The lust to wander is back full force and I don’t quite know what to do with this familiar feeling. It’s a bit of a chicken or the egg situation: I purchased a ticket for a brief stint (hopefully filled to the brim with work and collaborative ideas) back to Phnom Penh and since then haven’t been able to take my mind off getting out. Did the desire to make my way across the world again force me to finally buy a ticket or was it purchasing my flight that’s got me all riled up to go?
I find it difficult to trust people, and I believe that stemming from that lack of trust comes me being easily irritated. I don’t know if there was a specific time or event that caused me to question people’s motives, what true colors lie beneath, and whether I would be the one, yet again, walking away first.
Today is what I call a Washington day: overcast, slate grey, hints of fog drifting over the sound, and a slight bite in the air. I’m wearing plush furry slippers, a sinfully cozy sweatshirt, and joggers- curled up under a marshmallowy throw. Some people hate this blanket of a gunmetal hue over the city and I am surprised at how quickly I have reacclimatized to the weather here. Complaints of “sweating like an asshole” and “I’m literally melting” have been sent to me from friends in Cambodia and I sure don’t miss that. It’s strange not rolling over onto one of many air conditioner remotes in the middle of the night and being able to wear a velvet robe at any time of the day.
As Mad Men comes to it’s final season, I’ve been brushing up on past episodes, remembering the times I laughed, cried, and wrung my hands at the characters who so deftly mirror us in so many ways. Pride, lust, anger, fear, love (?), self loathing, understanding- it’s all there. Just as it is in life past the television screen.
Eleven. That’s how many sets of twenty four hours I’ve been back on extraordinary Washington ground since I boarded my plane leaving Cambodia, looking back over my shoulder with tears in my eyes and anxiety battering through my chest.
I’m sitting at my wonderful desk with my Panpuri diffuser wafting lemongrass into the air, the kittens are making their rounds about the apartment- mewing here and pawing there- and rapid fire video game noises and cliché phrases are overtaking the living room thanks to Call of Duty. There isn’t anything all that out of the ordinary. The smells are the same, the sounds are generally the same (although the headphones are about to go on for some Lana for some, you guessed it, West Coast)- but the general aura is different. How come?
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 know I’m not alone in knowing this particular kind of ache. The gnawing feeling that starts as a niggling growl then slowly, surely expands to an almost sickening ache that encases your entire being.
Recently, several people have asked some questions that have been difficult to answer, if answerable at all.
Why did you move to Cambodia?
Do you think I could live in Cambodia?
How long do you think you’ll stay there?
When are you coming home?
Do you like it?
The contrast between this year’s Christmas Day and of 2012 was stark. Twelve months ago, my mom was in the United States celebrating with family and I was here in Cambodia with Allison, Nico, Giacamo, and Ritchie house sitting for our friend Dan. Allison and I woke up hungover as all get out and hurriedly found soccer socks to shove random what-nots into for Nico and Ritchie before they arrived- our Christmas gifts for our Christmas guests! Inside they found random massage coupons for Passion Spa, broken candy canes, Kurt Vonnegut/Chuck Palahniuk books, photos of our friends back in the States, tiny golden wedding gift spoons, and cigarettes- a stocking gift blend of a struggling college student, latch-key kid, and confused third cousin.