This site has moved!!!

Since my time in Cambodia has come to an end (yes, 700+ hours completed), I have moved on.  And the blog is moving with me….

Please come check out and bookmark the new site:

10th of 10 list: Reasons why you should read my NEW blog

List 10 of 10: 10 Reasons you should read my new blog


  1. The coming2cambodia name has become obsolete now that I no longer living Cambodia; the new blog will be universal and stay with me as I travel.
  2. I will continue, on occasion, to blog about the situation in Cambodia (just as I have continued to blog about Moldova issues and Chile issues).
  3. Recipes from a different continent. Yum Chilean food!
  4. It makes me happy when I my stat counter tells me that people have stopped by; comments make me even happier.
  5. How else are you going to keep up with my comings and goings?
  6. More photos both on the page and on my flickr account.  Perhaps I will even get better about actually posting Photo Wednesday photos on Wednesday
  7. Up coming posts on the debate over the legalization of prostitution.
  8. Harley, the dog, is coming with me to Chile for the new job and will be making guest appearances on the blog including a post on tips for traveling internationally with your canine friend.
  9.  I have moved the entirety of An MSW in Cambodia over to the new site for your archiving pleasure.
  10. The last, but most important reason, because Clare Says! (Note: the new website is

9th list of 10: Things I need to do when home in States for 17 days

As I started my 101 entry, I thought I should do something fun. Inspired by Polly, I have decided to make 10 lists of 10; here is number 9.

  1. Travel to St. Louis, see friends, get dog and bring her home– this process is hampered by the fact that I no longer have a car and am jetlagged; however, it is doable thanks to my wonderful parents who are doing the driving. (Thanks mom and dad)
  2. Travel to Chicago and get work visa for Chile– aparently, this is something I have to do in person. Since I am in Chicago anyway we are going to see Wicked which I am uber-excited about.  (You can tell I am excited by the need to use the much under-utilized adjective “uber”).
  3. Travel to Duluth to see sister, brother in law, and their kids.  Yay! Also, see my sister’s house.
  4. Go to the dentist– this one is somehow less exciting then the last few.
  5. Have my friend Soda come visit– and thankfully drive with me up to Duluth.
  6. Bring Harley (the dog) to the vet so that she can fly to Chile with me.  Yay! My pup is moving to her third country in her 4.5 year life. 
  7. Go to locker that I am renting to store my stuff and renew contract.  While there put in anything left at parents’ condo and take out anything I want to bring to Chile with me.
  8. Visit Grandma multiple times.
  9. Talk to people in Chile and figure out 1- who is picking me up at airport; 2- where I am going; 3- how I am getting to Vina; 4- where I am living in Vina; 5- how to open a bank account there; and 6- contact organizations I am working with and remind them of my imminent arrival.
  10. Sleep.  If at all possible. It would be nice to arrive not completely overtired and/or sick. That said, point 10 is almost impossible.

8th list of 10: Facts about human trafficking

As I started my 101 entry, I thought I should do something fun. Inspired by Polly, I have decided to make 10 lists of 10; here is number 8.

  1. Human trafficking, also known as “modern day slavery,” is an umbrella term that encompasses several forms of exploitation including debt bondage, sex slavery, forced labor, and trade in human body parts.
  2. No one knows the extent, in terms of people or money, of human trafficking. Estimates globally range from 600,000 to 4 million people.
  3. Even within the U.S., numbers of traffic victims vary depending on your source from 17,000 to 50,000 individuals annually.
  4. After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms trade as the second largest criminal industry in the world, and it is the fastest growing.
  5. Women and girls constitute 70-80% of the victims of human trafficking worldwide with 50% being minors. Men are trafficked too though.
  6. UNICEF reports that every year 1.2 million children are trafficked for a profit of an estimated 10 billion dollars.
  7. Age ranges and education levels vary. Personally, I have worked with or known traffic victims with graduate degrees and men nearing retirement age.
  8. Traffic victims have been identified all over the United States, including in small towns in middle America.
  9. Most agencies have endorsed a multidisciplinary approach to working with victims of human trafficking; however, a truly integrative programming is extremely expensive. Ideally, programs would address legal, medical, addiction, material, economic, and psychological needs.
  10. One researcher explains that a staggering percentage of prostitutes in many western countries are illegal immigrants; more than 50% in Germany and as much as 80% of Dutch prostitutes are foreign born. He surmises that most of these illegal immigrants were trafficked into brothels. Moreover, he argues that all other prostitution could be understood as domestic trafficking due to the violence, the women’s lack of control, and their inability to leave

7th post of 10: Reasons I am excited to be going to Chile

As I started my 101 entry, I thought I should do something fun. Inspired by Polly, I have decided to make 10 lists of 10; here is number 7.

  1. I have lived there in the past (8/96-8/97 and 12/99-12/00) and always said I would move back.
  2. I will be living on the beach as opposed to the capital city.
  3. Harley, my dog, is coming with me and these past six months I have missed her like crazy! (Although, my friends Meghan and Kheli did an amazing job taking care of her).
  4. Unlike in Cambodia and Moldova, the counter-trafficking movement is relatively new and therefore not set in bad habits yet. 
  5. I actually found someone to pay me to sit on street corners and talk to the children who live and work there.
  6. Dancing is a favorite pastime of mine; one which was not completely satisfied in Cambodia, Moldova, or St. Louis.
  7. Looking forward to seeing my old host family and friends down there.
  8. The 18th of September, only 6 weeks after I arrive, is Chile’s Independence Day Celebration and is a ton of fun. (Incidentally, it is also my friend Amy’s birthday.
  9. It is in the same time zone as my family in the states.  I really liked living in Cambodia, but the time difference was hard because it made it nearly impossible to talk to my parents on the phone or find my family and friends online.
  10. Pastel de Choclo—it is a typically Chilean food that is not vegetarian friendly, but is very tasty.  It has beef, chicken, and corn as the main ingredients.  Someday I will post the recipe.

6th list of 10: Blogging as a form of communication

6th list of 10: Blogging as a form of communication, originally uploaded by coming2cambodia.

As I started my 101 entry, I thought I should do something fun. Inspired by Polly, I have decided to make 10 lists of 10; here is number 6.

  1. Talk to people back home.
  2. Meet new people with similar interests.
  3. Create community–this is referenced in the picture above. This drawing was done by John when during my last night out on the town party. Arriving alone, he ended up sitting next to my friend Steph, who is deaf. After exhausting his sign language skills, they started witting and proceeded to have a lively conversation for the rest of the evening. This is a remnant of one of the pieces of witting– blogging means instant connection.
  4. Share pictures.
  5. Talk about important issues both to a wider audience and things that are weighing on your mind.
  6. An anonymous space to express your thoughts– although my blog is hardly anonymous, some people do prefer it that way.
  7. Space to educate others. Plus the more blogs there are out there on different issues, the less space (percentage wise) of the world wide net is filed with porn.
  8. The archiving of peoples comments is great to have record of and ability to go back to.
  9. For forgetful people, blogging is great because of the archiving system.  This way they can look back and see what was said.  Kind of like having a court transcriptionist follow you around, but not nearly as costly or intrusive.
  10.  Unlike phone or even mass emails, it is always around and people, friends, family, can visit your site on their own timetable.


For my last night out on the town, a group of friends and I decided to try out the pre-opening party of a new café bistro, Simply Blue, in Phnom Penh.  The place actually has potential, good location, nice atmosphere—the opening however was over crowded with people, many of whom would not be coming back once there was no free food or drinks.  Also, the place was overcrowded with children—many of the children were there with parents; since it was like a bar opening I can’t say I was trilled with this.  However, it was the kids who made it there on my own that got me, hoards of 8-14 year old boys who wandered in searching for alcohol.

A group of the kids came up to where my friend Steph and I were sitting. She was smoking a cigarette and they asked for one.  She said no and told them that they were still just babies and that it was a bad habit—for the record it is a bad habit.  The boys started to talk to us. One boy, who looked about 8 but said he was 11, was holding a beer he had picked up. I asked to see it and then refused to give it back.  I told him he was too small to be drinking and offered to get a soda or juice. He pouted but did not put up much of a fight. 

My friend Christina found it very funny that I would just take alcohol away from a child. I would say underage child, but there appears to be no rule about drinking here. She called me the beer buster and in general gave me a hard time about it.  Later on, as we were leaving, the boy grabbed his beer back off the table where I had put it.  This time it was Christina that took the beer and dumped it on the ground.  Having lost their beers, but found foreigners who spoke Khmer to them, the boys came to talk to us.  Here is the gist of the conversation we had:

Boy 1- Why did you take my friend’s beer? 

Clare- How old are you?

Boy 1- 14. 

Clare- How old are you really?

Boy 1- 13.  Why did you take my friend’s beer? 

Clare- Because its bad for him.  You are probably growing a lot right now.

Boy 1- Yep. 

Boy 2- Me too. I am 10. He is 11 (points at boy 3).

Clare- Well, if you want to grow up tall and handsome you should try not to drink beer.  It makes you not grow (technically it stunts your growth, but I can’t say that in Khmer). 

Boy 2- I wanna be tall.

Boy 1- Tall and get all the girls. 

Clare- Really?  What kind of guys do girls like?

Boy 1- Hot girls. 

Clare- What kind of guys do hot girls like?

Boy 1- Tall guys. 


Boy 1- You are hot.  So is she (points at Megan). 

Clare- What kind of guys do you think we like?

Boy 1 and 2- Tall guys. Handsome guys. 

Clare- See? So now you get it.

Boy 3- How old are you? 

Clare- How old do you think I am?

Boy 1- 34. 

Boy 2- 16.

Clare- Yep, somewhere in there.

Photo Wednesday: Cambodian Traditional Dance

Sovanna Phum, originally uploaded by coming2cambodia.

Picture taken at Sovanna Phum in Phnom Penh Cambodia.

5th list of 10: 10 sites I read regularly and why

As I started my 101 entry, I thought I should do something fun. Inspired by Polly, I have decided to make 10 lists of 10; here is number 5.

  1. BBC and NY Times. I also search for key words about human trafficking. Lots of interesting, scary, illuminating news. For example: this story with an interview of a trafficker.
  2. Myspace and Facebook to keep in touch with people.
  3. Jason in Japan which is written by someone close to my heart and contains lots of thoughtful pieces on life and philosophy as well as great photos.
  4. Mombian for LGBT news around the world. Also Lesbian Family
  5. Face the Sun, again written by someone I used to know, but very funny and very well written. Its about the travels of an American Foreign Service Officer. Also, The Wandering Gringo is another good blog about travel, specifically one trip by land from Chile to California.
  6. Hillary and Obama‘s blogs. I actually just stared reading, but since I am out of the country and not seeing the debates, this is how i keep up.
  7. Liza was Here, again someone I have known forever and who has a lot to say– plus an adorable kid.
  8. M|O|N|G|K|O|L, the blog of a Cambodian in America. I like seeing how he sees my home country, as I see his. Also, he is a wonderful photographer.
  9. Flickr because I love photos(both taking them and looking at them).
  10. Email, because, let’s face it, I am obsessed. I admit that I am one of those people who checks my email every 10 minutes and cannot seem to sit in a room with a computer without checking. Also, I am a huge gmail convert and love their chat and search features.

*** There are so many other blogs I read that I could have put here– but I was trying to spread out the subject matter a bit. ***

4th of 10: Favorite foods I eat in Cambodia (not all necessarily Cambodian)

As I start my 101 entry, I thought I should do something fun. Inspired by Polly, I have decided to make 10 lists of 10, here is list 4.

  1. Amok- quintessential Cambodian food that I love. Made of white fish (usually catfish) in a red curry, coconut milk, and egg. Steamed in a banana boat or 1/2 a coconut.
  2. Rambutan- the funniest looking fruit I have ever seen, but also among the tastiest.
  3. Strawberry stuffed French Toast with a Ladybug freezer (watermelon juice with mint and lime) from Java cafe.
  4. Anything from Le Rit’s because it is always yummy (they have a 5 dollar set menu lunch that changes daily but comes with a starter, main meal and dessert (you get a choice from 2 of each).  Also, they are a good organization and cause to support.
  5. Indian food at my colleague’s house.
  6. Fresh juice from Two Fish
  7. Avocado and shrimp salad or Baked goat cheese salad from Elsewhere. Also, best drinks in town (fresh juice with vodka, rum, or gin)
  8. Desserts from Blue Pumpkin in Siem Riep.
  9. Large prawns, pretty much anywhere, but best at Two Dolphins in Sihanokville.
  10. Palm sugar juice (bought for 25 cents on any street corner).

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