Tuesday, May 8, 2012


This was over two years ago??  Since then, some of my dearest friends in Portland have moved, switched careers from law to medicine, been hitched - and one of these lovely ladies will soon be a mother.  Today- by her doctor's count!  This is another marker of time.

Time is passing quickly.  In some ways, I do not recognize this picture of a pre-Cambodia me devouring clotted cream and lemon curd with utter abandon.  (I paused briefly  to take the picture.)  This picture brings me back to my expectations at the time in my life, what I considered acceptable and unacceptable, where I thought I would settle, etc.  In my two years in Cambodia, I pretty much took all those things and tossed them up in the air.  (I didn't throw them away, but I suspended the need to define everything now, in the most rigid and steadfast terms.)  Life has changed drastically since that day spent in the Portland-suburb tea shop and along with it, I have changed in ways I could not have imagined.  It's a strange sense of freedom and openness that is both wonderful and scary, light and weighty.

I'm aware that my time in Phnom Penh is winding down.  The meetings and receptions in Manila were, in many ways, a culmination of the work I've put into this project/case/research in the past two years.  In Manila, I was also fortunate to meet other lawyers, researchers, and advocates working on similar issues from Kyrgyz Republic to Mongolia to Sri Lanka to the United States to the Netherlands.  We are a small group of people. 

Finally, the meetings drove home the fact that this case - and this work - will go on for years and years to come.  It's important to take breaks.

I am looking forward to my break in Indonesia and India, to a summer of being a plane, ferry, and train passenger to and through countries I have never been.  I'm looking forward to glimpsing the  majestic Himalayas with my own eyes  and breathing in the crisp mountain air.  I am looking forward to sipping a hot cup of Darjeeling tea in  the hillside town of Darjeeling and to rummaging through markets in Indonesia filled with batik textiles.  I am looking forward to walking the cobblestone streets of Ubud.  And even though my heart is heavy with the thought of leaving this work for now (an opportunity to work in Manila has presented itself and I am passing), I am excited about starting our life in Bangkok, Thailand.

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