Geckos and Lizards and Frogs Oh My!

**If you read my last post I know you are wanting an update on the shoe situation. THEY HAVE BEEN FOUND. They magically appeared all caked in glorious mud that may have actually been cow dung, at about 5:30pm that night and I slickly picked them up and took them to my room. My shoe collection is whole again!**

I’ve become quite the weeny in my three weeks in Cambodia. I’m talking about full out freak out when critters come in my room. In between my room and the main room there is a border at the top that has open holes and not just noise flows through those holes but lizards and geckos and very, very large bugs. When I’m sleeping I have a mosquito net as my protection and for some odd reason I feel protected by this flimsy mesh bubble. But when I’m getting ready for the day or I’m just studying I am subjected to the elements. And by that I mean a very large gecko that I am petrified of. In my first week here he made an appearance on my wall and went above my door frame when I was ready to walk out so of course I stayed in my room until he moved from the door. He is beautiful but he is loud as hell. During the night he makes this weird noise like a balloon is being aggressively inflated and then he screeches. I’m hoping I can successfully post an audio below but if there isn’t one there that means it didn’t work. That first week when I saw his pretty pink spotted skin I tried to alert my family that there was a lizard in my room and the American in me of course assumed that they would understand the need to remove it. Two of my sisters stared at me and chuckled a bit and so I tried to play a little game of charades to tell them to get rid of it for me. What ended up happening was that they used a broom to make it go back through the holes in the wall and go upstairs. I then sat and listened to my sister say a whole lot about the lizards and the only word I understood was ‘luy’ which means money. So I went to my Language and Cultural Facilitator (LCF) the next day and I asked him why they didn’t get rid of the gecko. And he explained to me that the large geckos like this are said to bring good fortune, luck and money to a family when they are in the house. So if you haven’t gotten the jist yet…the gecko lives in the house and I have no idea if it has come back in my room when I’ve been gone or asleep. (Pictured below is a photo taken by my friend Britt Breeden. This is the small brother of my gecko. Mine was about 4 times the size and that is no exaggeration)


There are little lizards that make distinctly different noises and they hang out on the walls except one rebel that went for a run on my floor and scared the daylights out of me. I did the thing where you run back out of the room and peek back in until it’s gone.
Luckily all snakes I have come across have been dead on the side of the road. And by that I mean I am happy I haven’t had to interact with them when they were alive…at least so far. I’m waiting for the day that I scream snake in Khmer and someone is bound to be confused. ‘Puah’ is the word in Khmer and it means snake and stomach. I don’t know why a different word wasn’t created but we are rolling with the punches of this very confusing language that we are slowly getting to know.

Two days ago I was studying in my room with the door open and one of my sisters stood in the door way and looked at me and I wasn’t sure what was going on (that’s been my norm for the past three weeks so I didn’t question my confusion). Then she leaves my room and my niece comes in my room and stares at my shoes and then moves one and a large frog jumps onto my bike wheel. Then I jumped up on my bed as if the frog wasn’t capable of jump one foot. My niece grabs a broom and tries to get it to jump out of my room and it instead goes closer to me and under my desk which inevitably left me leaving the room and going outside and sitting with everyone else as they laughed at the silly American that is apparently scared of frogs. They said ‘Ren khlac’ which means I was scared. I think my dad went in my room and took care of it but I never saw any one come out with it so I’m choosing to believe that the slimy frog is out of my room. I haven’t seen it again but that doesn’t mean much in this house. (Below is a photo taken by my friend Britt Breeden. This is not the frog I encountered because I was so scared I didn’t pick up my phone for a photo so here is a different frog because I have a little friend in America who requested more photos. I hope he knows who he is 😊)


I’m basically scared of all animals right now and I need to make it a personal goal to get over that because I’m pretty sure my animal run ins are going to get much more frequent at permanent site….I have petted the cow pictured below and that was the highlight of my life.


(Photo credit: Britt Breeden)

From the Eastern Hemisphere,

❤ Ren

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4 thoughts on “Geckos and Lizards and Frogs Oh My!

  1. I love your stories and photo’s! I would probably enjoy your reptile and amphibian cohabiters because I know they are not interested in getting too close to you either. Snakes would be a different story.
    I’m glad to hear you have your shoes back! Very funny story!
    Love, Aunt Laura

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  2. I thought we took care of the frog and lizard thing before you left! I guess they were outside not in your room.

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  3. If it makes you feel any better… when I was attending your alma mater, Tulane University, and moved into my new home a lizard appeared on the wall and I was somehow able to “guide” it outdoors (with a wooden spoon and lots of patience). When my roommate and I mentioned (with true fear and amazement) to our landlord that we had seen a lizard his reply was, “You want them lizards, they eat them roaches!” And from then on we decided to be thankful for and welcoming to “them lizards” because “them roaches” were huge and much more disgusting. Since a gecko is a type of lizard, the moral of the story is … maybe you should consider welcoming the gecko into your home in order to take care of other less desirable house guests. But it will take time.

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