After spending 3 weeks in Cambodia, the ride from the hostel to the airport was a whirlwind of emotions. Time has flown by, but my feelings during this ride on the first night I arrived compared to now have completely changed. I not only see the town differently- now knowing my surroundings, waving hello to the people and pointing out my favorite shops, but I also have a completely different perspective on the country, life, and myself.
This trip has opened my eyes to so many new things. It has shown me the joy of meeting new people and learning about a new culture, language and trying different things. It had made me a better person and helped me grow and appreciate what I have and made me want to give more. I have learned that less is more and the way the people of Cambodia live is something we should practice more in America. They enjoy life and are never wasteful. They are always willing to talk and say hello, and are a bright and amazing group of people.
On my ride from the airport through Siem Reap on the first night I looked up at the sky and appreciated the beautiful landscape and new experiences to come, but on my ride to the airport after 3 weeks of living here, I looked up at the sky and appreciated all the new people I have met, the stories we’ve shared and bridges we have built.
I remembered seeing all the bug lamps light up the night sky, naked babies running all over, the free-for-all traffic, and the smiles from every Cambodian I passed. Most importantly, I reflected on all the children I have met and taught and who have taught me.
As I left the orphanage on the last day, one of the girls begged me to never forget her, and I laughed. She asked why I would laugh at something like that, and I told her because forgetting her would be like forgetting my name. She, and all the other orphans, children, teachers and various people I met, are forever etched into my mind and printed onto my heart.
They have given me so many life-changing experiences and filled me with more joy than I could have ever imagined. I will forever remember these things and cherish them forever and hope to return before anyone can be missed too much.