Friday, June 11, 2010


I only have a few days left in Cambodia. I think I may still be in a bit of denial, but the piles of clothes and gifts, open suitcases, and bare walls in my room are forcing me into a brutal reality.
Don't get me wrong. I am excited to see my family and friends at home. I am looking forward to celebrating my Grandpa's 85th birthday with him. I am looking forward to meeting my nephew who was born in April. I am looking forward to walking barefoot in the grass.
I am sad to say good-bye to a nation and people that I love. I am desperately going to miss my friends here and my life here.
I know that this good-bye is not forever. In fact, it is really only good-bye for a couple months. I am planning to return to Cambodia very soon to continue my work here. The work I will be doing upon my return is in a different capacity and with a different organization, and I could not be more excited about the opportunity God has opened up for me!!!

I am not sure how to articulate the range of emotions I am having right now. So, I would appreciate prayers for an easy transition back to America after having lived in Cambodia, and for all things to fall into place for my return to Cambodia...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

25 Things

As I wind down my time in Cambodia (this time around), I thought I would put together a couple lists for my readers. The first list is 25 things I love about Cambodia and will miss while I am in America. The second list is 25 things I am looking forward to during my visit to America. *Notice I put "visit" to America because I am officially planning to return to Cambodia after 6 weeks or so in America. There will be more on this later!
So, without further ado...

25 Things I LOVE about Cambodia
  1. Friendly Khmer people
  2. Delicious and cheap tropical fruit
  3. Being able to ride a bike nearly everywhere I want to go in Phnom Penh
  4. The Asian pronunciation of my name = “Hedar” (emphasis on the last syllable)
  5. Giggling about anything and everything (because Khmer culture is all about saving face, people giggle when they are uncomfortable with a situation or make a mistake.)
  6. Shopping for pretty much anything in an open market
  7. Not being phased by the appearance of rats or cockroaches (though I do have a new hatred for ants!!!)
  8. Banana Blossom Salad
  9. Talking to the little girl that lives next door who asks me every day, “What is your name? Where do you go?” (That is about all the English she knows.)
  10. Riding on the back of a moto
  11. Mango smoothies
  12. Sunshine every day!
  13. Being able to barter for better price on just about anything
  14. Spending time with beautiful and amazing girls!
  15. Great friends
  16. Free delivery from nearly every restaurant in town
  17. Mangosteens!
  18. Khmer curry & amok
  19. Seeing people spend their whole day in Hello Kitty pajamas
  20. Seeing how long I can hold my breath when crossing over smelly street (ok, maybe that one isn’t really something I enjoy). And, just for reference, “smelly street” has an open sewer that runs along the length of the street.
  21. Being able to scrub my toilet, brush my teeth, and shower all at the same time
  22. Either being barefoot or wearing flip flops 99% of the time
  23. Getting excited about things like discounted cereal at the grocery store. (This is the only way I can afford to buy it. They usually discount it if it is nearing its expiration date or the box is damaged.)
  24. Weaving myself through rush-hour traffic like a pro and crossing streets with confidence that people will just drive around you.
  25. And, did I mention how much I love Khmer people? Because I really, really do!!!!!
And now...

25 Things I am looking forward to in America
  1. Seeing my family
  2. Visiting friends
  3. Traveling faster than 30mph
  4. Being able to drink tap water
  5. Using a clothes dryer
  6. Good Mexican food
  7. Meeting my new nephew and seeing my other one and my nieces!
  8. Running outside on a cool morning (and anything below 85 sounds cool to me!)
  9. Not being in a perpetual state of sweat
  10. Eating berries
  11. Carpet
  12. Baking in a real oven
  13. Being able to walk in grass
  14. Rhubarb!!!!!!
  15. Whole wheat bagels
  16. Dependable electricity
  17. Seeing the stars at night
  18. Actually being comfortable in jeans…and maybe even a hoodie in the evenings!
  19. Being able to wear my hair differently than a low ponytail pulled slightly to the side (I have discovered this is the best style to fit well under a helmet (bicycle or moto) and still stay off my neck as much as possible.)
  20. Not having ants on my countertops, in my cupboards, on my walls, in my shower, etc.
  21. Seeing a normal news show…or any television show, really
  22. Listening to the radio
  23. Actually wanting to take a hot shower AND having a shower with a door (all the bathrooms here are wet baths, which means you have a shower head in your bathroom and the whole bathroom gets wet when you shower)
  24. Playing in the garden (and by saying this, I probably just committed myself to spending weeks pulling weeds, mulching, and picking green beans…)
  25. Cuddling with my kitties and playing with dogs (because I am not concerned about them being rabid!)