The opposite of vacation

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February 21st 2011
Published: February 21st 2011
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I worked very hard today so I'm eating a full dinner: Fresh spring rolls, caramelized pork and pomelo salad with soy ginger dressing, fruit salad, and chai. I'll break the $10 barrier!

I went to sleep early last night with the plan to get 9 hours' sleep, then get up at 5:00 AM and go over my materials for the psychological assessment talk at Royal University of Phnom Penh. This was a bit tricky since I still hadn't heard what topic they wanted me to teach. At about 6:00 ate two of the absolutely exquisite mangoes I received yesterday plus a brioche I'd cleverly bought the night before. My guesthouse serves breakfast at 7:30 and so far I've only been there once by that time. I walked to the closest main road and caught a tuk-tuk to the university.

I walked around the university a little bit (I've seen hoopoes and a coppersmith barbet there; today there were red collared doves, Asian brown flycatchers, mynas, tailorbirds, a couple of shrikes perhaps, a couple of maybe some kind of warbler perhaps, Eurasian tree sparrows, and oriental magpie robins) and arrived in the department at 7:50. When it became clear at 8:20 that the professor wasn't coming at that point, I began teaching . I thought it was a pretty good seminar on testing considerations, including not just translation and norming issues, but how to make it culturally sufficient and helpful to the client. I was greatly aided in this because one of the students had a WAIS-R manual and a WAIS-R UK version, so I was able to show them differences in the Information subtest and point out that I was smarter in America than in England because of the culturally specific test items. We also talked about cultures-within-cultures, including how something like post-traumatic stress disorder might present differently in pre- and post-Khmer Rouge clients. I taught them a couple of brief neuropsych screens and we had fun drawing bicycles inadequately. I left several books (though not testing manuals) with them, including Groth-Marnat's very useful and comparatively readable psych testing handbook. It was fun to watch several of the students clearly itching to get their hands on it.

The professor appeared around 10:00 and asked if I'd please teach an hour and a half on systemic family therapy at 1:30. Okay, I live to serve. At 11:00 I dismissed the students and quickly scribbled an outline on the topic, which I know well enough but don't regularly teach. After lunch (rice, vegetables, and a little fish) with the teacher and an Aussie psychologist who's spending a year at the department, I taught the class, which in fact went from 1:00-3:00, requiring me to punt even further. I was able to cough it up in short, translatable sentences pretty well. Bonus: I got to teach a classroom full of Cambodian psychology students the phrase "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" (because "mixed message" and "double bind" didn't seem to give them the flavor of an incongruent communication). Their consensus is that the "nose and glasses" intervention (which I called "the silly hat" intervention because I didn't think I could explain why Americans sometimes wear nose and glasses in the time allotted) might not work in Cambodia. We shall see.

I said my goodbyes, ran to the street and grabbed a tuk-tuk. The thoroughfares were incredibly congested and I wound up having to wrap my krama (Cambodia scarf) around my face due to all the exhaust. I got to my guest house, plopped in the cafe and ordered a lime juice, and 10 minutes later the reporter who was to interview me appeared. We talked for 75 minutes. I walked a few blocks to the delightfully air conditioned Blue Pumpkin cafe at Monument Books and had dinner, where I began typing this. On the way out, I bought two promising-looking books, In Transition: Contemporary Cambodian Artists and Living on the Margins: Minorities and Borderlines in Cambodia and Southeast Asia . I have the feeling I'll have to add these to the Goodreads database manually.

I arrived at the hotel to find the crafts suitcase waiting for me. It weighs 19 kilos, which is fine, and may be oversized and require a fee, but we'll see. I'm delighted to have it early so I can inventory the crafts before I check it.

Now it's my intention to read quietly for a while, since tomorrow's visit to the orphanage/internship site is the one activity on this trip that doesn't require pretty intensive preparation from me.

Tomorrow I spend all day at an orphanage in my official faculty envoy capacity.

Marcia, I dreamed I saw a vernal hanging parrot, an attractive little frugiverous fellow, but it
Photo for BeccaPhoto for BeccaPhoto for Becca

I'm pretty sure "sale all king of curving" doesn't convey the actual purpose of the shop
was not true in consensual reality.

I'm guessing she was very busy because graduation is tomorrow. Prime Minister Hun Sen is the one who's granting the diplomas, so the police were very much in evidence this afternoon.

Curiously, the staff wear orange and green uniforms. There is no blue in evidence.

The other kind of borderlines.


21st February 2011

consensual reality is overrated...
21st February 2011

King of Curving
Love it! Thanks. Enjoying your blog and wishing you well.
21st February 2011

That's what makes being a therapist so exciting.

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