I personally enjoyed reading this book written by Will Koenig, an American journalist who was based in Cambodia for some time until he fell in love with his Khmer translator, got married, and moved his family to the States (according to him).
This book is very easy to read, and I think it is good for those who are trying to learn English and at the same time find out about cross-cultural marriage. Marriage doesn’t come natural to anyone and even a couple who originally were raised in different countries. Marriage in general takes a lot of time. Interracial marriage likewise can take a hell lot of time, patience and understanding to overcome language barriers and overal communication. I also hope that Will will also convince his wife to express her opinions about this cross-cultural marriage.
I got to know about his witty columns published on the Asia Life. I remember that sometimes after coming back home from university, I excitedly turned to the very last page of the Asia Life Magazine. I usually travelled a bit far to fetch the free copy of the magazine from a Western cafe or restaurant. What interested me the most about his columns was the humour he used in telling his stories of misunderstanding and cultural differences he and his wife faced living together.
Blue Lady Blog: Could you please tell me about yourself, your job and your relationship with Cambodia? [short]
Will: I currently live in the United States and work for a newspaper chain in Oregon. I traveled to Cambodia about a decade ago to be a volunteer teacher and I ended up staying for longer than I expected.
Blue Lady Blog: What inspired you to write the book? And, how long did it take you to write it?
Will: My inspiration for the book was also the reason I stayed in Cambodia. Like a few people I’ve known, I fell in love with my translator and we got married. Like any relationship, we had our share of adventures and misunderstandings, some more comical than others. I tried to write them down as entertaining short stories that I published in various places, including AsiaLIFE.
I wrote the pieces over several years and ultimately collected them into two ebooks that I self-published: “At Home on the Mekong” and “Falling in the Well of Love.” The first focuses on life as a foreigner in Cambodia, and “Well of Love” is about what we experienced as a Khmer-American couple when we moved to the United States and started a family.
Blue Lady Blog: What do you really like about your book and what do you want readers to take away from reading your book? ;-)
Will: Creating an ebook was a fun experience, and for my second book I tried to include more. “Well of Love” also has photos alongside the columns I wrote and is longer overall, with more content. First of all, I want people to enjoy reading what I wrote, and I hope most of the stories leave them with a smile. One thing I don’t like is that every article, documentary, video or novel about Cambodia dwells on genocide, sweatshops or sex slavery. While these are important issues that deserve to be addressed, there is so much about Cambodia that is fascinating and offers reasons for hope. Cambodia is more than misery and Angkor Wat.
Blue Lady Blog: I don’t think there aren’t a lot of books written about the cultural differences and difficulties faced within interracial marriage in general. What role do you think your book will play in this?
Will: People like to say that interracial marriage is difficult, but I disagree with that. Marriage is difficult. Any and every marriage faces problems. I’ve known plenty of couples who came from the same background, same religion, same college, same everything but ended up divorced. If anything, coming from wildly different backgrounds helps a crosscultural relationship, because they know there will be misunderstandings and compromises and differing expectations. That said, my book isn’t a self-help book. But I’d like to think people can chuckle when they read that a funny thing happened on the way to buy durian and be reminded we’re all just people, bumbling our way through life.
Blue Lady Blog: Are you planning to write any new book?
Will: Cambodia is close to my heart and I’ve continued to write, or try to write, about that. But writing is hard. My next project is actually a board game called “Mango Republic,” which is about politics with a Southeast Asian flavor. I’m hoping to Kickstart that in the next month or two.
Blogger’s note/correction: you can find all of his columns here on amazon. His book “Falling in the Well of Love” is on Kindle version as well. [Sorry for my previous mistake for saying that the book was free to download on Kindle. In fact, it costs money.]