Friday, December 7, 2012

Dispatch from Cambodia, 1

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
From Soriya Mall
I'm sitting in my uncle's pleasantly air-conditioned and WiFi'd house in Phnom Penh. I'll be here until tomorrow, when I return to my aunt's house across town, which I affectionately call the Mosquito Farm. I haven't been as itchy since I've been out of the 90-degree heat. According to my aunt-in-law, Phnom Penh is unusually warm right now-- she's usually able to wear long-sleeved shirts at this time of year. Since I'll be here until late February, I'm hoping to experience some of that weather before I leave. 

So far I've traveled with my family to Battambang, Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, Pailin, Bokor National Park, Sihanoukville, Kep, Kampot. There's been a lot of time sitting in a van, crossing the country on roads of varying quality. 

I have a strong attachment to Cambodia, but this trip has made me even more aware that I'm a Khmer American. Being able to speak passable Khmer and slowly learning the alphabet don't change the fact that I feel... different. At this point, it's probably smart to just accept that difference rather than keep worrying over it or fighting it or trying to fit somewhere. 

In college, I wrote a poem calling myself a "second-generation mess." I'm starting to let go of it, and of the insecurity that made me call myself that, but I still have a strong feeling of being adrift, belonging nowhere. Then again, that's also the intention I set for myself, because I want to be everywhere. Emotionally, it's not as easy as it used to be, or maybe just not as easy as I once thought it would be. But I'm here, being.

One day at Angkor Wat really wasn't enough. Hope to head back for a longer stay.

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