Cambodia will be the death of me.
Probably not for the same reasons as it can be the death of most people, which is dehydration from constant street-food-induced diarrhea. My Imodium regiment was consistent, and my bowels stand strong and proud.
I had to wear a different hat this time around. Instead of the ultimate freedom that ironically comes from being able to defer to a preexisting structure, my time was spent trying to help create that structure, and maintaining peace among a group that almost constantly had 30+ individuals in close proximity to one another. Not that there were all that many interpersonal conflicts, but being the ying to the trip leader’s yang is no easy task.
In other news, I couldn’t have picked a more mismatched, cliched Asian metaphor just now.
I got the usual things out of the way, like taking pictures with hundreds of Cambodian locals who were more than slightly amused at how tall I am. That will never go away, nor will the scars on my head as a result of misjudging the height of various concrete ceilings and door frames.
Coming home is just as confusing and jarring as it was the first time around. If the reverse culture shock doesn’t get you, the jet lag will. I got a grand total of two hours of sleep last night before my brain screamed at me that, even though it is 3 in the morning, it is most certainly time to do things.
There’s something about Cambodia that just can’t be explained to anyone who’s never been there. It’s alienating to not be able to express that it has nothing to do with being unhappy or ungrateful for the life to which we get to return. It just feels, deep in my heart, like the United States is driving this wedge back into the gap between human compassion and what we have come to value, which starts to inexplicably heal when interacting with the Cambodian community. It’s something that nobody ever tells you that you’ve been missing, which makes it all the more disturbing when you discover it for yourself.
For the second time, I’m sick of looking at my stuff. I’m sick of thinking about my stuff. I want to sell everything I have and move somewhere new. For the record, it’s not because I went and stared at those less fortunate and now I feel bad. Cambodia just has a way of poking some well-needed holes in my emotional cup, and reminding me that only true substance can fill it back up again.
I equate this loss in translation to the equally lost cause of explaining the feeling that one has when they try to quit smoking and why it is so hard. It comes out sounding like a weird, fundamental emotional failure. Maybe it is.
I took hours of video, which are currently being sliced and diced into a bizarre music video for no good reason. Below is a screen shot that carries with it no explanation, mostly because there isn’t one to be had.
Actually, I was trying to join the Nipple gang in Cambodia, but I never even got a call back. They must only hire from within, which is bullshit.