I immediately felt welcomed as I stepped off the boat in Koh Pdao. We were all greeted by our homestay families on the beach who then carried or bags to their homes as we followed behind on our bikes. When we pulled up to our home for the next 5 days, we were greeted by smiling faces. Our homestay family welcomed us into their home and immediately began treating us as family. Prior to arriving in Koh Pdao I was worried about the language barrier and not being able to communicate with my homestay family. However, I was able to use the few Khmer words I remembered from our morning Khmer lessons with Yut and a quick game of charades is always helpful too. It turns out the language barrier was not nearly as big of an issue as I thought it would be.
The community of Koh Pdao is different from home in many ways. To me, one of the biggest differences is the way they welcome their visitors and treat everyone in their community as family. In fact, here in Koh Pdao it can sometimes be hard to figure out who lives in what house with which family. People here are always welcomed to simply walk into each others house and spend so much time with each other throughout the day. Everyone knows each other so well and treats others with so much respect and kindness like they are one big family. This is so different from my life in Oakville where I am always so caught up in my own life that I barely even know my neighbours’ names. I am so excited for many more amazing memories during our next few days in Koh Pdao and experiencing life in such an amazing community.