I have a bit of story telling to do, so be patient. Actually, this entire thing is going to be a story. So I have a lot of story telling to do. This story is not going to be like a lot of my other blog posts because it will display my feelings about what I saw and before I came to Cambodia, but in detail. In other blog posts I would have said, “It was amazing!” or, “I was sad.” Another reason for doing this type of blog post, is so that I can remember parts of the past that I wouldn't have thought of in my normal train of thought. In this story, I will be going into more detail to make a better blog post. Its an experiment, of sorts.
It all began in Mr. Baranson’s geography class. We were doing our Southeast Asia unit, and we were reading the history section of the chapter. There was this little paragraph about the Khmer Empire and Angkor Wat. Mr. Baranson read it in a way that made it sound way more amazing that it actually would have been if I read it on my own. He emphasized the worth of the temples and how amazing they were. That is why I remember reading about it. Now that I think about it, he was the only social studies teacher that I have ever had that made me genuinely enjoy social studies. It was probably because of the map making and labeling that I became obsessed with maps, countries, capitals, and flags.
A Quick Back Story
I think that this whole obsession started back in Ireland. I was sitting in my bed relaxing, and I was browsing the web. I came across a quiz site, which was well known for its “Countries of the World”, “Capitals of the World”, and other country related quizzes. I tried one out, and I sucked pretty bad, but I loved doing it. Anyway, what better way to learn geography than traveling the world? I kept doing them whenever I had free time and WiFi. I went from knowing a couple country locations and names, to getting a high score of 191/196 countries of the world. I was insanely proud of myself.
However, I thought for about a month or so, and the thought comes back occasionally, that this was all I was good for. I felt like I sucked at everything from math to Spanish to sports. My dad came to the rescue though and said that I should keep doing the geography if that's what I found interesting and he told me that I was already better than most adults when it comes to geography. I felt better, and went back to taking quizzes. I thought, “If this is really all I am good at, than I better make it the best it could possibly be, and then better.
So anyway, back to the Actual Story. I was insanely excited for Cambodia. I thought that this would be the most foreign to me. That probably sounds way weird. When you travel the world for a long period of time without coming home, going into foreign countries seems normal and not very surprising. For example, I wasn’t like, “OH MY FREAKING GOD I AM IN GERMANY OH MY GOD!” I felt like I should have been similar to that because one year earlier that would have been my reaction.
Another Back Story (It is Shorter)
Back in November of 2014, my dad was taking his longest business trip ever. He was gone for a month straight, and we hated it. About a week into his absence, a woman came into my English class and gave me a paper that said I would be absent for five days. I was puzzled. We weren’t going anywhere! I had to get it signed by all my teachers anyway. I did, and when I got home I asked my mom about it. She was really mad. She said that she had notified the school not to tell me anything about it. I asked where we were going. She said, “Spain.” I flipped out. I ran around and jumped up and down.
The fact that I didn’t feel that way when entering almost every place we’ve been confused me. Why wasn’t I excited? I mean, I was almost shaking with excitement when we started the trip and flew to Turkey. What was wrong with me this time? Thankfully, this all changed when we arrived in Cambodia. I had seen the capital city Phnom Penh in the show, “Bizarre Foods” and from then on, whenever someone said Cambodia, I thought of Balut (a half formed duck fetus that has been boiled).
When we came in, I couldn’t even imagine living here. The people I saw lived in small houses made of wood and fabric and metal (occasionally concrete), they had ill-fitting clothes, and they were dirty, but they looked so happy and pleased with themselves. The kids played and shrieked and laughed. It was both a happy and sad at the same time. The kids I saw waved and said, “HelloGoodbye! HelloGoodbye!” It was adorable. It was also sad because they didn’t really have any toys. Sure, they had beat up dolls or toy boats made of wood probably at some point. The only toy I saw was a kite. Other than that they chased each other or tackled each other or played a large game of catch with a ball.
I feel like it is hard to sum something up when you know there is a part two.
TO BE CONTINUED...