I'm finally back in Cambodia.
Not much as changed, and for that I am grateful. Being able to navigate this town fuels my pride and I walk with
my shoulders broader and my chin higher :).
The people are still exquisite, the food tastes the same and the air is still damp.
The heat isn't as aggressive as last time... it no longer robs me of my comfort but it is enough to test my patience.
I surrender to it but am still full of gratitude for the breeze and the subtle freedom it brings, even for a moment. I'm
sure the Khmer laugh at how much sweat my small body produces and soaks through my shirts, I imagine them
calling me a baby and I admit that they're probably right.
The rain comes in unexpected patches. It falls like lead bullets in an unplanned attack on the metal roof of our cage
of a classroom. It drowns out our voices and we don't even make an effort to raise them and compete, it claims a
triumphant victory and we simply wait for it to pass. I am reminded of hot July days and shrieking through the
sprinklers- the incredible display of waves brought the smell of wet dust and grass, and it does the same here. The
streets are washed of their waste and gagging smells and it makes this city clean. A sense of rebirth... in a way.
I dodge Khmers on motorbikes and I must admit I feel quite daring and proud when I make it across the street
scratch-free. I dance around puddles and my sandals kick up droplets of mud on my legs and clothes and it creates
small constellations. My backside looks like a dirty night sky and I joke that I carry Cambodia wherever I go.
The clouds roll over us swiftly but stay in our line of vision long enough to remind us how small we really are. I can only
look at them for so long before I'm caught in a sense of bewilderment. Too much beauty and too much to be in awe of.
They. are. exquisite.
There is so much radiance here. The palm trees, the red dirt roads, the naked children and even the vendors that
charge me based on the color of my skin. I love it all, but it's not home. I am uncomfortable, I am tested, I am
challenged, I am vulnerable and I am uneasy. For the first few days, I fought it... but now I see I need to experience
these foreign emotions in order to be changed. I've given in. It's time to grow. No more fighting. Oh, culture shock,
you almost got me.
I close this with a loving "goodbye" and my hands full of peace signs. I miss you all.