A Cambodian Crossroad

We’re pleased to announce a new weekly column at Move to Cambodia! Marissa Carruthers is a freelance journalist who, less than a week ago, left behind life in the UK with her husband for the sun and smiles of Cambodia. In her weekly column, she will be sharing the ups and downs of settling into life in Phnom Penh as a new expat.

Phnom Penh traffic, including tuk tuks, SUVs and moto drivers busy driving and texting.

Why did the expat cross the road?

“Just close your eyes and walk.” That was the advice from a Westerner who had grown bored of his entertainment — watching me trying, and failing miserably, to cross the road.

Welcome to Phnom Penh, you’d better get used to it,” he added as he sauntered casually across the road, weaving in and out of the constant stream of traffic.

That was my first day in Cambodia and five days in, crossing the road hasn’t become any easier. In fact, out of everything — the upheaval of relocating to a country on the other side of the world and adjusting to a new culture — this is the one thing that still petrifies me. Taking that leap of faith when every iota of common sense is screaming at you to stay put; how do you ever get used to that?

It sits in stark contrast to the controlled, orderly roads I left behind in the UK, but then again I’m now living in a land of opposites. My best friend is no longer the radiator that kept away the winter bite back in the UK, it’s the aircon that sends a pleasurable, refreshing chill down my spine. Whitening creams now line the shelves instead of rows of tanning products, everyone seems to be smiling and life is definitely a lot more laid back.

I can afford to eat out every night and, man, is the food good. You can buy beer for less than $1, and there always seems to be someone poised to help me out when I’m lost in this new world.

I may only have been here for a few days, but already life is looking good and it seems the stresses and strains that I carried with me in the run-up to my move have been left on the plane to be flown back to England, where they belong.

So here’s to a great start to my new life in Cambodia.

4 Responses to A Cambodian Crossroad

    […] a lot of possible stressors, both physical (far too much nightlife, the heat) and emotional (the traffic, sick water buffalo). In the face of all of these things “it’s important to stay […]

    Stephane says:

    I wrote an article on my blog about crossing a street in Phnom Penh, in July. I called it : crossing a street, a training session.
    You can find it here : http://www.kambodia.info/traverser-la-rue-cest-tres-formateur/
    I feel we are in the same mindset between your blog and mine ! Maybe we can cross more.

    David Allan says:

    Looking forward to reading your future dispatches. You’re doing something I could never see myself being brave enough to do, so I’m intrigued as to how you get on.
    Best wishes… David Allan.

    Katy wheeler says:

    Looking forward to reading this every week and following your adventures. X

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