Wow. What a year!!
So many words to say but I don’t even know where to start. I’ve decided to break this down into sections to make it easier…
What makes a place sure is the people. I have been fortunate to have had some amazing people enter my life this year – Cambodian and beyond. Friendships that I know will last. Everyone that lives in Cambodia has a story to tell and I was continually amazed and inspired by other peoples adventures, dreams and passions.
The people in my town were what made my year so successful. If the people in Sre Ambel had not been so kind, friendly, fun and supportive I really would have struggled. I remember my very first day so well. As soon as I got in the car with two of my colleagues I knew I was going to be just fine. They also became my very good friends and taught me so, so much.
Sre Ambel. You. I think in a couple of months it will really sink in for me the fact that, this one time in my life, I lived in a remote village in Cambodia. But for the last year that has just seemed so normal.
What a beautiful place. The rainy season was my favourite – when it was luscious green with rice fields everywhere. I loved living in my house on the river. I will never forget waking up, walking out my door and seeing a beautiful sunrise in my backyard over looking the river (that was what got me through the challenging nights…knowing i had that to wake up to the next day).
Phnom Penh. Wow. I came to Cambodia thinking I would do lots of yoga and relaxation and find my inner peace or something like that….little did I know that my long weekends of partying would continue here… I sure have rocked a few dance floors in the Penh!
I think what has also made my experience so well has been the fact that I could get to Phnom Penh every weekend. My colleagues all had houses there so I always had a ride each weekend. This really helped keep my sanity with living remotely. I really got the best of both worlds.
and so…I will miss living the high life at amazing delicious eateries, my fortnightly manicures and pedicures, regular massages, tasty cocktails and swimming in hotel pools. Working from cafes was also a delight. Ah the life of an expat!
Cambodia. What an amazing place. So many things to explore. Not a day goes by where you don’t have a crazy story to tell. The simple things of daily life is what I will miss most. The country sure has its complexities and is surely still on the mend but you see positive changes occurring…just very slowly. So complex.
Rats. Spiders. Frogs. Cockroaches. Ants. Plagues of insects. Sweatyness. Food poisoning. Cold showers. Drop toilets. Rain. Motos. Culture.
Riding my bike on dirt roads with pot holes in the rainy season. Covered in dirt all the time. Only wearing clothes for one day because they were that dirty. Leaving my whole wardrobe behind cos it was that dirty.
Dogs barking all night. Smelling dirty pigs while I sleep. Loneliness.
Fisherman walking past my room at night, sounding like they are in my house.
Children playing in my front yard when I come home from work – and then peering in my room to stare at the foreigner.
I have learnt so much about myself this year and I’ve seen some strengths in myself that I didn’t know I had. Patience has been the main one. Everyone living in Cambodia will tell you that. But its true. Patience, patience, patience. Things take time and things are always done differently, especially in the workplace. You need to be patient.
Adapting to change and new environments is something I’ve always been able to do but this took it to a new level and I think I handled it very well. My attitude is I look at a situation and just deal with it. I accept that this is the way that things are going to be, try not to worry and just deal with whatever it may be. I’ve learnt a lot of new skills during my assignment as well of course.
And so I sit here at Singapore Airport about to board my flight back to Adelaide. I’m really ready to get home. I have been for the last few months but needed to make sure I finished off everything before I left. I’m so excited to see my family and friends again and have so many great events coming up over the next few weeks. And then…find a job!
It really has been a life-changing experience. I have learnt so much about the world and myself. And I think that if I can handle ‘going rural’ for a year than I am doing pretty well at life.
I’m really glad I kept this blog. I would have liked to have updated it more regularly though. Anyway, thanks for reading!