Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Short Story

Here's the short story:
Up at 9am.
Went for a jog.
Visited Cambodia Adventist School.
Ate lunch a Mexican restaurant one of my previous students now manages.
Purchased some awesome Cambodian handicrafts.
Iced coffee at a favorite cafe called The Shop.
A great day!

Went to travel agent to get visas...and this is where it got interesting.

Here's the long story:
As it stands right now, we have spent a couple hundred (non-refundable) dollars on travel, visas, and accommodations to spend 6 days in Vietnam. However, this afternoon, when we went to pick-up our passports/visas and they told me, "You have your visa to get into Vietnam, however, your passport is too full and you don't have enough pages to get a visa to get back into Cambodia."

Basically, you can get in, but you won't be getting back out.

I've spent the last few hours on the U.S. Embassy website, making phone calls, and harassing them with emails trying desperately to get an "Emergency Appointment" (which I'm pretty sure this doesn't qualify for) in the hopes that we can get these extra visa pages added in time to go on our trip. The plan right now, is to get up early and try to bribe the embassy guards to let us in. If this doesn't work, we either won't be able to leave on Thursday as planned and might have to postpone our trip or--don't put it past me--to play dumb, go to Vietnam, and then act confused when we can't get back into the country!

I'm irritated (with no one in particular).
I'm tired (for more reasons than one).
And doing this all in another country is just hard.

However, I know that having these frustrations with travel and visas are actually quite a luxury. I mean, how many people can say that they ran out of pages in their passport? Many people will never even get to see this side of the world. So I'm trying to remember that any and all of this is a gift.

Secondly, the "short story" part of today was most of the day. And it was a really great day.

Cambodia Adventist School has undergone quite a few changes. 
The new basketball courts are where I used to teach in bamboo huts! 
That big, shiny building in the background didn't even exist!
How many exclamation points will it take to express my amazement?!

David (a previous student), and a kindergarten teacher at CAS.

For the life of me, I've never been able to correctly pronounce her name. But, I will always remember that after my first two--very, rough--months in Cambodia, she was the first person to touch me. To reach out, take my hand in hers, say something sweet in Khmer, and touch me. I didn't realize until that moment how badly I wanted to be touched. And I will never forget it.

One of my students, Reachany, now teaches third grade. I am so proud of her.

Standing in--what used to be--my 10th grade classroom.

Mexican food! And it was really good, too!

The "long story" part will work itself out.
I can be adaptable. 
I can take these things in stride. 
I can do my balanced best. 
We'll figure this out. 

Thanks for your prayers.