In fact, I don’t think I, personally, will ever be “settled” anywhere. I recently read two things that have me convinced of this: one was on a Reddit thread about “best quotes” and the other one was towards the end of “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” and had to do with dreaming and nostalgia about the places that we have lived or visited. Both of them talked about how a traveler’s soul is never settled. Honestly, from all the moving around I’ve done, I think that it is 100% true. I missed NJ when I was in California, I missed the US when I was in Tanzania, I missed California when I was in Ireland, and I missed LA when I was in NJ. I’ve been to a lot of places and I’ve seen a lot of things and met a lot of awesome people, and I carry them with me wherever I go. You can’t rid yourself of travel, true travel, true integration, once you start with your first trip, because it changes you in ways you don’t realize until long after you have left.
I miss home a lot when I am here, but I know when I visit home and when I eventually go home for good, I’m going to miss a lot about here. I miss being able to see my family easily; talking through screens just isn’t the same. I miss fancy coffee drinks and nights out with my friends. I miss being able to understand everything that is going on around me. I miss shorts and tank tops. I can already tell you some of the things I will miss about Cambodia: the children shouting “Hello, Teacher!” (even if it does get annoying sometimes), bargaining for stuff in the market, the sunsets, the rain, the freshness of all of the food due to the lack of a refrigerator.
So, those are my current thoughts. Here are some stories from the past few weeks, in no particular order:
- I walked up behind my one year old cousin, and she looked up at me, said “elephant,” in Khmer, and ran away.
- I had to go to Phnom Penh because I was having some ear issues. Getting there was fine, even though a child was crying on the bus for so long (the ride from my site to PP is 4+ hours), that I contemplated what the headlines would say if I actually threw the child off of the bus. [Side note: I’m not commenting on the parenting style of this woman. I felt so bad for her because she tried everything and this little girl would still not stop wailing. I was just tired and in pain and wanted the kid to just be quiet.] I got to PP, got lost trying to get to the Peace Corps Office, but eventually got that sorted out. Got everything checked out and fixed up in a sense, and thought that the drama was over. NO! The next morning was the worst morning here, but, as I retold the story, my tears turned to laughter and now it’s pretty funny. Basically, I tried to catch a bus that ended up being cancelled, had to fight about not riding a moto to buy a ticket for another bus, they tried to charge me $20 for that ticket, which ended with me in tears and them accepting the $9 that I had, then them trying to get me on another moto to get me to the bus, me crying again, getting my money back, and then taking a tuk-tuk to the PC Office. PCVL Katie was awesome at calming me down, and then I talked to a few staff and got everything sorted out, and was on my way home soon after lunchtime!
- I went to visit Rachel at her site with my two French friends, two Brits, and my Cambodian friend. Fun times were had by all, the boat ride there was pretty epic, with us stopping to swim at a floating Buddha on the way. Her site was also gorgeous, with cool waterfalls, a fun path, and a pretty rickety bridge. Her family was really nice and fed me lunch! I love Cambodian hospitality.
- The birthdays of both of my host sisters are in November, so we celebrated with a bunch of food and beer. Keep in mind, my sisters were 13 and 15, and it was them, their friends, my mom, my aunt, and me. Fun(ny) times were had!
- Went to PP for a 3 day weekend. Saw a bunch of K7s which was really awesome because I miss my training class! Saw Thor 2 in theaters with my friends Alice, Jon, and Michael, and it was a really good movie. Got a massage. Ended up meeting a fellow Trojan! Ate lots of American food. It was a great weekend overall.
- This past week, I was contemplating how awesome it was that I haven’t fallen in awhile, and I ended up stepping in a ditch at the health center and completely wiping out. Thank goodness nobody saw, but I did end up with a few scratches and bruises. Next time, I’m not going to think about it. Haha
- I am officially a full-blooded meat eater. Who knew that fresh beef tasted so good?! At this point, I’ve had beef and pork, but not chicken. I’m actually not a huge fan of the pork here, but maybe that’s just my own mental blocks against it.
- My mom had a serious talk with me about my sisters a few weeks ago. This was a turning point for me in 2 ways: 1) I understood about 85% of the conversation, and when I didn’t understand something, I was just tell her rather than guess, and she would rephrase things. 2) She trusted me to talk to about this, which made me feel like I was really fitting in.
- Last week, some new people were at the health center and we were conversing in Khmer, even though they knew a bit of English. They asked me where I came from, but I misheard it as “Where is your health center director?” After we clarified, we all laughed for a good few minutes. Yay language barriers!
- I wrote a poem for the first time in awhile, and edited it until I like it. I want to post it, but I’m not sure. Would you all like to read my poem?
And last but not least:
- Today was super productive and I’m really glad. I did my laundry, finished a book, completely cleaned and reorganized my room, and then watched a movie. I wanted to get some other stuff done, but I figured I’d leave that for tomorrow.
Hope everyone is doing well!
PS – If you want to send me holiday cards, here’s my address: