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.
“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.