November 21, 2012. Human After All.

It’s these rainless, humid nights when I still feel cold that confuse me the most.

I ask myself, “Am I being emotional or am I being hormonal?” Oh, the joys of being a so called woman.

It seems this evening, after a more than lovely dinner with Miss Ashley Louise aka Dear Lady Expat, is the first night I do believe I’m feeling this thing called homesickness. They said to expect it; I didn’t believe them. They said it will come; I thought t wouldn’t. But here I am, alone pondering existentialism on my front porch, glaring at this toad who thinks its funny to come into my line of vision even though I can only assume he knows of my deep loathing towards him, drinking a tall glass of Pastis, and listening to Death Cab for Cutie and Bright Eyes.

I truly believe I haven’t made a mistake moving to Phnom Penh, I am confident that my decision to relocate was one necessary for the continuous molding of my psyche and an allowance to experience a life beyond what I had envisioned for myself. I sense this even more strongly as my dear mother joins me outside to share a thin cigarette, promising to not say anything and assuring me it’s not completely rude to keep my headphones in as she watches me type. I know that these moments will be few and far between after her monumental life change approaches, our life change, hurling towards us like a romantic Molotov cocktail.

You know it’s not so easy when you’re all alone.

I realize now that in many ways I’m experiencing a loss, again. I’ve dreamt about my father several times these past few weeks, which I had gone months without. This sudden onset of reminders of my true home I spent my terrible adolescence in that I cherish so deeply, the way things were, has jolted me into the present with wide eyes and an increased heart rate. No longer do I have the heat of a cat at the foot of my bed, a warm body next to me-so casually there, so unobtrusive. The knowledge of my apartment; the places the floorboards creak and where each draft was coming from and when the terrariums needed to be watered and the long nights in the kitchen, preparing asparagus risotto with freshly shaved parmesan and sipping Lambic from my favorite champagne coupes; all now fond memories. The ease of going to work that I was actually good at, truly found pleasure in is a distant thought; instead it’s been replaced with constant worry that I may not actually be as desirable in a workplace as I thought. In my core I don’t believe these negative things, I’ve been created to do good things and love people and give myself to the world but nights like these, oh, they’re painful. But how good to have that ache. How fortunate I am to have these memories, these things to hold onto as I step into this strange new chapter.

What will keep me here, I cannot pin point. It may be the thunder storms that wake me in the night that give me more comfort than an arm around my shoulder. The ability to disappear into myself like a dying star without anyone asking why or where I am. The promise of endless possibilities that I may or may not grasp. The nights where the roads are so flooded the moto driver stalls half a dozen times and it doesn’t matter that I’m sobbing for reasons I can’t quite explain but there’s someone there to tell me its really all going to be okay because they’ve gone through the same loss. The countless places to indulge in pho. The relationships that continue to strengthen every day, even if its with my favorite tuk tuk driver. The ability to order a cheeseburger to my door. The delirium that overcomes me as I walk home from the gym, dripping with sweat and remembering that I do not have a home; that as painfully cliche as it sounds, home is where the heart is.

I just have the simple task of locating exactly where that vital organ is in this vast world.

I really am, human after all.


  1. This is beautifully written, Anna, and I cannot wait to read your magazine articles!

    Once when I was a younger beast and had been recently dumped, my Father said something to me that I will never forget. He said, “I know it’s hard, Michelle, but everything you are feeling right now means you are alive. Everything you are feeling means you are human. And I think that is worth being happy over.”

    It really stuck with me. So simple but so true.

    Your post reminded me of this.

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