Anyone who knows me will know how much I love dogs, especially my little mutts. We’re a house fill of strong personalites and obviously there is a lot of dog hair to clean up, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. All pet owners know how wonderful it is coming home to this adorable creature who is absolutely thrilled to see you. I will literally leave the property for 10 minutes and come back and get the same enthusiam as I would being away for the whole morning. It’s great!
Keith and I are both super passionate about dogs and we love our little babas. They’re our furry babies right? We have 5 little nuggets who I shall introduce today. We also have 2 regular visits from our neighbors who I shall also introduce.
But first… a little history.
I know what you’re thinking, History? Come on! I’m here to see cute furry creatures. Hang in there, we’ll get there soon. Now I will never pretend that I know everything about dog care. I am constantly learning new things with the ultimate goal being, wanting the best for my little mutts. One of the biggest topics I educated myself on was about puppy mills. Call it naive or well hidden but when you were looking at getting a sweet little puppy, we just assume it’s coming from a loving home where the mother and father were well taken care of. This is most certainly not the case. Rather the opposite. Many breeders keep the poor dogs in cages their entire lives and are constantly forced to mate. Their babies are taken away from them and the cycle continues. Once I learnt this information, adoption was the ONLY way forward. As smart as humans are, we can be so cruel too.
So much has changed since social media arrived. You have all this information at your fingertips and animal welfare education has developed because of this. Another strong reason for adopting, especially when living in Asia is because of the overwhelming amount of strays. The are plenty of street dogs around. When I first moved to Cambodia it was heart breaking to see all these dogs in dire need of care. 7 years later and the street dogs are generally in a lot better condition and that’s due to several reasons but mainly due to organisations getting involved and helping these animals and working with and educating the locals.
After losing my precious Mogwai (little French bulldog) we decided if we were going to get any future doggies, they would be adopted and that’s exactly how Bear and Shia came into our lives. I can’t believe that my little Burrito and Shiaed are 7 already?! Time sure does fly.
So without further adieu, let’s get to know these glorious, hairy creatures.
Mr. Bear is our only male dog. He’s surrounded by the ladies and doesn’t seem to mind. He is a vocal fella but spends a lot of his day sleeping on his throne. We tease him for not really knowing how to play with his pals, he has his own rules and the others sort of get them. Bear loves going for walks and riding on the moto. We take him solo (Bear and Shia on a walk together is a no no). Bear doesn’t like to snuggle but he will follow you to every room. However, that being said, when it’s bedtime this little diva needs to nest in Keith’s legs. 🙂 Like I said, DIVA! Bear enjoys food, mainly meat but has a strong liking for pumpkin and sweet potato.
Shia is Bear’s sister. When we adopted Bear, Shia was following him everywhere and we couldn’t leave her behind. The two of them have their own language and games. Shia LOVES to sleep. She likes to sleep in, sleep on the couch, sleep in the sun, take a nap with you, sleep wherever you are working and also sleep while dishing her food up. That being said, she is our Snake alerter. Shia will let us know there is a snake in the property before any of the others do. She has a very distinct snake bark and we love her even more for it. Shia doesn’t get to go for walks as often as her brother as she has become a pro at escaping her harness. This has happened several times before even getting her on the moto. We’ve realised she prefers to go galavanting on her own than walking with her rentals. Shia will eat EVERYTHING except yogurt. Everytime I have tried giving her, she bolts. Weird but entertaining.
Luna is our fluffiest and smallest dog. This doesn’t affect her personality at all. She loves wrestling Mia and Elon. They all play catches and she is super Mom obsessed (I am not complaining). Luna will follow me into every single room, it doesn’t matter how many times I leave. She adores Bear and Shia, constantly showering them with kisses. She is also the most relaxed one during bath time and vet trips. Luna loves sharing our pillow at night time and will let you know when she wants some attention. She is remarkably photogeneic, I mean look at that face! She has a whale size personality compacted into that tiny fluff ball.
Mia is our adult puppy but is fueled with an energy unlike most animals. This dog doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, just pure happiness. She always naps with her head under the couch and her body sticking out. She loves food and still eats from a muffin tray, which has helped slow her eating down. Mia enjoys yogurt and peanut butter. She also enjoys catches and is super fast. Mia likes going for walks, she doesn’t mind the moto but can be very scared of the traffic and noise.
Elon is our slaughter house rescue. I immediately felt connected to this little lady after hearing her voice in the video posted by Paw Patrol after they had been rescued. Elon is insanely vocal and has a SUPER STRONG personality. She is very much a ‘tom boy’ but doesn’t shy away from cuddles. She’ll happily flop on your lap to get some love. She is OBSESSED with anything edible. She also thinks that all food in the house belongs to her. She dominates as much bed space as physically possible and we think it’s from her being stuck in a cage before.
We also have very regular visits from our neighbors who we have known since they were pups. These 2 are super chilled and have no problem getting on with our dogs. We also help with their monthly medication to ensure everyone is safe around each other.
Coca is this massive labrador looking dog with lion eyes. He is so gentle inside our property and will often come over and pass out for the day, which is kind of weird considering he still has the goods (the huge swinging balls). He could easily devour all our dogs in one gulp but has never shown that type of aggression. We love little Cooks 🙂
Pepsi (something tells me their family like soda) is a shy but friendly little girl. Unfortunately she hasn’t been spayed yet so we constantly try to keep a watchful eye over her. Coca has never shown any interest in her like that, instead he is very protective of her as a big brother would be. She has a stunning ridge, which we don’t often see here. She is also known for kissing way too much but we know it’s just her showing how happy she is.
Now I couldn’t possibly write a blog without including my dearest Moggles and Bouncy. They hold a very special place in my heart and I miss them so much. We lost Mogwai very early and my sweet Bounce was with us for 2 years. We found him at my school and he stole my heart from day 1. Here are some pics of these cutie pies.
Now that’s my crew. They keep us entertained and are such a blessing. I adore all the cuddles, the talking and the pure joy of having their energy around. I’d love to see your furry babies. Feel free to share 🙂
I don’t know about you but I absolutely love hitting a thrift store. Searching through heaps of clothes to find something special is exciting. You have to be willing to search though, I know it’s not everyone’s deal but for me, I thoroughly enjoy it.
How cute is this strawberry shirt? You obviously have to have matchy earrings 😉
Personally, growing up there was a stigma to shopping for 2nd hand clothes. As a teenager, it was all about having brand name clothing and if you didn’t, you weren’t considered ‘cool’. However, a lot has changed since then. Many people are leaning towards thrift stores, it’s proven by how many have popped up. They’re affordable, you tend to find very unique items and they’re generally much better quality (they’ve lasted long enough to still end up in a store).
The sleeves on this top are AMAZING!
You have many thrift store options in Cambodia and all very budget friendly. You could stop over at the markets and spend 1000 riel on a top (25c) or going to a store and spend anything from $3 – $5 on items. These stores sell everything from shirts, dresses, skirts, shoes, winter coats (in Cambodia) and so much more. I’ve also found most of my accessories from these stores, their handbags are fantastic quality and don’t break the bank.
This whole look cost less than $10 🙂
Thrift shopping is not only budget friendly but it’s also a much greener lifestyle. Those clothes already exist and it’s not supporting the fast fashion industry. It’s scary to know how much water is used when just making a pair of jeans (about 1800 gallons).
This whole look was thrifted.
Thrift shopping doesn’t only consist of clothing. I have purchased some amazing goodies from these stores over the years. Pillows and stuffed toys that are in my School’s Reading Room, mugs, bowls and plates (oh my goodness, it is SO fun browsing through the racks).
This is just one aisle of the bags.
Look at all the crockery. You could be here for ages searching through it all.
This particular store gets all it goodies from Japan.
Most of our books in the Reading Room are not new and they’re in amazing condition.
You don’t only have to hit a thrift store to find gold. Cambodia is home to many expats. As expats do, they come and go and often sell their belongings. Our Reading Room is home to couches and bean bags bought from expats.
How adorable is this pallet couch?
All of these were bought 2nd hand.
Now I’m not saying that buying new is wrong. I am certainly not going thrift shopping for my undies. It works for me and it may be something you have not possibly considered. It is something that we should talk about though as we are living in a time where us humans, have taken advantage of our gorgeous home, planet Earth. 🙂 It just means making smarter purchases. 🙂
Wow! December 2020, can you believe it? What a whirlwind of a year. I know we can all name plenty ways in which our lives have changed because of the pandemic from not seeing family and friends, losing loved ones, likely receiving a much lower salary or not receiving one at all. Medical professionals around the world have been working non stop and of course, schools closing.
The closing of schools obviously affected millions of students around the world. We all understand why it had to happen but try explaining that to a 3 year old who loves putting his little uniform on in the morning. Kids are experiencing something that I couldn’t have even imagined as a youngster. My biggest worry in Primary school was making sure my homework was complete and remembering to bring my lunch box home .(stressful times 😉 )
It’s a pretty looking school, don’t you think?
I must say, compared to how intense some of the lock downs have been around the world, including my country, South Africa. Cambodia got off lightly. Family and friends constantly informed us of all the rules and restrictions. South Africa even stopped selling alcohol and cigarettes during their lock down. You had to have a specific permit to travel to a family member in need. Intense. Here in Cambodia, we have had a tiny amount of cases compared to the rest of the world. Majority being incoming cases. All schools closed in March and we went online shortly after.
All our grades went online, from Kindergarten – High school.
Now, I must say that I was very impressed and proud of our Schools and my team. We all worked together in researching the best and easiest ways for our students to join lessons online. We experimented with various online platforms and decided on the simplest one. As teachers around the world can relate, it was definitely not easy setting it up, especially when facing so many obstacles. Some teachers not being tech savvy, students not having access to a phone / tablet, students don’t have WiFi or data, no parental supervision and so on.
A Ben 10 desk. Perfect set up for his lessons. 🙂
However, after many video tutorials and countless phone calls, we got our schools online. Students were suddenly exposed to all this exciting technology. We had our Grade 1’s chatting away with their classmates and some of them signing in on their own. Never doubt kids, they absorb new information so quickly. We stayed online for the rest of our academic year and even during our Summer School. Then some wonderful news…
SCHOOLS WERE GOING TO REOPEN IN OCTOBER.
Our lovely ladies ready for our first day back.
We were thrilled. Students were excited and parents were beyond excited. There was very strict guidelines but we were all eager to adapt to our new ‘norm’. Our Schools set up the disinfect machine, everyone wore masks and visors, the classrooms had been arranged to adhere to social distancing and we shut down our canteen etc. One of the most challenging things was our Kindergarten. These teeny tiny kids wore their masks and then it became a toy or a tissue or something to whack their friend with. (You know you can relate…) Another difficultly was not allowing our students to play outdoors, not having their P.E or I.T lessons. But… kids were happy to be back. We all got into the swing of things for October and most of November but then some more bad news came. Cambodia had some community cases.
The entire school was prepped and ready to reopen.
All students must have temperature checked upon arrival.
I must say Cambodia really did handle the whole situation really well. We were informed to close our schools on the Sunday night and we were back online by Wednesday. It’s amazing how much we have all learnt during that time. I think our eyes have all taken a beating but at least our kids have still been able to maintain some sort of routine. We forget how much they love school, loving seeing their friends and their teachers.
So to all the teachers, parents and students out there. A very big WELL DONE! You are all superstars. Teachers have developed themselves by learning new programs, exploring google and creating some exciting resources. Parents have a new found respect for teachers but many have been super helpful during this time and to students, who have been forced into distance learning but handling it like champions. GREAT JOB!
Snapshot of Keith during his lesson.
Chin up everyone,
Things are starting to look up. Keep taking good care of yourself. We’ve got this. 🙂
2020 has been a rather difficult year for everyone around the world. Not only have we all had to deal with a pandemic but the constant weather changing brings its own hardships. Cambodia goes through it’s yearly Monsoon season, however, the last few years have not been the usual downpour. This year has certainly made up for it. The rain came but… it came rather late and plenty of it. This affected many Cambodians as their homes and villages flooded. Many had to be evacuated and they lost everything. On top of that, some of our neighboring countries opened their dam walls, which caused more flooding in several areas.
Keith with some of the Grade 12 students
During these tough times, it has been amazing to see how many people have come together to help those affected. Many organisations provided essentials, cooked meals, clothing and health care. Our Schools decided to also contribute as many care packages as possible. These care packages consisted of 15kg rice, noodles, fish sauce packs, bread, sausages, condensed milk and a small cash donation. Students, parents and staff all raised some money to put these packages together and on Monday, 9th November, the staff and some of the Grade 12 students went to deliver them.
We headed to Angkorchum District, Kol Commune where we stopped at two different locations. We met some of the families at a Pagoda and the others at a Primary School. We were able to provide essentials to 90 families, which will go a long way. We have been living in Cambo for quite a few years now and we have had several reminders and realizations as to how fortunate we are. It’s extremely important having these smack in the face realizations as it’s so easy to get sucked into your life and how many ‘problems’ you have. However, none of my problems are worrying about putting food on the table or worrying about where we will stay as our home has been damaged. However, the Cambodians are resilient and happy people. They are super friendly and as many people say, once you have a Cambodian friend, you will have a friend for life.
Dynath AKA Donut and Keith
The boys with the police
It was a beautiful drive out into the countryside, especially this time of year as everything was super green and luscious. Once we delivered the goods, we headed back into town and were honored to have been part of that experience.
I can’t believe it’s already October. This has certainly been an intense year for everyone but on a positive note, things are improving. We’re back at School, which is awesome! It’s been 7 months since our kids were at School (we went online in March) so it has been an exciting and VERY busy first week back.
Normally we would celebrate Halloween with lots of games and activities but things will be rather different this time round. One thing I am really looking forward to are all the fun crafts. I thoroughly enjoy making crafts with the little ones and I know they LOVE them too. 🙂
We created this little lady a few years back but she is still one of my favorite Halloween crafts. The kids really LOVE the 3D nose and it’s very interactive with coloring, cutting, folding the hair and then pasting it all together.
I’d highly recommend printing this craft of board (card stock), it’s more durable and makes for a great classroom display. Students just need to color in (using crayons or coloring pencils).
Students will need to cut, using the guideline.
Grab some colored paper strips and fold them to create a ‘curly’ look. Choose any color you like.
Glue the hair on each side. Slice cutting line to add nose. Slide nose through hole and glue onto the back of head.
Glue the hat on.
Show everyone your rad craft. 🙂
Click the FREEBIE to collect your very own copy. We’d love to see how yours turned out, feel free to tag us on Facebook / Instagram.