Word of the Week Wednesday 11/30/16

Wassup word lovers?

This week I was cooking in the hostel kitchen when an old friend came to visit. She asked in English if I was cooking, so I wanted to show her some of the little Khmer I had learned in her absence. My response was: “Jah, Keenohm slaw” Yes, I cook. She looked at me and corrected my silly mistake. “No, Ashley, you only use slaw for soup, there is a different way to say you cook other things. You are frying, that is different.” Feeling quite silly for not knowing that after two weeks of using the word, I had to know how to say it correctly. So, let’s find out, shall we?

Language: Khmer

Part of Speech: Verb

Pronunciation: Twuhr Mah Hohp

Definition: to cook food (not soup)

This word literally takes the word “to do/make” and the word “food” and squishes them together for the fixed phrase “to cook,” AKA: “to make food.” What an informational lesson for me this week as I continue to love and learn this language.

Well, here’s to Mah Hohp-ing you have a good week!

Keep Shining,


P.s. the Google translate version spells this word wrong, according to my lovely friends here! This is the correct way! 🙂


Word of the Week Wednesday 11/23/16

Buenos días amigos,

This week I am writing from the beautiful city of Siem Reap as I attend our first YAGM retreat as a group. We are visitng Angkor Wat, as well as the many surrounding temples, and discussing topics like development, and Angkorean history. Our word of the week was spurred by two encounters during our exploration today of Tah Prohm temple. Let’s take a look at the word first and then I can explain:


Languge: Spanish

Part of Speech: Noun

Pronunciation: Mar-ee-poh-sah

Definition: Butterfly

The first story explains the language, and the second explains the word choice!
1) After taking a picture for a couple at the temple, I realized they had been speaking Spanish, so I worked up the courage to talk to them a little. I have been missing my lack of Spanish here, so it was nice to use it a little. Not only that, but I received a wonderful compliment, and it was one of my highlights of the day. Here is a translation of our short interation:
“Where are you from?”
“Spain! And you?”
“The United States”
“Oh, your accent is very good.”
“Really? Thank you!”
“Yeah, we thought you were from Argentina before you said that.”
“Oh, wow! Thank you so much!”
“Of course.”
“I will see you around.”
“Okay, bye.”
And so we went in different directions to begin exploring more of the temple. I was very proud to have received this compliment, and though that it had to be a part of my sharing today!

2) The word “mariposa” specifically was chosen for the number of butterflies I saw throughout the ruins today. Plus, my friend Amanda and I ended up taking a selfie with one that kept landing on us, so that was a special accomplishment!

Keep Shining,

Word of the Week Wednesday 11/16/16

G’day friends!

This week seems like an extended holiday in Cambodia after water festival, so I will make this explanation short! Our word this week is:


Language: Greek

Part of Speech: Verb

Pronunciation: May-no

Definition: To remain, abide

The credit for this word goes to one of my YAGM cohort, Lindsay. She texted me earlier this week as she was looking at a Bible verse in Khmer and wanted to know what the Greek was in that verse. I was happy to oblige, and what I found was a huge opportunity to explore Greek again. It is hard to remember how much I miss it sometimes, and Lindsay has reminded me that it is something I should make room for in my schedule!

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 11/9/16

Greetings, friends!

Another week of November has come and gone in Cambodia, which means more holidays are upon us! First, today is actually Independence day, so perhaps a round of happy birthday is in order! Other than this wonderful holiday, there is another that relates to our word of the week:


Language: Khmer

Part of Speech: Noun

Pronunciation: Bohn Ohm Dtuk

Definition: Water Festival

This coming weekend is one of the biggest holidays of the year in the Kingdom of Wonder: Cambodian Water Festival. Other than Khmer New Year in April, this celebration is the largest and most exciting of the year. During the Water Festival, two main things are celebrated. First, this marks the start of the fishing season, which means fresher fish on the table! Second, at this time of the year, the current of the Tonle Sap River CHANGES DIRECTIONS. Yeah, it is the only river in the world to do that! After a few months it will return to it’s normal current into the Mekong, but for the next few it will be running backwards. The last Cambodian Water Festival was in 2014, which makes this one an even bigger deal than before. Past years have had low water levels in rivers and other issues, making it impossible to celebrate and in turn, postponing the games…until now. So far this year’s festival has not been cancelled, and that is very good news! The festival will start this Sunday and then run through Tuesday. There are boat races, bright light decorations, food, and carnivals along the riverside, and Phnom Penh has the biggest celebration of all. I am ecstatic to see what this celebration will bring, and learn more about the cultural significance of the day!

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 11/2/16

Good morning, afternoon, and evening!

Time flies quite fast in Cambodia, even though we take things slow. Either way, we have reached another Word of the Week Wednesday:


Language: Khmer

Part of Speech: Noun

Pronunciation: muh-pee-ah

Definition: Friend

I have found that my time so far in Cambodia has been marked by the people I meet, and the friends I make. This week, a friend at the hostel told me “I will help teach you Khmer on Wednesday nights, because I want to speak Khmer with you.” My heart was overjoyed at the dedication and want for communication that would spur this type of action. It is so exciting to know that I will be improving my Khmer each week, and doing it with a true friend that I have made here.

Keep Shining,