It took me so long to feel a part of it here, that now going home is just a week away I’m really starting to feel, well, sad.
It’s so strange, wanting to go home and not wanting to leave at the same time. Every time I see a cow in the middle of the road, of a child clinging on to the back of a motorbike, I can’t help but think about the everyday images that I’m going to miss. Going outside and looking at the palm trees, riding on the motorbike and going for dinner with friends. The ex-pat community is so small here, and everyone is so accepting – there’s no pretense, and we’re in it together.
At work, I’ve found some projects I really love, they stretch my job description a bit, but as I tramp about in half a foot of mud up in Tmar Puok, I suddenly realise what my expectation and image of working in Cambodia was. Part of me really can’t help but feel bad that I’m leaving, there is still stuff to do and everyone that has become a part of my Cambodia will carry on without me. They will moan about about 3.30am wake-up calls, cockerels and cows without me. Is this the point at which someone throws in their Western life and stays? Or do you say ‘thank you very much, have a nice life’and waltz off home?
I don’t know. I very much want to go home. I picture living a life with my boyfriend, being cosy, going camping, wearing nice clothes and (heaven forbid) showing a shoulder without feeling weird about it. I want to see my family, torture my little brother, go out with my friends and tell everyone about it. I want to take my first piping hot bath in 365 days. I would like to get a good job, go to ASDA and go to the cinema (also for the first time in 365 days). I want to be able to understand the world around me, not worry about mice, mosquitoes or malaria. I would like, very much, to feel clean.
But I am really going to miss Cambodia and a very real part of me would like to stay. Perhaps that means it’s the perfect time to leave, but it kind of feels like I’m about to miss the end of the story.