Meet my friends:
These are my little twerps. Mind if I introduce them?
Seang Mai: She is a spunky, lovey 16 year old. Paly and Kuma are her younger brothers. She's often singing while she does her chores. She tells me she loves me and blows kisses at me at least 15 times a day. She's kind of a mother-figure to the other kids, and sets them straight when they're being naughty.
Kunithea: She's 15 years old, and is very funny, but tends be to quieter. She writes elaborate stories, and illustrates them. She drew the picture of us found in the 18 August 2011 post here. Her little brother is Jame.
Srey Meas: Total sweetheart. She's 15 and has the sweetest smile. She is really affectionate and if I'm anywhere near her, gives me subtle Khmer kisses on the shoulder. [These are with the nose: you nuzzle someone and sniff in slightly. Adorable.]
Srey Vouch: She's one sharp little girl. She wants to be a doctor, and studies very hard. She is 13 years old. Her little brother is Line.
Srey Leak: 11 years old. She's loud and silly. She's a momma's girl, and is really optimistic about life. She smiles a lot, and is over-the-top goofy. She's best friends with Srey Vouch.
Ra: He's 17 years old. He doesn't waste words. He tries really hard in English and pays close attention. He laughs easily.
Rothana: Golden boy. He's 14, and is a phenomenal singer. He is usually featured, front and center, in the performances because he's really smart and learns very quickly. Sometimes the pressure of being a performer gets to him, since he's such a perfectionist. Off stage, he cracks jokes in English and Khmer, and is very happy.
Paly: Sweetheart. When we first got here, he didn't talk to me much, and I figured he was just a punk teenager [he's 13] and was too cool to talk to me. Wrong. He's one of my closest buddies now, and one of our inside jokes is pointing at something, [a light post, a person, a bike, the dog...] and then nonchalantly calling it "gangster". It gets me every time.
Vantha: He's 14 years old. He's more reserved, but when he talks, it counts. He recently asked if Smiit and I have gotten married yet, because he thought we were just boyfriend and girlfriend. He didn't believe us until we showed him pictures.
Butha: 15 years old. Funny kid, and a great actor. Some of his performances are the most hilarious.
Chamroeun I: This kid is ... rad. He's 11, and a bit shy, but only at first. I often see him drawing dresses off in a corner. His little sister is Soknan. He was riding a bike around the yard the other day in just a large T-shirt. I asked him where his pants were, and he just laughed at me and said that his shirt was long enough, "no problem."
Chamroeun II: Ringleader. 16 years old. He's one of the two real leaders of the boys [the other one being Rothana]. He's an amazing dancer, and while performing, some of the other kids can be caught looking to him for direction. He's very strong, but is hilarious too.
Chanda: 11 years old. He is really funny, but a naughty kind of funny. He's mischievous, but really affectionate too. He can be a real twerp.
Seng: Oh, man. This kid is one of my favorites. He is such a geek. He is a master of faces, and can look very serious one second and burst out laughing the next. He always checks in on me by saying my name through the window. He's really curious, and asks me questions about everything, and always wants extra help learning English. He always puts an arm around me and says awesome things.
Darynhel: [It's pronounced Daniel.] He's 10 years old. Definitely one of the cutest smiles around here. He's tender, and when I had a kidney infection, he'd scold the others if they weren't being soft enough with me [Seng did this too.] He loves the cat, and brings him to me frequently.
Kuma: Ultimate twerp. Sassy little 10 year old. He's funny, but sometimes he's naughty too, but all in good fun. He's Seang Mai and Paly's little brother.
Line: He's buddies with Kuma and acts accordingly. He's fun, but mischievous too. He's Srey Vouch's little brother, and is 9 years old.
Pheaktra: 13 years old. He was my little buddy the first couple weeks we were here, and would teach me Khmer and help me understand things. He has since gotten more shy, but is still a friendly boy. He's a bit awkward, which is probably why we get along so well.
Jonathan: [Also goes by Davin]. He's Darynhel's little brother, but is much more of a hellion. He's 8 years old and runs around with the other hellions. He can be pretty cute too.
Chham: Rad kid. He's 9 years old, and is friends with the hellions, but he's not one of them. He's prone to break out into acrobatics whenever, wherever. Out of nowhere, he'll just do a back flip. He's a total comedian, too.
Chantha: SASSY. 11 years old and has an attitude with some of the others, but she's always sweet to me. Sometimes when the other kids are being punks, she'll act like "Oh no you di-in't", with her hand on her hip. She's very tender sometimes, too.
Soknan: ...hellion. She can be a cutie, but is most often trying to be a bratty queen-bee. She's 9 and is Chamroeun I's little sister. She used to be my shadow. She often punches my kidneys, which was a major problem when I was sick. [Which is why a couple of the others stepped up to the plate and told her off for being rough. After she learned I was sick, she'd very sweetly touch my side and ask "hurt?" and then touch my tummy and ask "sick?" and then would be very gentle with me.]
Sarim: Darling little girl. She is incredibly quiet and affectionate. Very soft spoken. She looks like she is about 8 or 9 years old, but I learned today that she's 13. That blew my mind. She smiles when she sees me, and gives me tight little hugs, and tucks her head under my arm.
Lyny: Littlest little little. She is a very proper little 7 year old. She's polite, but cracks sneaky little jokes. I never understand the punchline because she melts into a tiny puddle of giggles.
Sokny: 10 years old. Space. Cadet. She is not on this planet. Sometimes she's really cute, and the next second her eyes will dreamily glaze over. She says the most bizarre things, mostly in Khmer, but sometimes in English.
David: He's 8 years old, and runs with the hellions, but when he's on his own, he's quiet, caring, and a bit reserved. He's tight with Hellion Numero Uno [Jame], but plays by himself too.
Jame: Hellion Numero Uno. You can tell he needs attention, but he's got waaaay too much energy. He can be happy and friendly, but mostly NAUGHTY. He's a funny little twerp though.
Samneng: Cutest little button. He is 7 years old, and he and Lyny are tied for being the smallest little urchins. He also runs with the other hellions, but he's never really naughty. He pays close attention in English, even if it's just to copy down letters and numbers at random.
...and that rounds off the list of my buddies on this side of the globe.
Over and out.