Thursday, April 24, 2014

10 things I have learned during my time in Cambodia

Today was the start of my final 30 days in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Over the last 24 hours, my feelings have been jumping between excitement, fear, and nostalgia. I started to think about what I would say if someone asked what I learned during this experience.
  1. Value your freedom. We are so lucky to live in a country with basic human rights (well almost all of them). It is very easy to criticize our system but at least we have one. What about those who have no voice? Think about how they live.
  2. Our passport is an asset. We get treated differently because of it. I have seen so many friends get extra scrutiny at the airport simply because their passport is from an unfamiliar country. 
  3. Just do it. It sounds simple but it really is that simple. There are so many people in my life trying to figure out what to do next and which idea to choose but the reality is you wont really know until you try. And it really isn't that scary after you take the first step.
  4. The little things we complain about on a day to day basis seem so trivial when people around us are just trying to survive. 
  5. Access to information is a luxury that many don't enjoy.
  6. Surround yourself with people that inspire you. It is so important. It is easy to get depressed during this process but the people around me made all the difference.
  7. Optimism is healthy. The work I do is challenging and the impact is questionable at times but the small wins are just as important as the big ones.
  8. I am not going to miss my bathroom! Everything is in one space and whenever I take a shower, the entire bathroom floods and it is really annoying to use it afterwards. 
  9. Never say there is nothing to do, no matter where you live. There is always something to do. I am finding myself discovering new things even this late in my stay. 
  10. This is a really tough experience. If you do it right, you challenge yourself and really get to know your limits. You grow and have to be honest with yourself. It is life changing.
There is no way I can describe my experience in one sentence but if you want to hear stories, I am more than happy to share :)

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