Friday, December 28, 2012

Dispatch from Cambodia, 3

Mom & Dad on a boat on Tonlé Sap
Over the last month, I’ve spent more time with my parents and with my family than I have in the last few years combined. Eight years have passed since I moved out, which was soon after we returned from our first trip to Cambodia. The last time I went on a family vacation was probably 2005. There always school or work to use as an excuse to cover up my painful inability to reconcile my Khmer and American identities... and my preference to remain at a distance rather than confront our difficulties and find middle ground. 

In writing this, I realized a pattern in my search for middle ground: I do it by myself. Hm. 

I spend copious amounts of time agonizing about what the middle ground looks like and how to fit myself into it-- instead of sharing the process with the people I’m trying to find the middle ground with (though I often share it with the internet). 

Now that I see that, I have to muster the courage to change my behavior accordingly. We'll see how that goes. 

On Wednesday, my parents returned to California. I waved goodbye to them through the glass at the airport along with the sisters, cousins, and other relatives they left behind. It was a strange feeling, being there with those who were staying, riding home with them as things returned to normalcy. 

That's what I want out of this stay in Cambodia: not an adventure, but to have a glimpse of what "normal" feels like here. And to create my own version in the brief time I have. 

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