We all get to this point during some time of the year (week, month, even day at times) when you feel like you’ve lost a lot, or all, interest in that around you. Well kids, here I am at that point. It’s like the honeymoon phase of a relationship is over and now it’s down to brass tacks and really deciding whether you want to be in it or not: ultimately though it’s between me and a country. Instead of champagne fueled dates and moonlit kissing it’s the showcasing of gross habits, farting in front of each other, arguing over dinner, and bickering over finances and chores phase.
Rarely do I have those blissed out moments of here I am Cambodia, you charming place you! Now take me wherever you please. It’s more like please take out the trash asshole I’m tired and bored and we aren’t having date night this week. It’s not to say that there aren’t good things happening in my life: I should be grateful, and generally I am. This week though has felt like walking through molasses or Groundhog Day where everything seems to be on repeat with little changing from the day to day- which can be a slow torturous way of life unless I either take my mind out of its current state or change my situation.
I’ve lived in Cambodia for just over two years now. It’s had its ups and downs just like anywhere else, which is what I always tell newcomers or people I’ve just met when they ask how I like living in Phnom Penh, but just like anywhere else- there may be a time to move on. I am constantly juggling the pros and cons of living here. Work, relationships, friendships, pets, comfort, daily interactions, simplicities and difficulties- and it always comes out in a wash. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I’m truly in awe of people who have made this their home for longer than five years. Even after two I’m feeling a strong sense of wanderlust. They must either be easily content, have something that’s keeping them here whether they want it or not, running away from something else somewhere else, or just really love Cambodia. I don’t know how long I can really have an infatuous relationship with this country, especially as things only seem to get worse as things “evolve” for the land itself.
It’s a strange thing these little pockets of untrust or questioning I go through quite often really. Whenever I don’t know what to do next, if I’m in the place I should be or with the people I should be with, a solution presents itself. Clearly and loudly, because apparently that’s the only way I’ll notice it. Not the quiet thief in the night approach, but a roaring “THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY AND YOU MUST TAKE IT.” Kind of like how I felt when I decided to move here in the first place. I have a feeling some clarity will come soon and just have to sit on my hands and be patient. Which is very difficult to do.
Being content, however, is another story. I thrive on being busy and doing things I feel are important to my well-being, that build up other people in some way or form, and introducing new things to myself and those around me. I don’t feel that anymore, at least not to the extent that I’d like. I suppose being in the industry I am, where things take lots of time, doesn’t help either and my lack of patience is a little twist of the knife. Sounds like I need to work on my virtues.
My nephew, Luke, and my good friend and business partner, Jesse, will arrive here on Sunday for a 6 month stint in Southeast Asia traveling and doing all the things they love: photography, videography, exploring, being mountain men. I am hoping their presence here will clarify a bit what may be next and to hear what life is like back in Washington will sway me in one direction or the other. I’ve seen friends move to different countries in the world and love it, even with the frustrations of learning an entirely new culture, language, etc. But then I think, ‘well I did it once…I can always do it again.’ So maybe that will be the solution. Maybe not. There are so many cards on the table it looks more like a game of 52 pickup rather than an orderly understanding of what’s to come.
Regardless, I’m here now and doing things that I feel proud of to an extent. Projects are rearing back up, I have a warm handful of friends who support and love me, and I’m living a life full of creature comforts. For now that will have to do, and maybe I’ll learn that these things may just be enough. But then again- I know my standards.
I actually felt this way for over a year before I decided to move back. I think it takes a very long time to decide to move away, especially back home, from a big adventure or chance you took. I know you and trust you won’t make the decision lightly, but I am always around if you need some advice!
I just happened to come across your blog. Good to see I am not the only one who goes through these ups and downs. I haven’t quite been in Cambodia for a year but I can definitely relate to this feeling. Hope to see you around. Keep your head up.