February 18, 2009

February 18, 2009 at 2:31 pm 3 comments

I saw the date on my cell phone.

Three months have passed since I last thought about dates so acutely. When I was traveling I paid very close attention to dates. I remember the day of each arrival to every country: Aug 22 Thailand, Sept 21 Laos, Oct 20 Vietnam, Nov 11 Cambodia. I remember the first full moon I saw on Sept 14. I was in Pai. And the second full moon on Oct 13. I was on the island of Don Det of the 4 thousand islands in Laos. It was very dark on the island at night and my guest house was several kilometers away from the bars. I was very grateful that the full moon coincided with my second night because it gave off enough light for me to find my way home as I rode alone on a bicycle with the Mekong and Cambodia to my left and rice fields and sleeping buffalo to my right. And the next full moon, on Nov 12, my birthday in Phnom Penh. But I don’t remember the full moons of December, January or February.

The past 3 months are quickly turning into a blur. I’ve been stagnant. When I traveled, every day was special because I thought that I may never return to this place again during my trip. I wanted to witness something unique in each place, maximize the quality of my visit, and doing this I could never forget the calendar. Every day was different and I used dates to label each day.

Have a look at the pictures I’ve taken throughout the past 3 months. They are boring. There are still times when I see an interesting view or character but I am too languid to take out my camera.

I vividly recall mid Nov… going to Siem Reap and getting the email from Pheap, the volunteer coordinator for the school where I volunteer, telling me that a volunteer has dropped out and offering me an opportunity to join the program on Nov 26. I felt so uncertain about this decision. I talked about it to everyone who’d listen. Was it worth it? I want to say yes, and maybe the answer is yes, but I also feel like 3 months of my life has been excised from me.

The feeling is familiar because I’ve felt it most of my life. From second grade on (when I started school in America) every day was the same. There was nothing to look forward to besides repetition and before I realized it, I was an adult living in my own apartment in Spanish Harlem. There’s something deadening about repetition. Even our brain cannot maintain superior function under repetition. Our brain would stop perceiving most images had our eyes not evolved a mechanism for deceiving it by vibrating slightly and sending new signals requiring the brain to process these signals as if they brought something new. The consciousness process is similar. I am excited about hopping on…

Sending love to my mother and Kot. Thank you for taking care of him. Does anyone know anything about kitty hemorrhoids? I want him to be healthy. I think of him every time I see cats here. I’m fairly sure that even when I am an 80 year old cat lady, I’ll still think of him. The most poignant moments of my teenage life were spent beside him. I love him… and I hope his little rectum gets better.


Entry filed under: travel. Tags: , , , , , .

one more week of teaching Conversations with Foreigners

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Molly  |  February 21, 2009 at 8:15 am

    That’s what I was wondering about you when I asked you “Do you think that wlll happen to you everywhere?”
    I wish I could say that it is disciplin that teaches one to keep a fresh look on things.
    I still believe it is.
    But I grow tired of people’s same old excuses, and the color of the walls.
    I guess that’s why I randomly reorganized furniture in my apartment.

  • 2. Yelena Shuster  |  February 21, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    i hear that often “do you think location matters”

    i think yes and no

    different environments provide different outlets towards different experiences. i mean, to say that we’ll be the same individual regardless of location is to deny how much our environment influences us. but environment is a complicated matter, among a ton of other things, it includes the socio-economic-political-cultural something of a location, and it’s these differences from place A to place B that give an individual an opportunity to stimulate/use/hold back parts of himself. we have potential, but potential is meaningless without an environment conducive to letting it bloom. i mean, most people don’t even realize the nature of their potential until they stumble by chance upon an environment that provides an outlet for this potential to develop…

    i guess this is why i am traveling, to develop my potential whatever it is.

  • 3. dina  |  February 22, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Your cat is fine. Much better than I am :)


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