Saturday, September 20, 2014


One aspect of my "Cambodia Normal"

Near the beginning of my six month home assignment I had sort of a surreal experience. Having flown in to the Twin Cities from California the night before, I was standing in my sister, Suzanne's kitchen, sipping my coffee while looking out the window. I had this sudden "deja vu" kind of moment where it felt as if I had never even been in Cambodia, as if the past two years had just been a dream. I had lived with Suzanne's family for the two years prior to my leaving for Cambodia, and the experience of sipping coffee next to their kitchen window as I prepared for the day felt so familiar. That may not seem strange, but it did to me because I had spent the last two years adapting to a completely new normal. It's hard to explain how weird it felt to slip so easily back into a Minnesota morning after two years of doing life in Cambodia. Well, last week I was happily surprised when I experienced the same phenomenon on this side of the world! I had flown in to Phnom Penh very late at night, so I decided, rather than having to disturb multiple people at that late hour to get into my apartment, I would stay at a hotel. The next morning I checked out and hired a tuk tuk to take me to my place. And as I was traveling down the streets of Phnom Penh, there it was....that sudden feeling that this was so totally normal. Once again it felt, in a way, as if I had never left. What had once been so "foreign" was now something I could slip back into with relative ease, almost as easily as I had slipped back into American life. Please know, I still need your prayers in a big way. There are still aspects of transitioning from one world to another that are hard, particularly missing the people I care about who are no longer with me when I leave one place for the other. I'm only two weeks in and I'm already struggling at times with loneliness. Also, I still have a lot to learn about Cambodia and am still very susceptible to all kinds of culture stress. But, it was just encouraging to recognize God's grace enabling me to slip from one kind of "normal" to another without feeling like I had lost too much ground. It was refreshing to realize that it has, in a sense, become home to me and that going from one home to another doesn't require starting over completely, no matter which direction I'm going. Thank God for that!