Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I gaze straight ahead at the marker board as Dr. Fitts talks about transformational grammar, my mind drifts again, back to Cambodia, where it usually does whether I'm saying it outloud or not.

I really miss my kids today. Emails are nice, but not being able to see them, touch them, and see through the words on the page, is increasingly difficult when I think about what I'm missing out on.

Ratanak is still in love with Monita and unwilling to give up, "I just want to hold her hand. What should I do?" he writes.

Or there's Muth who is definitely in "love" with a girl he's never spoken to. Strangely enough, that's kind of how they do it in Cambodia, so I wouldn't be horribly surprised if they got married.

Chea sends me random emails about Barack Obama and the prime minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen. His emails are in all caps and usually very demanding, but that's just kinda how it is.

I'll get mass emails from Pagna, Aliyah, Okhna, and Daroth so that they don't each have to send me an email, plus it's probably cheaper for them at the internet shops.

It's nice to be remembered, to be thought of. It never gets old.

Polly calls me about once a month and we talk as if we were right next to each other. She'll be home in 4 months. Four months! She's thrilled and so ready to be home in familiarity and family and comfort of a culture she understands. Still, amazingly, part of her hates to go, she's done so much at that school. I don't think it's the end of her mission experience.

I catch up with Fay when I can. She stays pretty busy just trying to run a household and do daily errands. For example just getting groceries involves trapsing around town to at least 5 different stops, which means braving the traffic, the heat, and the stares. Upon arriving she has to barter in Khmer, deal with the high prices because she's white, and get home. Fay is no ordinary woman. She's incredible. I'll say it again, incredible.

Ama, the head cook at CAS died two weeks ago. Most likely a heart attack. My kids all emailed to tell me, they were shocked. Several of them had regrets about how they "didn't spend enough time" with her, or "could have been nicer".

Last year I had each of my high schoolers write a letter to the person in their life that they admired most. "Why love people at all if you never tell them?" I said. Last week I encouraged them all to write again and keep writing, keep talking. It's nice to feel needed.

One of the most difficult things about being back is, not feeling needed. It might be a very selfish desire, but I miss it nonetheless. Is this why some people have kids?

Ralph Waldo Emerson says, "Make yourself necessary to someone."

In a few months, my 11th graders from last year will be graduating. They've been begging me to come back to see it. It's not going to happen, I wish it was. But where do I draw the line. I can't just fly to Cambodia every time some one dies, graduates, or gets married though I want to so badly.

Maybe that's the angst of the whole situation: being there, leaving, and living after wards, the separation and helplessness, yet the indebted feeling towards what I learned and how radically different I would be without it.

"...and as you can see, the adverbial here acts as a predicate nominative, thus signaling this determiner "ought to". You understand?" Dr.Fitts continues.

Yes, yes...I'm beginning to understand.