Yesterday, we held a forum for the 150+ complainants we assisted in filing a complaint, many of whom I worked with in my research last year. In many ways, this forum felt like a good ending to this period in Cambodia. I wrote an email to a friend this morning. It said: They were from all over the country. I've seen their faces during hot days in the provinces, as they stood in their store-fronts, with their babies. I've seen them in torrential downpours and in meeting rooms with officials. I've seen a lot of these women cry.
I won't use this post to try to process how I feel about my departure because I don't think I have it all processed yet. Or, I don't have the mental space or willingness to process it. It will certainly be something I think about this summer, once I can put a lot of my daily work to rest.
I'm also anticipating July 1st and summer adventures, and I am fondly remembering last year's summer adventures in Kazakhstan and western China (Xinjiang province). My heart swells every time I think back to that time.
One of my resolutions this year was to bring back summer vacations, without the adult guilt. Check.
I spoke to my Khmer colleagues about this. "You have a month and a half between jobs?!" one asked. It's a very un-Khmer thing, this holidaying without guilt. My Khmer colleagues don't get it. It's indulgent. Perhaps this isn't too dissimilar to judgments across the world?
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Drawing dressmaking inspiration from the details on these dresses - one more dash to the Cambodian dressmaker.