Yesterday after work I popped around to Liquid to meet Pascal to show him the now infamous Cambodia Daily advertisement. I love showing people this classic piece of nonsensical mish-mash so much I decided on the spur of the moment to have it framed and luckily my framing guy is right next door to Liquid. Should be ready by Sunday and hanging on the back of the dunny door by Monday. Anyhooooooo……….
As I sit and wait for Pascal and Mark to arrive who should walk in straight off the street but Tee and her lovely three daughters !.Some of you may remember these 4 ladies from our time living over near Toul Sleng Museum and drinking at Miles Bar. We all became firm friends back then and parted ways 18 months ago when Tee moved to Sihanoukville to nurse her husband Arjian in his last months of life. He fought a fairly brutal and swift fight with lung cancer and died 5 months after they moved at the young age of 47 or so. Turns out Tee is up from SHV for a week and saw me ride past on my bike and followed me so she could say hi ! It really was a very nice surprise as I often think about the family and how they are fairing.
At Tee’s insistence,a call was placed to Leakhana ” Quick…Tee and the girls are here, bring Gracie over ! ” and Tee and I settled in to a few cold beers as the rain fell on the street. Tee’s English is MUCH better so she was able to recount to me the harrowing last months of her husband’s life. She recounted the endless pain he suffered, the 24 hour nursing she selflessly provided and the last visit his parents made to say goodbye. I won’t go into detail but suffice to say that Tee has been through hell and back in the last year. Not long after they arrived some arsehole killed their beautiful dog Theary then she lose her husband and now she is looking after an 11,9 and 3 year old on her own. Luckily the Dutch grandparents love the family to bits and help out on a monthly basis but it cannot be easy. Tee hates SHV ( who doesn’t ! ) but cannot leave as they took a 5 year lease on a small bar with an apartment upstairs and they had to put $2000 down as a deposit which she would lose if she breaks the lease.
The great news is her little girls are,if possible, even more angelic than I remember. They have all grown considerably and little Yannicka is the spitting image of her late father. The most gentlest of souls, Yannicka just oozes good vibes and she was amazing with little Grace who was in awe of all the older girls. Yannicka softly stroked Grace’s hair and helped her unwrap a late birthday present that my Sister Sibella had sent all the way from Australia. Rather than snatch the lovely pelican doll and matching clothes away ( thanks Auntie Bell ! ), Yannicka handed the items to Grace with a big smile. All the while the older girls cooed and fussed over Grace and Leakhana and Tee caught up in rapid fire Khmer.Tee praised us for having such a beautiful and fun daughter – the last time Tee saw Leakhana she was about a month pregnant and it was Tee who accidentally inadvertently blurted out to me that Leakhana was indeed pregnant ! The praise was two ways though. Tee’s kids really are a delight and I remember fondly looking after them in our apartment on occasion and sitting down with them for a proper sit-down dinner. They were much needed breaks for Tee and a change of scenery for the kids and we loved having these well behaved, smiling,happy kids with us.
After a good catch up I packed 6 beautiful women into a Tuk Tuk and they headed off home with a promise that we will all go out clubbing on Friday night. Tee says she wants to show us her “crazy side” as she has been working on her partying skills after the ordeal she has been through and I don’t blame her. Should be an interesting night *gulp*.
Watch this space…………