Saturday, January 18, 2014


It's been six years since I blogged from Cambodia. In this room. In this place. But here I sit.

Yesterday was a full day of travel. We left our apartment in Cheongju around 10:30am, caught the bus directly to Incheon Airport, had lunch in Seoul, caught our flight to Shanghai, had dinner (a.k.a. French fries) in Shanghai, and then we had our four hour flight to Phnom Penh. Whew! We got our visas, exchanged some money, and as soon as we turned the corner, I saw bouncy Fay and ever-calm Tim smiling and waving on the other side, as if I left them only yesterday.

Tim and Fay are the same.
The airport is the same.
And the eager moto drivers.
And the Khmer language sounds familiar again.
But also a lot has changed.

This country has changed and I have changed.
Kind of.

Sleep came slowly and only lasted in short spurts. I would wake up, look around at my old room, get anxious, look over at Jeremy, go back to sleep. Over and over again. Feeling frantic. Not quite at home.

With my eyes wide awake at 7am, I remembered how many nights I spent alone in this room crying. How the experience of being in Cambodia brought out many things in me, but mostly homesickness and--on some inaccurate level--abandonment. All of these things rushed back to me. Thinking, "Oh no, I'm back. The feelings are back." And my heart races.

But the year is 2014. I have been living abroad for 5 months. Home isn't going anywhere and no has abandoned me here. This is a different time and I am a difference person.

I never remember looking around and taking in the sights. I was only concerned with getting to my destination as quickly as possible with as little harassment as possible. But this morning, as Jeremy and I stepped outside the compound, I was struck by how charming it was. Yes, you read that correctly, "charming." Not clean. Not overwhelmingly beautiful. But unique to this country and these people. And I saw it differently in a way that brought me to tears.

Today, we strolled and took it all in.


Christoffer said...

This seems a very good thing.

KendraKay at said...

So good. I'm glad for you. :)

Ashley Barber said...

I'm so proud of you!