Friday, May 20, 2011

double life

Sometimes I feel like I have two completely separate lives--my American life and my Cambodian life.
In my American life I have family and friends. I have hobbies. I have things that I like to do and have had a myriad of experiences. I love to wear jeans and flip flops, to drive with the windows down and sing with the radio, to bake and create new things in the kitchen, to curl up with a good book. In America I look forward to summertime with fresh strawberries and sweet corn, long days full of sunshine, morning runs down quiet streets. I look forward to bonfires and hoodies in autumn. I suffer through the winter months drinking as much hot tea and hot chocolate as possible. I look forward to time with family at Thanksgiving and Christmas devouring green bean casserole and scalloped potatoes and pumpkin pie. I look forward to spring and the green buds on the trees, the first daffodils and tulips.
In my Cambodian life I have "family" and friends. I have things that I like to do and have had a myriad of experiences here, too. I love sitting on the floor and sharing food with people. I love leaving my shoes at the door before going into someone's house (including my own). I love buying mangoes and pomelos along the street. I love weaving through the organized chaos on my moto, but I don't love having helmet hair every day of my life. The seasons are different here. I look forward to the season of delicious mangoes and lychee and mangosteen and papaya, but I don't enjoy the perpetual state of sweat that accompanies it. I look forward to the relief that comes with rain, the thunder and the sound of rain on tin roofs as I go to sleep at night. I look forward to the "cool" season when I might actually be tempted to put on a hoodie and drink some hot chocolate.
The thing that is interesting to me in all of this is that my lives often seem so very separate. My roommate and I had a conversation about things we used to do/wear in America, and it was really funny because they were things we definitely would not have guessed about the other because we live differently here. We have helmet hair here, not real hairstyles. We wear clothes that hide sweat here, not trendy clothes. We wear flip flops pretty much every day, not cute flats or fashionable boots. We lack hobbies because we are either too busy to do things or it is too hard to find materials to do them or takes too much effort (or finances) to do it. The people we love here and spend our time with have never met, and in some cases barely speak the same language as, the people we love and would spend time with in America.
Sometimes I love my double life. I love knowing that I have friends on both sides of the world, but the problem with that lies in that there is always someone to miss. And, there are very few people, if any, who understand that it isn't really a double life but two completely different sides of the same life...and that is difficult to explain or understand...
Regardless, I am so blessed and so thankful for my life, for all its uniqueness, for all its facets, for all the opportunities to share with so many wonderful people of all nations and colors and languages...


  1. Heather...I think about this all the time for you! What little bit I can understand from my own experiences anyway... I pray for God to help you and anoint you to live this whole life He has called you to. Ten days of it absolutely drains me in every way. Sometimes I just can't fathom how you do it everyday, but it propels me to pray for you much. Clearly, God's anointing is upon you. His strength is made perfect in any area you are weak. Thank you for continuing to share these glimpses with us. I know it's even a duty to fit in "writing" time. Maybe it's a bit therapeutic for you? :) If listening is one thing I can do, I am happy to do it. Hugs my precious friend

  2. Even though my situation isn't as extreme as yours, I can understand the double life because I often feel the same way. I have family, friends and things I enjoy doing in the US that I can't do here, but the same is true here. I miss the changes in weather, but I don't miss the extreme cold. I get to go back to the US and see people much more often, but I can totally relate to missing people in the "home" you are away from.