March 20th has been designated by the UN as the International Day of Happiness.


I’ve been floundering a bit of late: Struggling to keep my mood upbeat, fighting the Norman demons and generally spending a significant amount of time in a gloomy old pit of despair – yep you’re right, I’ve been a right old barrel of laughs – NOT!


However, I’m slowly clambering my way out of the pit and thought I’d use this wonderfully timed, UN sanctioned day to reflect on all the amazing stuff and people that make me happy on a daily basis, even when I refuse to acknowledge it.  So here goes….


  • There’s no shortage of nutty tuktuk drivers here in Kampot. One who continually makes me smile is the lovely Sa whom I met when mum was over in January.  Sa has a friend in the UK (Southampton I think) who has very kindly taught him lots of useless but quintessentially British English phrases.  Hardly a day goes by when I’m out and about that I’m greeted with a big grin and a cheer of “Sara! Tally ho old chap!” eliciting a grin, a wave and a “toodle pip” from me in response.


  • Being woken by unknown creatures having very noisy late night picnics on my roof. I’m not sure being woken to the sounds of animals gnawing fruit and scrapping over the spoils makes me happy in the moment, but thinking back on the conversations (onesided of course) that I have with said creatures through my ceiling in the depths of night (yes, expletives are regularly uttered) does induce the odd giggle or two.


  • Since building work started on the new bungalows at Flashpackers I have been neglected somewhat by MaMa as she’s turned her attention to her flock of builders (yes I know that’s not the correct collective noun but the best Google could throw up was a ‘crack’ or a ‘procrastination’ so go figure). Every morning I see (or hear if I’m still languishing in my pit) her scoot off to the market as normal and then between 45 minutes to an hour later she returns laden with approximately 20 cups of iced coffee and sugar cane juice for the gang,  a process that she repeats post three hour lunch break.  The rest of her day is spent shrieking random orders from her post sat in a plastic garden chair in the middle of the building site whilst at regular intervals tells me and anyone else who’ll listen how busy she is being in charge of the work.


  • Our resident nutter and creator of the Flashpacker concept (check out this blog for info) has finally pushed MaMa and PaPa to the end of their tether and been served an eviction notice. The crunch came amid a late night/early morning alcohol and prescription meds fuelled incidient which involved the Grinch throwing a flipflop at a fellow resident and the lunatic attacking himself (and MaMa in the process) with a blade.  Rest assured, MaMa getting injured (it was only superficial) is not a source of joy for me and neither is seeing the nutter self-implode (the man is actually seriously mentally unwell and needs proper supervised support) What has made me happy is watching the exploits that have led to this point.  These include but are not limited to:

Overheard conversations as Peter (the nutter) bemoans the fact that HunSen is in desperate need of his help to scope out a countryside retreat for him and his government officials in Kampot but he struggles to balance his important role in Cambodian politics with the demands of representing Denmark in Cambodia (he felt he couldn’t say no when the Danish government approached him for help is this respect) and worrying about whether he should continue to let his wife (the Grinch) work for five dollars a day in a job with cut fingers!?!?! A grand total of seven customers frequenting the restaurant over a period of 3 months and, to my knowledge, not one morsel of food being cooked during the same period.

The day I returned home to be introduced to “The next Claudia Schiffer” who Peter was trying to convince to do a modelling shoot swimming in the Salt Fields which he is convinced contain mud with amazing health benefits (he has apparently tried to sell health tours to the area before and was keen to produce skin products from said mud at one point too also)

Overhearing him describe the developments at “his resort”. Apparently, the new bungalows being built are going to house an art gallery, restaurant and entertainment venue.  I do hope the people who have put down deposits to live in them are aware they’ll be sharing their homes in this way!

Returning from Bali to discover the land in front of the property being cleared to make way for Peter’s “shopping precinct’ and watching it turn into a gravelled piece of land with plastic tables and chairs on it and, you guessed it, no customers.

The display of shite art and spelling mistakes on signs courtesy of Peter’s severe spray paint addiction.


Tutktuk drivers looking like they’ve just seen a ghost when they rock up at my place and are greeted by Peter. Never have so many wheels squealed as the drivers hastily U-Turn to make their escape.


  • Kampot characters including three cheeky little monkeys in cafe’s I frequent and the wonderfully bonkers, toothless beggar on the river front – a constant source of joy.



  • Getting to work doing stuff I love. As well as my work supporting them with HR I got to play shopkeeper at Dorsu recently and had the time of my life.  Supporting Channy and the team at the spa is always great fun and I get to meet really interesting people in my leadership development and skills training work that I do in Phnom Penh.


My mate Gary’s collection of shrine tat.  I’m not sure what makes me giggle more, the tat itself or Gary’s pride when showing me his latest discoveries, all lovingly skip ratted from various places around town


  • All my lovely friends and family around the world who check in with me, listen to me moan, make me laugh, let me cry, come visit me and generally make my world a wonderful place.
  • Friends meeting friends.  Phirum excitedly shrieking”you look like Mr Bean!” to Kevin on first meeting him


  • And finally, my obsession with taking photos means that, even when things do feel bleak I only have to open up my phone or computer and I’m able to recapture millions of moments of fun and laughter – here’s just a few for you to check out now.


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