A few nights ago, I dreamt about Cambodia. In the dream, it was my last day working at Green International School, and I was spending it with my kids and coworkers. Then, I was struck with a sense of panic: I did not, could not, leave, I was not ready to move home. Dream-me planned to immediately cancel my flight, apologize to my parents, and stay. I woke up, feeling panicked and teary, only to realize a few moments later than I am home. And I’m (mostly) happy about it.
But some days (today, my dream day, and many others,) I miss it like crazy. I miss my students, and teaching in general. I miss watching them learn and improve. The little things, like a student writing “cat” on their own, or drawing a picture of a flower complete with seeds, roots and a bumblebee for pollination was incredibly fulfilling, and I feel like here, I am not yet living up to my full potential, or doing what I’m meant to do.
I will go back. And most likely, I will teach again – in Cambodia, the US or elsewhere in the world.
But for now, I’m trying to do what I can from home. I’m working at Strand bookstore in New York City while I find a job in non-profit (which I will succeed in doing, in spite of what people have to say about nonprofit and the job market.) I am also working with my mom on an exciting project: as a way of maintaining connections with CCPCR (the organization that runs a shelter for child trafficking survivors), my mother and I are selling some handmade Cambodian products and selling them in person, in shops like Dem 2 Hands (Montclair, NJ) and now, online, too.
We have just opened a shop for these gorgeous silk necklaces on etsy, which you can find at https://www.etsy.com/listing/159192891/beautiful-silk-bead-necklaces-handmade . The necklaces were made by women with disabilities and diseases, trained by a fair-trade store to make silk goods and support themselves, and their families, financially. I invite you to access the site, and buy one (or two, or three!) for yourself or as gifts. We’re hoping to develop a Western market here for various Cambodian-made silk goods, and this is our first step.
A HUGE thanks to everyone who has helped support ECPAT Cambodia and CCPCR, by donating online, purchasing prosperity hens and attending the event at Yogadishu in Montclair. Child sex trafficking is a cause is so close to my heart, and I’m going to do my damn best to continue to spread compassion and knowledge back here at home.
Love, as always,