Oh, this life I lead

 

Battambang, Cambodia
September 26, 2012

 

"Sometimes - like the moment I realized I was zipping through a foreign city on the back of a moto-taxi dodging cars, bikes and other motos, trying to direct my way around not knowing the language, or where to go, caught up in the delicious smells and incredible architecture - I can't believe this is truly my life..."

 

Everything is new here. And I am completely in love. I've only been here two day, but I've already decided that driving in Cambodia is one of my favorite parts; while there are lines on some of the roads no one pays them any heed. What an experience it is zipping along - near collisions every other minuet - my senses assaulted by the smells of roasting meat and blaring horns. Seriously, though, I can probably count the times I've ridden on the correct side of the road on one hand.  While moto's are enjoyable I've taken to weaving in and out of traffic on my trusty (and somewhat unsightly) bicycle who the team has named Captain Swag. On the left is the market Phsar Nat, and everyone is busy at work buying, selling and bargaining. Patient Tuk Tuk Drivers line the road before the market. They spend the day waiting in their padded chariots for anyone who might need a ride. Up ahead a cart being pulled by cattle, with a couple of dusty Khmer men in the back, create an obstacle for the rest of us who are just trying to navigate the city without disaster.Back on base classes are beginning at the Youth Center. Each person on the team I've brought has taken up teaching a different level of English, but only after a delicious lunch of some sort of hearty veggie soup over rice.The evenings here remind me of the middle east. Families gather in front of their shops, setting up makeshift tables and sharing a meal together.   Pot holes, laundry, trash and noise fill the side streets – along with hole in the wall grade A dining that only the locals can point you to. Chaos and Beauty marks this place and I find myself at ease. I find myself so inspired and filled with life by the torrent of heavy rain that, like clock work, dumps from above causing people to run for cover and the streets to flood within minuets. I've experienced nothing like it; riding The Stag (yet another nickname for my bike) back to base, the streets void of life, peddling through the gathering swamp, soaked to the core. It’s in these moments, with the dry eyes of the shop owners on me as I peddle as fast as I can, that I realize how blessed I truly am. Behind every face there is a story. Behind every orange smock that marks a monk, there is a life. Behind every English class there is a sea of interested faces with a past, present and future. Behind every hungry bible student there is a leader and a world changer. Behind every cafe staff I train there is a servant, but too there is a need to be served. Today, I hung out with a beautiful and creative soul and through our time I found in myself a desire to start working with ceramics again. I love everything about ceramics, but especially the concept of creating and molding something formless into something beautiful. It feels like the meaning and purpose of life if taken to a grander scale. I have been given the privilege of helping mold people, but I also have an opportunity to teach them what it looks like to paint their world in color. To breathe vitality into their stories - even while going through the refining process that is life in all of it's obstacles.

 

This place is beautiful. Magical even.
This is Cambodia.