“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”

It’s one of those quotes that I feel like I’ve been told more times than any normal person should be told, but again- that’s probably just me overanalyzing once again.

I haven’t completed a blog entry in some time now, I’ve started plenty, but none seem to encompass the roller coaster of a ride my life seems to be on right now. This one probably won’t either but I might as well try.

In the past six months, life has changed. A lot. My mom moved back to Washington away from Cambodia where I kind of followed her, my living situation has changed in a blink of an eye, and I’m learning what the end of the year looks like in a corporate company for the first time (lots of forms, lots of cold calls, lots of…corporate-y stuff). Things are in a word, hectic. It’s not to say things are bad. I’m blessed with incredible friends and support systems across the globe, I’ve made new and wonderful connections both personally and professionally, and exciting things are in the works in a ton of aspects. Of course I can’t determine how everything will pan out in the next several months, but I have a feeling that when a creaky, uneasy door closes a set of gorgeous French doors will open. The timing when those  doors actually open is entirely unknown to me and I’ve learned that’s for the best.

Now that I’m coming up on two and a half years living in Cambodia my mindset is changing, slowly but surely. I’m getting used to the things that once baffled me (the banking system here still does), but I find myself becoming independent in ways I had never imagined. Being in a situation that relies on others is easier in many ways, but remembering that I can solely do things on my own and not only be okay doing them alone but actually thriving is pretty beautiful. I’ve learned a lot from the people around me in this new state and am finding that by opening myself up to more, it allows more to flow in. Kind of an obvious thing, you’d think, but I tend to learn things the hard way.

Of course there are severe moments of loneliness, especially when I keep myself busy to the point of mental and physical exhaustion for the majority of my time. They creep in on nights when I’d normally be doing something as mundane as watching a movie on the couch shoveling pizza into my mouth (not that that doesn’t still happen on the regular) and I begin to think of the “what ifs” and “whys” and try to force myself to acknowledge that I don’t have the answers. The only thing I do know is that I’m doing exactly what’s the best for myself at the time. I quote again one of my best and most talented friends Jesse from one of my favorite songs of his ‘Like a Thief‘, “you can stand to be alone, just never to be lonely.” Was he delving into my brain when he wrote those lyrics? Listen here, if you’re keen. You might cry.

Yet again, Christmas has arrived in Cambodia and yet again, and even more-so this year, I feel the loneliness and strangeness of living as an expat in a country abroad that doesn’t really celebrate Christmas in the way that I do, and it’s difficult. Christmas carols may play in the office, the tree may light up the entryway of my apartment building, and my inbox is full of receipts for Christmas gifts- but like always I feel particularly disconnected. The small things make me remember it’s a season to celebrate life and to be grateful, but sometimes they make things even tougher. I see my little kittens growing up and getting naughtier as time passes, even within a week’s time I notice changes in their behavior that makes me wonder what it’ll be like to have kids one day. At twenty five, that’s a pretty intense thought and one that I hope doesn’t become a reality for quite some time. I’ve got to learn how to take care of myself before I can manage the life of another human being!

I look at my beautiful friends, here and back in Washington, with their growing families and stand in awe of their strength and resilience through the thick and the thin. To see them having found lives that are profoundly wonderful in ways so different than mine brings me happiness and in a lot of ways, curiosity. The wreaths, the holiday spreads, the caroling, the Christmas drinks and celebrations back at home with family- it’s so…pretty.

See? I’m on a tangent. I think it might be this massive glass of Sauv Blanc I’m drinking while listening to my favorite Christmas music and buddies’ tunes. That and I’m sitting on my balcony trying to sort my thoughts while Khmer karaoke goes on at the restaurant next to my apartment building.


I guess I’m just taking those teeny baby steps towards figuring out who I am, what’s next, and where I’ll be in the next year. The next month. The next week, even. And with each of those baby steps I hope I learn something new: something to grow me, something to help me support those around me, something to strengthen my inner knowledge of what’s inherently best for me and those in my life, something to take into the new year, something to ride and die with.

If I don’t post again before Christmas, here’s to another year in The Kingdom of Wonder.

Wonder really does sum up life here.

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