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We are Bee Keepers!

by Chansoda on May 9, 2016

Karla and I are official beekeepers now! We are starting off with two honey bee colonies. I built my first two top bar hives from scratch following some plans and learned a lot while trying to advance my woodworking skills. I think the hives I built came out looking alright, the bees are taking to it. It was hard finding the time to build and breathing in all that saw dust in the musty basement was probably not good for my health. At least they got done.

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ChansodaWe are Bee Keepers!

News Clip from the Thai Refugee Camps

by Chansoda on February 10, 2016

ជនភៀសខ្លួនខ្មែរ រៀនអំពីរបៀបរស់នៅ, របៀបប្រើប្រាស់របស់របរ និងភាសាអង់គ្លេសជំហានដំបូង មុនទៅរស់នៅស្រុកគេ….។ សូមប្រាប់ខ្ញុំផង ប្រសិនបើអ្នកមានវត្តមាននៅក្នុងវីដីអូនេះ!

Posted by អរិយទ្រព្យ -Angkeara Brang on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My brother shared this video with me, seeing this piece felt like I had gotten a chance to travel in time. Even though my family wasn’t in that video, I felt like I was there watching my parents getting ready to come to this country we now call home. All that preparation the khmer refugees were engaging in, and seeing as where I am today, I already know how that mystery unfolds. Seeing the little children in the video is like seeing my younger self, the generation that will become the “real americans,” which is absolutely true. When he said their hope relies in their children, it really pulled at the strings of my heart to the hope and struggle of my parents…


lots of them.

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ChansodaNews Clip from the Thai Refugee Camps

The Where Project

by Chansoda on October 28, 2015

I was recently asked to share my visual story in response to the questions “where are you from?” and “where are you going?” for The Where Project, which was a bit nerve wracking (ok really nerve wracking, my stomach might have turned quite a few times). I did enjoy it once I finally formulated the story I wanted to tell (huge relief), which has been a work in progress for some time. I am a HUGE fan of the Where Project, curated by my friend the amazingly talented Vichet Chum, and it was nice to be included in a different way. My previous roles have been as their event photographer for their other installments, but I recently started a new gig so could not make it out to this one, which was for the better, I was really anxious about being present while my slides were being shown. I’m ok with sharing it here, hiding behind the internet does take that edge off.

If you have a chance, please check out The Where Project, and keep an ear out for their future installments!

Dixon Place presents The Group Lab’s “The Where Project.” This round’s guest storytellers are Tiffany Nichole Greene, Alex Ubokudom, Lakisha May, & Ben Charles with music from Matthew Ellis Murphy and photography and work from Chansoda Roeun.

The Where Project is a two act storytelling event. Artists, writers and performers share stories in response “Where are you from?” in the first act and “Where are you going?” in the second act. In answering these questions with dynamic, heartfelt storytelling and original music, The Where Project hopes to cultivate and share meaningful, hilarious, human stories that capture where we are right now.

Join us for drinks and stories!
$12 in advance, $10 student & senior tickets, and $15 at the door
Buy tickets here:

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ChansodaThe Where Project

Dengue Fever at LPR

by Chansoda on September 13, 2015

Fall is just around the corner… This past weekend Karla and I went in to the city to see Dengue Fever live at Le Poisson Rouge. Love seeing them perform! They put on a great show and we finally got to meet the super talented and beautiful Chhom Nimol. We also ran in to some friends at the concert, a nice surprise to be able to catch up with them over drinks after the show.

We had seen Dengue Fever perform at this same venue back in April of 2013 during the Khmer New Year as part of Season of Cambodia (a festival highlighting Khmer arts and culture through out NYC). It was a wonderful experience then because, not only did they rock out the show, we made new friends in the audience and even got to hang out with author Loung Ung of First They Killed My Father (which is being adopted in to a motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie). Long Ung’s book really opened my eyes to the experience of surviving the Killing Fields, so I’ve always been a fan. So honored when she was standing right next to us and didn’t mind me being a little star struck, instead she joined us in rocking out to the show. There really are not a lot of Cambodians in NYC, so the few Cambodian concert goers that night were clustered in the same, front, right standing row, and we all sort of gravitate towards each other trying to find solidarity in our similar background.

In our quest of connecting with other Khmers in the audience, we ended up befriending this lively Cambodian family who grew up in NYC. It was a loud and crowded club, but this woman opened up and told me this amazing story about how she and her siblings came to be where they were. After losing their parents in the genocide and escaping the khmer rouge, they were sponsored by a church organization that resettled them to a small apartment in the Bronx. Here is this family of young kids, post trauma, on their own in NYC, who don’t know the language and don’t even know where to get groceries or understand how to get around. So every day her brother would stand outside waiting on the side of the street, which caused the neighbors to worry that he might be a drug dealer or something else. Luckily, this man in the building took the time to knock on their door rather than calling the cops and what he found was a family of young refugees who were left on their own. When he realized that, he decided to take action and adopt them. Here they are now, over 30 years later, in NYC listening to a band that idolizes Khmer music and reviving the sounds that were almost lost to an era of violence. I was so deeply touched and inspired by the magic of that night.

Back to this same venue and Dengue still put on a phenomenal show.

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ChansodaDengue Fever at LPR


by Chansoda on August 11, 2015

Second annual trip to northern Maine. We did the 10+ hour trek to Madawaska again this year with a short stop to the mid-coastal towns of Rockland, Rockport and Camden. Beautiful and charming little towns that I would have liked to explore more but time was limited. We had brunch in Rockland at the Home Kitchen Cafe, which was mobbed with people but a nice place to grab a bite. There we met a nice recently retired couple that were doing a trip across the states and camping out in their RV, very cool to talk to them about their adventures traveling.

Then we continued on to our Madawaskan adventure. Set up camp on Long Lake, meaning we pitch a tent on our friend’s lakefront. It’s so nice to sleep outside and listen to the loons, but have the convenience of an actual house, my kind of short-cut camping. (I’m actually not a big fan of real camping)

The weather was a little tricky this weekend, cloudy, chance of rain, then sunshine, it was unpredictable. We connected with Denise and Brigitte and went on the trails with the ATVs, got caught in the pouring rain. Ended up really cold and wet but it was so much fun! Next time we know how to dress for this kind of stuff. We spent some time on the water but it was too cold to go swimming. Explored a little bit of the neighboring towns, had dinner and conversation with fun people. Shirley and Angelo’s wedding anniversary was also that weekend, so nice of them to host us and include us in their milestone. It is a great place to get away, all in all a relaxing weekend.

I still have not seen any moose though. Next time, hopefully.

(check out our pictures from Maine 2014)


We woke up before the sunrise to get started on our trip.


Sunrise on i-84 as we passed Hartford, CT.


Stopped in Rockland for brunch.


Camden, Maine.

Arrived and set up our camp on Long Lake a.k.a. Shirley's front lawn.

Arrived and set up our camp on Long Lake a.k.a. Shirley’s front lawn.


Exploring neighboring town Fort Kent




ATV time!


Denise and Brigitte were awesome to take us for a ride.


ATV trails.


Shirley and Angelo got the most dust.


Beautiful marsh, no moose.


We got caught in the rain, but this rainbow came out


As the storm cloud rolled past, the sun was starting to set.


Then the sky took a really dramatic turn, so beautiful.


A pensive one.




Pretty happy here.


Love the sunsets up here.


Waking up to fog over Long Lake


Over the fields a wall of fog


Yup, still looking for the elusive moose at dawn.


More fog.


Still so much to explore…

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Big Family, Big Wedding!

by Chansoda on July 14, 2015

Multiple day wedding for the Roeun family! My brother finally made it official and married his long time girlfriend this past weekend. Several family members came in from out of town to share in this day. So nice to see how big our family has gotten.

The bride and groom did a traditional Khmer ceremony on Friday, multiple costume changes and all at the bride’s home. I served as the family photographer for the day, Karla served as one of the bridesmaids. There was a live traditional Khmer wedding band that accompanied the different parts of the ceremony. It was absolutely beautiful to see the different wedding acts.

Then on Saturday followed the big American style wedding and reception with over 400 guests in attendance. Karla and I were honored to both be bridesmaids for this one. A lot of dancing, a lot of people, such a crazy fun night. I only wished my father was alive to come and join in the celebration. It was really nice to see my oldest brother Pek fulfill the role of my father and accompany my mother alongside everything.


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ChansodaBig Family, Big Wedding!