, actually means dragon in Chinese. I chose this word because I thought mixing it up with a new language would be fun, but also because this book talks about an important part of Cambodian history that has echoes even today. Neither my heart, nor soul, nor mind can comprehend the lives Cambodians lived during these years, but I want to learn more about the context where I am living. I want to learn more about my Khmer brothers and sisters. And so today I dedicate my word to them, and to learning history, even when it is hard.
Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 1/11/17


Welcome back to another wonderful wednesday of words! Today our word is short and simple, albeit very important in our lives. Plus, I have a disagreement with its definition!


Language: English

Part of Speech: Noun

Pronunciation: ˈhōm

Definition: the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.

Home. Now, this definition states that home is somewhere that someone lives permanently, and that has not been my experience. I’ve come to associate this word with a feeling of transience. Home is constantly forming in new places and new ways. I’ve been in Cambodia for about four and a half months now, and can say without a doubt I have a new home forming here. It is hard to imagine leaving this home later this year, but I try to think about that yet. While at college, I felt at home, but I knew that was not permanent because I would leave. In essence, I do not think that you must live in a home permanently. But, I do think that anywhere you consider “home” permanently lives in you. Sure, that sounds a little cheesy and hallmark-y, but I have found it to be true. For every place that I have considered home, there is a piece of my heart that always hold that place. Eventually, I will leave Cambodia, but there will always be a spot for it in my heart. For now, I will feel the love and joy of my current home, and the family that often comes with it.

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 1/4/17

Happy New Year!

2017 is a new year, and it will be full of many new words! Our first word of the week for the year 2017 is one that I really should know by now, but realized yesterday that I do not! So, let’s take a look:


Language: Khmer

Part of Speech: Noun

Pronunciation: Suhm-noo-ah

Definition: Question

I ask a LOT of questions here, so I am not quite sure why it never occurred to me that knowing the word for question might be a good idea! As we enter this new year, I hope that your world is filled with many questions, even if there are not always answers! Stay curious and learn about the wonderful world of words this year!

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 12/28/16

Choom Reeup Sua,

Another week has passed and many more words have been used. This week I picked a new Khmer word for me, that ties two words I already know together. As the end of 2016 comes to a close, I always think some reflection on what we know can help us see something new!


Language: Khmer

Part of Speech: Adjective

Pronunciation: Choo-aim

Definition: Sweet and Sour (can insert meat of choice here, my favorite is chicken)

All the LCC pastors were in town this week, so we went to lunch and I took the opportunity to learn some new food names. One I really liked, and asked how to order in the future was Chah Choo-aim Sak Moh-ahn. Which means Fried Sweet and Sour Chicken. This may not seem SUPER exciting to you, but wait, there is more! The word for sweet and sour is a combination of the words for sour (Choo) and sweet (P’aim.) Yes, English obviously does this in its own way, but making connections in a new language is more fun! I hope your New Year’s Eve and first days of 2017 are more sweet than sour, and filled with wondrous words!

Keep Shining,