Adventures with the Barnes - Episode 2

15/12/2018 11:54:00 AM | Kim and Craig

Did you know that you can bake moist fluffy cakes in a rice cooker? Neither did I until we moved to Cambodia where I no longer have an oven! 

Our family of six has been living in Cambodia for six months now and just like the rice-cooker trick, we are constantly having to be creative in how we do things. We just can’t do them the same way as we did in Australia! Having to rest in the heat of the day, buying fresh meat, fruit and vegetables daily from the market and learning exactly when to pick our bananas and papaya so they are ripe enough to enjoy, but before they’re completely irresistible to the birds. The list goes on!

And those are just some of the practical adjustments… the cultural differences add another layer of complexity. Learning how to quickly determine if someone is older or younger than you and by how much so as to greet them appropriately, knowing how to sit at a meal and how to get around the room without walking in front of someone. 

We are slowly learning how to live here, mostly through taking risks, making mistakes, watching others and asking questions.  

Recently we celebrated Craig’s birthday with a party and decided to invite our neighbour. He doesn’t speak any English and our Khmer language is progressing, but conversations are still stilted. A bit nervous, Craig went to his house and they ended up walking around the garden naming the fruit trees. They came to a big lemon tree that had many lemons underneath it, rotting on the ground. Our neighbour told Craig that he had never eaten a lemon and had no idea how to cook one. So Craig asked if he could take some home, which our neighbour was more than happy to make happen. Craig invited him to the party and he said he would come (at least that’s how we think the conversation went!). 

Quickly I made the lemons into a lemon cake (yes, in the rice cooker). Our neighbour was so happy to try the lemon cake and see a delicious use for his ‘worthless’ fruit! Since that day our relationship has grown and he often drops over, bringing more lemons or a curry. One day we even came home to a shopping bag of water and live fish hanging from our gate!  

Opening our mouth to speak to someone is risky. At this point in our language learning we rely on creative ways of communicating… it’s amazing how far expressive hand gestures, polite pointing and lots of smiles and laughter can get you! Most of the time we feel like we won’t have the words to say, will say the wrong thing or be misunderstood. Craig’s feelings as he went to our neighbour’s house that day made me think about being in Australia and the risk it takes to share our hope in Jesus with our neighbours there. Sometimes it feels like we are trying to speak a new language there as well.

Every day, as we immerse ourselves in life in our Khmer community, we are challenged to find new and creative ways of doing things, ministry, relationships and life… and we know this is just the beginning.   

Have you ever made cake in a  rice-cooker?
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