So, long time no talk. It’s been awhile since I last updated mostly due to the fact I’ve felt like I haven’t had anything to write about. When people ask why I haven’t updated, that’s the excuse I give, I haven’t done anything exciting. Sitting here today I realized that it’s not that I haven’t done anything exciting recently, it’s that I’ve gotten so used to living here that nothing seems exciting or out of the ordinary to me anymore. I’ve been in county coming up on 16 months now, plenty of time to get adjusted and settled in to a new life. Over that time, I think it’s a little safe to say I may have become a bit jaded. Since my last post, we’ve gotten new group of volunteers here and they’re all done with training and out living at their new homes. When reading their blogs and talking to them I hear about all these wild and crazy stories about things that happen to them and it reminded me of how excited I used to be when I first got here. It’s not that these things still don’t happen to me, it’s just that they are part of my everyday life now and I never feel motivated to write about them anymore cause I mean, who wants to read about boring everyday life? Eating weird stuff, constant stares, being chased by dogs when running, seeing animals being slaughtered, people telling me to take their kids to America with me, it’s all normal to me now. Just the other day for example, I was walking down the street with another volunteer and a woman with some mental issues that lives in my town came up and latched on to me. She was screaming words I couldn’t understand as I was trying to push her off me. Eventually the other volunteer had to physically restrain her while I hurried ahead and inside our destination. Was it weird? Sure. Was I bothered by it or think it out of the ordinary? Not really. And that’s just the thing, a year ago I would have been telling everyone about it, but now I’m like eh, whatever, it happens. It’s crazy to me how quickly a person can get used to new things. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be able to change and adapt so quickly.
Coming into and adapting to a new culture has also made me think more about some of the things I’ve taken for granted; one such example, democracy. Now I’ve never been super political and I’d rather not waste my breath over debates about this and that. The fact is that someone is always going to be in charge and there’s always going to be another group of someone’s who don’t want that other someone to be in charge and I’d rather not get tangled up in it. But that’s the great thing about America, if you get enough people together that really care about making a change, it’s possible. Democracy is a great and powerful thing. I’m not allowed to discuss the politics of Cambodia, per Peace Corps policy, but the man in charge celebrated his 10,000th(!?!) day in office last May so that may tell you something. A quick search of the web can show just what kind of things go on over here. If you haven’t been on Facebook recently you may not know but, there’s an election going on (or rather just ended) as I write this post. What brought me to this great revelation of my under appreciation of democracy you ask? Well I’m sitting here at an organization that I help out at every once and awhile, editing grant proposals that are asking for funding to solve problems such as gender inequality and lack of government accountability while I’m following the election, when it hits me just how lucky I am to live in a country where voices can actually be heard and change can happen. It’s hard to go into detail without discussing the politics of Cambodia, but most people here aren’t even aware of their rights and if they are and they voice them…..let’s just say it’s not the same as in America.
To wrap up, I haven’t written in awhile cause I may have become a little jaded and democracy is good. Go America. Now here’s a photo of my Halloween costume. I’m Waldo, can you find me?