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Next stop…Phnom Penh

24 Jan

I am very excited to announce that our little House of Commons will be starting its newest adventure in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh – starting sometime this summer.

When I told an old friend back home about our news, she replied, “…┬áthe school looks fantastic !! Is it a safe place to live ? I’ll be worried if you have a lot of unrest around you !”

In response, I sent her the following email.

You crack me up! In the 7 years that we’ve been in Bangkok we’ve experienced the following:

  • a coup d’etat (in our first two months!)
  • 6 Prime Ministers in 7 years
  • we were (unknowingly) roughly 600 meters as the crow flies away from a political assassination one night
  • after that, the riots got so bad that school was closed for a little over a week and we left town while the rioters randomly looted and then burnt down more than dozen key buildings around town. When little pieces of burnt tire started to literally drift in and fall in my backyard- that’s when I got Neil to hire a rental car and get out of town. The guy at the shop was so happy to have us take, what he told us was possibly the last rental car left in Bangkok, because he knew it would be safer to have his car out of town.
  • school was closed for nearly two weeks due to flooding in 2011 (when I was 7 months pregnant with Gabe) – again we had to leave town for ten days because we didn’t know when/if the flood waters were going to reach us and the “water” coming out of our faucets was toxic. It took weeks (in some cases months) for some common everyday products to find their way back to our grocery shelves
  • when my mom came over for Aidan’s birth, she had to stay an extra week because of protests that completely shut down the international airport. In the end, she had to fly out of an airport that was built as a US airbase during the Vietnam War
  • it’s easy for people to forget but there has effectively been a guerrilla style civil war going on the deep south of Thailand for virtually a decade that has claimed the lives of thousands of people. Monks and teachers/schools are the preferred targets. To date, over 150 teachers have been killed.

And yet, despite all that, living in Thailand is actually quite safe and peaceful. Violent crime is relatively low. We have access to world class healthcare (something that I know I will miss in Cambodia). We live in, what I think anyway, is one of the world’s truly global cities. It is teeming with a vibrant social fabric, culture and history. It’s my sons’ hometown and I will miss it.