Art, Cambodia, Expat, Personal, Phnom Penh, Travel, United States

Repost: Natalie Polson, Khmer American, returns to her roots to unveil SEEN.

natalie-polson

This article was featured on Anvaya, a network that aims to:

  1. Gather all the returnees within a social and professional effective network
  2. Support and welcome the Overseas Cambodians in their efforts to return
  3. Inform the Overseas Cambodians on business, social and employment opportunities in Cambodia
  4. Develop opportunities for Overseas Cambodians to return from abroad, especially young professionals
  5. Develop links between Cambodia and its diaspora

“When first meeting Natalie Polson, one senses a feeling of strength and passion underneath her calm, quiet, and seemingly shy exterior. When Natalie and I first began our partnership in March of this year, we both entered into it knowing little about each other except from that personal blogs, scattered emails, and a few meetings. Over time, a bond and friendship based on values, dreams, and hopes developed- the idea that the beauty, history, and intricacies of Cambodia’s arts can be shared with those around us and beyond. Now have worked together for roughly ten months- our insights, about Cambodia and each other have only grown- and I had a chance to sit down with Natalie for a brief yet intriguing chapter by chapter walk through her history, both in and away from Cambodia.

Natalie first ventured to the Kingdom of Wonder in 2002 while vacationing with family.  Her initial impressions of Phnom Penh was that of alluring exoticism, foreignness, and feeling a certain sense of inaccessibility to the surroundings and people due to the language gap. Natalie reminisces, “At the time, Cambodia felt very much like a movie set. It felt like a dream…surreal. It’s like I was a member of an audience, invited to come onto the stage and explore the scene.” The landscape at times, reminded her of the kind of setting that Gaugin would have captured in his paintings, that of a bright red ochre dust that settled on the countryside, the saffron coloration of the monks robes contrasted with the deep emerald hues of forested canopies.”

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Cambodia, Expat, Personal, Phnom Penh

Writer’s Blockade.

haters gonna hate

To scarcely brush the surface of current political activities in Cambodia: there has been civil unrest, scare and pain tactics from both sides of political parties, army trucks with soldiers in full SWAT gear hanging on corners, widespread fear among locals and some expats, and harrowing suffering for the people of Cambodia. Not all is negative, during the time since the elections, bonds have been formed that haven’t been seen for decades and the youth, individuals aged  30 or under making up roughly 70 percent of the population- have started to push out of their shells, taking risks- sometimes unwarranted, and speaking to be heard and acting to be acknowledged. During what was supposed to be a peaceful protest last week on the Riverside in Phnom Penh, barbed wire barricades and physically harmful methods were used against the crowd. Not being in the midst of the scenes physically myself or having read the full amount of coverage, I can’t say what exactly started the violence, how things escalated, or when. What I do know is that there has been a haze of unease over the city for the past week. Last night, “police and thugs dressed in civilian clothes descended on a peaceful vigil at Wat Phnom last night, and set upon the roughly 20 protesters with slingshots, batons and electrics prods.” (Source: The Phnom Penh Post) A total of eleven were injured in the brawl and human right workers and journalists among the crowds were injured from marbles, some the size of golf balls and electric prods.

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Expat, Personal

Repost: When my birth mother found me

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Reposted from Salon, this article  written by Liz Fields spoke to me in so many ways.

Common knowledge if you know me or have read any of my previous blog posts is that I am adopted. A happily adopted daughter who has an incredible mother, enjoyed twenty years with the greatest man on earth as a father, and have a beautiful, warm-hearted sister of Indian descent who is adopted as well.

While reading this piece, however, several of her statements were almost word for word things I’ve felt or said in the past myself. I thought I would share.

A few of my favorite excerpts as follow…

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Art, Cambodia, Expat, Food, Music, Phnom Penh, Travel

SEEN: The Kickstarter

SEEN

And off we go! We’re launching SEEN- find out how you can be a part of making this happen, share this link & spread the word. Words can’t describe how we’re feeling about this project right now- but soon they will.

Visit our Kickstarter page for the full story.

 

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Art, Cambodia, Expat, Food, Phnom Penh, Travel

Sharing “a.hä”

Photo Credit: Nataly Lee

Photo Credit: Nataly Lee

The times are few nowadays when I can or want to sit down and look at the same photos repeatedly- especially if they’re of places, people, or things I see recurring in my day to day.

I do cherish going through old photos of friends and family, I always have. As a little girl and to this day, would sit with the thickly bound photo albums my mother so carefully crafted and kept throughout my sister and my childhoods to reminisce and create stories and simply be back in each moment, whether in Albania with my skinny cat, gathering sticks at the Oregon Coast, or placing a set of Minnie Mouse ears atop my dad’s head.

A few years ago, I was a tumblr fanatic- looking, posting, reblogging, looking more- into the wee hours of the morning. Now, I prefer to scribble and plan and write and sleep. However, when Nataly Lee launched her photo blog today- I was enthralled by the stories she managed to tell through the lens. She brought the viewer in, and wouldn’t let them go. Each detail, each soft nuance- makes me want to go back and look one more time…just in case I missed anything.

Visit her page, a.hä! for whimsical yet rich photos, bound to pull you in to a world you may just have skipped over.

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Cambodia, Expat, Personal, Phnom Penh, Travel

One Year.

Photo: Jeremie Montessuis for Film Noir Studio

It’s the 6th of September, and I arrived in Phnom Penh on the 5th last year.

I had meant to, on the one year mark of my arrival, write a blog post reviewing the past twelve months putting together a meaningful, intricate, and interesting entry to post- but over a feast of bangers and mash and rosé last night at Public House I realized I had missed the mark.

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