Word of the Week Wednesday 5/31/17

Namaste readers!
Today marks another month ending on my YAGM journey! So, in light of that bittersweet train of thinking, our word of the week is:


Language: Khmer

Part of speech: Noun

Pronunciation: Git-tee-ah

Translation: thought

Thoughts seem to be something that permeate my mind recently, as they should. These next few weeks will especially be filled with thoughts of the future, or past that want to creep into my present, and dwindling days here in Cambodia.Well, here I am to stop them head on. (See what I did there?) I acknowledge they are there, but this next month and a half is not about all of those thoughts, it is about the people and places that have accompanied me this past year as I do the same with them. So, that thought can wait, for now my brain is busy in the moment.

Keep Shining,



Word of the Week Wednesday 5/24/17

Joom Reeup Sua,
What a wonderful week this has been, and this weekend brings the first of many lasts in Cambodia. Worship weekend ascends, meaning that this Sunday will be the last chance that the CamFam will have to attend church together here. The next time we meet, we will have left our placements, which means our church home for the year, and my literal home, will no longer be a place for us to attend. However, the changes ahead are not the only things changing in Cambodia recently.


Language: Khmer

Part of Speech: Noun

Pronunciation: Plee-eng

Translation: Rain
The seasons are changing her in Cambodia and so the rain, rain, rain, has again started to come down,.down, down. In Phnom Penh we have been welcoming it every afternoon around 3-4pm. One thing I would like to say though, is that dry season almost seems like a myth after these past months. It was a bit hotter and no rain appeared for a few weeks, but it was nothing compared to the four to five months of rain-less heat that the YAGMs of last year warned of! Do not get me wrong here, I am a self-classified space heater and therefore do not mind the lower temperatures, but it does make me wonder about the many farmers that needed dry soil for their crops. Or just a dry day in general for rice. Now that rainy season is back, it does not seem to want to stop anytime soon.

Keep Shining,


Rice Rice Baby

It is an age old story that cultures make up more words for the things that are important to them. The classic example is that Eskimos have many words for snow because they need to know what type of snow something is. Fluffy, fresh, packed, blizzard, etc. Well, here in Cambodia, I have learned just how important eating, and particularly rice, are to society.

First, let us start with eating. There are five main words for eating in Khmer depending on who is speaking and who they are speaking about/to. Those are:

ស៊ី See

  • For animals (impolite word, although it seems to be an acquired slang for university age students between close friends. Either that or cockroaches count as animals and the hostel students are talking to them.)

ញុំា Nyam

  • For someone younger, or the same age

ហូប Hope

  • For someone the same age or slightly older

ពិសា Pisa

  • For someone older than

សោយ Sowey

  • For the king and God

Just looking at the specifications with which they classify the verb “to eat,” it is clear how important food is to Khmer culture!

Now, let’s look at the ways that rice has integrated itself into society. It is important to note that rice production is one of the biggest ways that many families provide for themselves in Cambodia. Not only that, but every meal is served with rice. I could eat rice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert if we have it! In fact, I usually do! To start with some basics, let’s look at a couple places associated with food:

ហាងបាយ Hang bai

  • Restaurant (literally “shop/store of rice”)

ផ្ទះបាយ P’teh-ah bai

  • Kitchen (literally “house/home of rice”

What about if we follow rice through its process of production?

ស្រូវ Skroh

  • Patty rice

អង្ករ Angkaw

  • Uncooked rice

ដាំ Dahm

  • Cooking rice verb

បាយ Bai

  • Cooked rice you eat

And finally, how about when you are talking about eating, or being hungry in general?

ញុំាបាយហើយ Nyam bai howee?

  • Have you eaten? (Literally: Have you eaten rice already?)

ញុំាបាយជាមួយខ្ញុំ Nyam bai chea-moi knyohm

  • Come eat with me. (Eat rice with me.)

ខ្ញុំឃ្លានបាយ Knyohm klee-en bai

  •  I am hungry. (Literally: I am hungry for rice.)
  • Note on this one. Sometimes hostel students will joke about this one and say “Klee-en mee” (I am hungry for noodles.)

Well folks, that’s all and sadly it is time to say good-bai! If you are in a particularly rice-y mood, or enjoy rice related humor, go on over and check out the post featuring An Ode to Rice on my other blog!

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 5/17/17

Good morning/afternoon/evening to you!

What a wonderful we this has been. Full of new experiences, new memories, and new words! Today though, I bring in an old word. One that I have known since I first came to Cambodia. Before I could read the Khmer letters for it, and before I even know how to say I was tired or full or busy, I could say this.


Language: Khmer

Part of Speech: Noun/adjective

Pronunciation: Sah-bai

Translation: Happy, fun

My day is filled with questions of “Sok sabai dte?” How are you? Although it is easy to just say good or fine in English, I find myself being honest in Khmer. Sabai, or aht sabai. Happy or not happy. Albeit, many of my days here are happy, or fun, or indescribably wonderful, so usually I answer with a simple sabai. I hope your next week is full of fun, and you too can say you are sabai!

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 5/10/17

Hey there!

Quick word this week from the wonderful town of Kampong Cham!


Language: English

Part of speech: Noun

Definition: a small insect typically having a sting and living in a complex social colony with one or more breeding queens. It is wingless except for fertile adults, which form large mating swarms, and is proverbial for its industriousness.

Pronunciation: ˈant

A couple other volunteers and I made our way to Kampong Cham for a couple days of exploring. Little did we know that the males were VERY much fertile and our window did not have a screen.  They were huge, winged, and swarming, and our room was covered in them! Let’s just say I will never see a small ant the same again. They are much better than the alternative!

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 5/3/17

Sou S’dai,

This week I have been inspried by the book I am currently reading. It talks about how English formed from many other languages or a very long time. Click here if that sounds interesting to you! Not only is this book fascinating, it gave me a really cool word of the week in my native language.


Language: English
Part of speech: Noun, verb, participial adjective
Pronunciation: sɛt
Definition: Just click here.

So, what makes this word so amazing? Well, if you took the time to click the link for the definition, you would find out that there are HUNDREDS of ways to define it. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary lists 58 noun uses, 126 verb uses, and 10 participial adjective uses. When all is said and done, approximately 60,000 words are used to define this ONE! If I did not think about it before, this book is definitely showing the parts of English that never occur to me as a native speaker. There are many more than I expected. Either way, this is a fun word, and now you can impress your friends with a fun fact at you rnext dinner party (or book club.)

Keep Shining,