This article was featured on Anvaya, a network that aims to:
- Gather all the returnees within a social and professional effective network
- Support and welcome the Overseas Cambodians in their efforts to return
- Inform the Overseas Cambodians on business, social and employment opportunities in Cambodia
- Develop opportunities for Overseas Cambodians to return from abroad, especially young professionals
- 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.”