“I am NOT ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”

 

When my first boyfriend ever broke up with me (over the phone, on a school night, while I tried to hold back the tears), he gave me a list of reasons why. Among them: “You are immature, sarcastic, and fickle.”

I spent a good chunk of the next few years being haunted by his words, and doing my best to change. I wasn’t successful. A decade or so later, I told Rand about it.

“Um, yes,” he said, as though nothing could be more obvious. “Yes, you are. And those things make you awesome. That guy was an idiot.”

There are times when I am entirely comfortable with who I am. There are other times when I am not. Usually, it’s something I can ignore. But every now and then something happens that makes me take a long, hard look at myself. It’s excruciating. And also sort of wonderful.

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My cottage, hidden by the trees.

 

I worry way too much about what other people think.

I see the look of skepticism on your brow, and it’s understandable. Most of my actions, eating habits, and every single outfit I’ve ever worn beg to differ. My behaviors are not those of a woman who is overly concerned with the opinions of others. I spend most of my waking hours forgetting that there are other people on the planet. I recently freaked out because I was hanging out with a friend and she was looking at me kind of curiously and I could not for the life of me figure out if it was because I’d just brazenly picked my nose or something.

I hadn’t, but the fact that it was a distinct possibility suggests that I don’t give a rat’s ass about what other people think.

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Spoiler: We eat spiders. If you do not want to see photos of this, then you may want to read another post. (May I suggest this one? It’s about the best cupcakes I’ve ever had. It’s totally safe and spider-free.)

The outdoor patio at Romdeng.

 

On our last night in Phnom Penh, we had dinner at Romdeng. Nicci had read wonderful things about it. It was a training restaurant, part of Friends International, an organization that provides assistance to marginalized children and their families throughout Asia. The bulk of the staff at Romdeng are former street kids (along with a few of their instructors).

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In transit.

I’m sitting here in a chilly, air-conditioned San Diego hotel room, thinking about home. I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to get back there. In two days, I’m supposed to fly to Seattle out of Los Angeles. I have made exactly zero plans to get to Los Angeles in order to catch said flight. Changing my ticket to depart out of San Diego is, for the time being, prohibitively expensive.

Consequently, home feels very far away. And it will just have to remain so, I guess.

In the meantime, I find my thoughts wandering back to Asia. During that trip, home didn’t simply feel distant – it felt like another planet. Like no amount of flying would get me there. There were days when this bothered me, and days when I didn’t mind so much.

One hazy day, towards the end of our time in Cambodia, we visited a floating village. We passed by schools and stores, and yes, homes, bobbing up and down on the water. At that moment, more than any other, I missed Rand.

I wanted to dive into the water, and pull myself out on my doorstep. (more…)