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

Twinge.

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.

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Music, Personal, Travel, United States

Jesse & Death Cab.

Jesse

Today began as any other Tuesday: wake up after three separately set alarms- spaced an hour apart, think about the tasks that are to come throughout the next eight hours of work-who will I need to speak with? What articles need to be written?- and drowsily make my way to the office on the back of the moto, sunglasses deflecting the sun’s bright, unrelenting glare- thin cigarette hanging despondently between my fingers. I arrived at my place of work; I turned on, clicked around, and logged in to all of my accounts and pages- awaiting the e-mails I would respond to, the edits I would need to make; but first snuck onto my Facebook only to be reminded unsubtly that “I HAVE AN EVENT TODAY”.

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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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Cambodia, Fashion, Food, Music, Personal, Phnom Penh, Travel, United States

So This is the New Year. Written January 19th, 2013.

I sit here in an extremely air conditioned room, filled with deep dark cherry wood, Egyptian cotton bedding, the sounds of garden parties filtering through the window, the faint smell of coconut rolls and green apples in the air. The soft lights illuminate my surroundings perfectly and Jesse Morrow croons from my laptop as I type. I write from Le Meridien Hotel in Siem Reap, a delightful and unexpected getaway mixed with some business and a lot of leisure.

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Cambodia, Personal, Phnom Penh, Travel

Schooled. December 5th, 2012.

Marbles, officially lost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Yo self, congrats! You’ve made it in Cambodia for three months as of today.”

Apparently, two of those months living here with an expired visa. A mistake even the most novice of travelers aren’t likely to make, considering each day overstayed costs $5 and that’s in a lax country, I’m lucky they didn’t punt me out of here with a $10,000 fine and a ‘DO NOT RETURN’ sign hanging around my neck.

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Cambodia, Personal, Phnom Penh, Travel, United States

Week Two

The hours are fleeting.

I have miraculously managed to make it into my second week here in Phnom Penh, and I would say successfully so.

Five days after my arrival and the day we came home from Mondolkiri, my mom and I viewed a house 100 meters from the apartment she lived in, signed the broken English lease and moved in. We each have our own bedrooms and bathrooms, a dining room for spaghetti, a living room crafted for discussion, and a patio with a tree full of bats perfectly in view.

Settling is something I generally take great pleasure in; picking out high thread count sheets to eat potato chips on and roll about, stocking the fridge full of cheap champagne and American cheese, finding places to hide my favorite dog-eared books and display disgusting amounts of taxidermy. I take pleasure in the errands, luxuriant naps when I get tired of hanging things, and frequent trips to IKEA (for vases but more so for meatballs). This move, however, has proven to be a very different creature.

Now, the feeling of a home comes in the form of the familiarity of an electrical socket, a can of pizza flavored Pringles, my softest vintage tee that I like to think I only know the feel of, and possibly falsely, the feeling of security one feels in the form of walls.

Since living here, the mention of precaution and safety has made it’s way into conversation countless times. Cambodia is a place where purse snatching, moto theft, and break-ins are remarked upon and/or experienced more than sports games. I’ve slept with a night guard outside my home for the first time in my life and more padlocks adorn the house than I have the patience to count. We reside in a “safe” neighborhood from what everyone tells me and the most noise I’ve heard past seven at night are the fat, healthy cats in heat that traipse along our razor blade fenced wall; I have not yet felt truly, physically, unsafe. On a night out, I still check that my baby can of Mace is on the outside of my purse or if I’m running out the door after dusk for a quick snack I’ll squirrel away my trusty Smith and Wesson pocket knife or slip on a double knuckled pyramid ring, but only because old habits die hard.

The fear that rests on my shoulders more than having my throat slit on a sleazy side street in Southeast Asia is a bit trickier. I wrestle nightly with having left my closest friends back home and the deafening silence between each iMessage being sent and received from Mills or Nikki or Moko or any other individual I adore. And with a fourteen hour time difference a deeper appreciation for my fellow insomniac friends has also increased. This is not to say I wish I were living back home because I truly, honestly don’t miss the United States (yet?). I simply, selfishly, would appreciate everyone I love to be here to do stupid things like take trips to the grocery, lazily kick over mosquito coils and drink martinis on a balmy patio.

It is completely disorienting, mentally, emotionally and even physically, to relocate to a place where you have no real social connections or friends who have seen you past braces (metaphorically, these canines came naturally) and training bras (again metaphorically, I never actually made it out of the training stage). With this, the internal walls I had built around the broken, secret and vulnerable parts of myself were abruptly forced to come down as soon as I stepped onto foreign ground. I would think it would be the opposite, that those psychotic screens and guards would fly up into place as soon as I set down in a strange environment but I was thrown head first into such a fury of complicated relationships between man and country that I simply did not have the time to tread carefully.

Now I face the decision of how high I want to rebuild those walls, and when I do, where to leave the gaps so once in a while someone may get a glimpse into the deepest and strangest parts. Possibly even leave a crack thin enough to fully break through.

Then I get a creeping suspicion that I just may be severely mistaken and incredibly stupid to think that I am the architect of these things.

I’d like to think that’s the case.

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