One of the great things about expat communities are the activities and events which they organise, often bringing together a diverse range of people from all walks of life. Since arriving in Phnom Penh, my favourite day of the week is now Tuesday for one simple reason: dodgeball! I had never played dodgeball in my life before coming here but I had seen the film (who hasn’t?) and understood the concept of the game – it’s pretty self explanatory really. So when Brian invited me along to an expat dodgeball group, I figured I’d give it a go. That turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, alongside coming to Cambodia on a school trip in 2006 … one led to the other I guess.
Dodgeball is fantastic! It’s not only a super fun sport and a great way to work out, but the ever expanding group of people who turn up every week are great! Already close friendships are forming and the “dodgeball family” had its first social, non-sport event last weekend. Whilst there isn’t much time to chat whilst you’re on the court, unless you want to be smashed in the face because you’re not paying attention, the fifteen minute break halfway through the two hour session offers a great opportunity to meet new people. Everyone is friendly, welcoming to newcomers, and eager to exchange stories, tips, and experiences of living in Phnom Penh. Saturday night allowed us to get to know each other even better over a half price martini or two (or three) at Le Bouchon, an expat hotspot. We are used to seeing each other in workout gear, covered in sweat, with a few red patches on an arm or leg from being hit by the balls so it was great to see people in a more relaxed, less violent, air conditioned environment. Without the fear of a ball to the face, we were able to chat more, get to know each other better, and enjoy one another’s company.
Predictably in an expat community, at least fifty per cent of us are teachers. But there are also physiotherapists, accountants, ice cream makers, and bomb disposal workers (may have amped your danger levels there a bit Nick …). Meeting and getting to know people from America, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, France, Denmark, as well as numerous fellow Brits has been a highlight of my week over the past month. As I walked to dodgeball yesterday, I thought to myself that it was a shame we only played once a week. Barely twenty minutes later, the genius who founded the group, John, announced that we are now going to play on Thursdays as well! It was as if he read my mind! The enthusiasm and commitment expats show for this group is fantastic and I am so pleased to be a part of it. Working out and keeping fit in a hot, dusty country where running or cycling on roads is like playing Russian Roulette with a half loaded gun is tricky but dodgeball certainly keeps both the brain and the mind active!
This blog serves not only to keep my friends and family up to date with my latest antics but also to alert other expats in Cambodia to the activities available – so for the latter, come along! #13, Street 456, Tuesdays and Thursday at 7:30pm – give it a go! You won’t regret it!