It took all of 2 hours being in Phnom Penh, Cambodia before experiencing the same feelings after arriving in Haiti for the first time years ago. “What am I doing here? Can I survive 37 days? I want to go home. I can’t eat this food. I want my own bed.”
I went from island life, lush greenery, own transportation, beach, good food, English everywhere, to city life, brown everything, feeling like a minority, relying on other people, a lot of poverty, and language barriers. It was a big adjustment but then I experienced the sunsets, Outpost Co-working, the cutest little girl around my apartment building who is thrilled to see me everyday, people who are genuinely excited we’re here, invitation to a traditional wedding, and a country who should hold a grudge against Americans but certainly do not (from what I can tell.) Cambodia is growing on me.
It’s already been an entirely new experience and I’ve realized after some reflecting, I can’t at all compare this to Bali. Cambodia is a developing country, rich in history, with a past that brings tears to my eyes every time I learn something new. I’ve been here over a week and I can’t help thinking every day, "how lucky am I?" Not that I’m on this trip, or having these experiences (this isn’t luck, it’s a lifestyle choice <--- Pet Peeve of mine)… But how lucky are you and I to have been born in a place with the opportunities and luxuries we choose to take for granite every day? We have NO control whatsoever of the race we’re born into, class, country, gender, sexual orientation, or the religion our parents choose to bring us up in. If you were given a questionnaire before you were born would you choose your current situation? Would you choose to be a white US citizen, middle class, raised in a Christian household? Or would you choose to be born in a developing country, sleeping on cinder blocks, picking up cans on the side of the street to feed yourself, struggling for a quality education, Buddhist, etc…I’m not sure I even know the answer to my own question but it’s something I’m digging into.
I continue to remind myself, this is exactly what I wanted to experience. I’ve been begging to be pushed outside my comfort zone and Cambodia is delivering in a big way. Is it these very experiences that make us better human beings? How many times a day do you choose to step outside your little box of comfort or do something out of the ordinary? This could be as simple as going to dinner by yourself, turning off social media for a month, striking up a conversation with a stranger, visiting a church outside of your religion or trying broccoli for the first time. Whatever it is, I challenge my dear readers to write down 5 things that make you uncomfortable and go out and try to experience it. You may find what once felt awkward is your new norm.
I've decided during my 37 days in Cambodia I’m going to soak up as much history as I can, learn more about the locals, understand what makes the Cambodian people so joyous even though they don’t have the same luxuries and conveniences as we do in America and I’m going to eat the food that has me doing this … 🤔😬🤢 I’m going to attempt to show you through my eyes why Cambodia and other like countries are not “shit holes” but so grand.
I’m ready to make what felt so awkward a week ago, my norm. Thank you, Cambodia for the push.
Up-and-coming blogs: Day in the life, Phnom Penh, Week with Brandon, Traditional Cambodian Wedding, Top 10 Favorite Canguu Restaurants, Bali Recap Video and much more!!! Stay tuned. :-)