Sunday, April 13, 2008

Australia

Wow, I am writing to you from Australia! I arrived on Friday and have been here almost 3 days already. This will not be a long and detailed description becuase I do not have time. But for the sake of concerned friends and family, I made it. I am pretty darn proud of myself for booking my tickets, for applying for a VISA, for figuring out travel details, transfering my money, using a AU payphone, getting train tickets, and riding the train to Gosford where I finally met Ross and Kamrong.
So I made it and I consider this, culture shock, before the culture shock. Indeed, it was shocking to suddenly be surrounded by people who look like me and people who talk like me. We drove to Avondale Adventist college where I met up with Bryce Durham and we had a really good time. We went to church, checked out the campus, went to the beach, I fed kangaroos, and he showed me an Australian football game. It is a cross between rugby, socccer, football, basketball, and...a wedding? There is one part where the referee tosses the ball over his shoulder and whoever gets it has the next possession of the ball. It was fun.
I went to a Target. I ate in a McDonalds. I drove in an air-conditioned car. It is clean. People are friendly. I am ignored on the street. I am understood. I spent all day Sabbath with Bryce and his college friends. It felt good to laugh. It is nice to be funny. I am not funny to Khmer people and they are not funny to me. There are just some things about our culture that are just really hard to understand. So it was nice to feel understood.
I was able to call my parents and two of my best friends in Lincoln, Rachael and Katelyn. In trying to explain the experience so far, I'm not sure I can. But either way, the most common thought that has been running through my head is, "How is it possible that a world like Cambodia and a country like Australia exist simultaneously. That maybe a concept I never grasp. Because until now it has been easier to believe that they just don't. The rest of the world must just halt, while I am here. This can't be real. These two extremes just can't be. But they do and I do not understand.
I still have much to experience and much to try to understand. I'll write if and when I can.

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