Saturday, June 9, 2012

My last day...

This will be my last post for my Cambodia trip.
I leave tomorrow to meet up with my old college roommate in Thailand to conclude my Asia trip. We will be staying in Bangkok for a few nights then in Phuket and then home!

I am so excited to come home to my family and my wonderful boyfriend. Just typing about them makes me tear up, I miss them terribly and I miss the comfort of home.
Though, I am not excited to come back to western attitudes, just recently I have seen a few American advertisements and it brings me back to the American culture. I feel like people are so self absorbed and I hate that. In Cambodia, it is about serving others, and demonstrating love and care for those around you. In the states, many people solely serve themselves; they do not know the beauty of helping others. Self absorption lingers in every corner of the states. I feel like so many people are superficial and I am dreading arriving at the LAX airport in California. That is not to say everyone is like that, but I know many people are and it deeply saddens me to see people wasting their lives on themselves.

This trip has been so wonderful. I have developed a love for this country and I will miss the little quirks that I have discovered in this side of the world. My last day at the orphanage was beautifully set up. I was showered with kisses and hugs all day. I even had an older boy miss school so he could be with me on my last day. All of the children were anxious to take pictures with me and they fought to hold my hand when we were walking around. One boy that I have become attached to gave me a huge hug and looked me in the eyes and said, “No don’t go”, I wanted to cry, I loved bringing a piece of happiness to these children’s lives. I will miss them so much and I really wish they could end the life of poverty that is set out for them. I had a translator tell all the children how wonderful they are and how important it is to study and follow their dreams. I told them they need to study very hard so they can come visit me in the states. They loved my “advice” and cheered in agreement after I spoke.
As I was leaving, some children blessed me and my travels, others chased my tuk tuk and ran beside the carriage while holding my hand. At this point I really wanted to cry. It has been such a great time and I will never forget these kids.

Yesterday, I went to visit the Toul sleng Genocide Museam (S-21) and I went to the Killing Fields. During this day trip I learned more about the Khmer Rouge regime and the happenings during Pol Pot’s reign. I was so disturbed by everything I saw at S-21, one building in the prison was left untouched and you can see blood stains on the ground and the tiny 5x4 cells that the prisoners were kept in. The stories were utterly devastating and I could not believe this mass genocide happened in the 70’s. Later we went to the Killing Fields and we were able to hear an audio guide in English speak about each station. Human remains still rise from the ground and the happenings at this place made me sick. I don’t even want to repeat the stories. I just pray that the families of these victims find peace through all of the sadness. It was good to experience these two places and I am glad I actually did. I am usually very frightened of crimes including physical harm and so it was difficult for me to accept these things actually happened. But, in order to become a more informed citizen, one must face the realities of the world.

Looking at things now, I am so blessed to be able to travel parts of the world and learn different cultures. I know that this opportunity is not set up for everyone and it is important to recognize the privilege it is to travel.  During this trip, I have learned traits I possess that I never knew I had. The amount of strength I thought I had… was far less than what I actually hold. When facing the world alone, you have to buck up, get over your sadness and find a reason for yourself. From this trip, I have learned different ways of viewing the world and found ways of incorporating different perspectives into life. I am more set in who I am and I have adapted to trusting my being and my conscious. I also now appreciate my country and the freedom that I have. I love the U.S…I really can’t deny that, the freedoms I am given are tremendous compared to others.
 I love the people in Cambodia. I will really miss the friends I have made here. My Cambodian friends want to come to the U.S so badly, they want to see North America and some even want to move there. I wish to see them again someday.

 I was told this country is truly a special place…and it really is.
It is an absolutely wonderful place and I hope to return someday.

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