Being at the airport also did another thing: It snapped me into focus, like a slap across the face. I am moving to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Writing it out helps.) Friends and colleagues often ask if I am not scared, and, when they do, I sometimes wonder if they think I've been imbued with some magical strength that makes me impervious. Of course, I am scared. I am scared of living in a country where I know not a soul (except for the other international and local lawyers who I met briefly in December); where I expect to stumble as I navigate the language, the culture, and the legal system; where the likelihood is high that I will contract worms and/or some other ailment that makes my skin crawl at the very thought; where any Western glorification of human rights lawyering will probably dissolve into a darker reality; and where I will learn about all these things and more, in painstaking detail, alone. (Writing it out does not help.)
And yet, the potential gain from this rare opportunity weighs on me more heavily than the growing list of warnings, eclipsing everything. I've wanted, for a long time, to explore law, legal systems, or the lack thereof abroad, but I swallowed whole the idea that such experiences were saved for later times in life, that such were luxuries you allowed yourself only after you had worked at the billable system for 20-30 years, only after . . .
So, what happens when you deviate, when you voyage out? This year and this move, to begin with, are my experiment. Now, if only I would focus. Hopefully, this picture of Bagan will help.
And, on that note, I'm off to cut my street urchin locks and to grab lunch with Cherlou.