Monday, October 10, 2011

Sixteen Weeks Have Changed My Life

Well, upon looking at my calendar, I realize that we’ve been in Cambodia for 16 weeks.  That’s 112 days, or 2688 hours since we left all THIS:

And boarded a plane with only THIS:

Well, except for the truck.  And with this, too:

Do I miss it?  Actually, surprisingly, refreshingly, NO!  I don’t.  I mean, I miss my friends, my church, my family, my favorite Mexican restaurants, and a few other things, but my stuff?  Nope.  And the boys haven’t asked for any of their toys that were left behind.  Not once.  I mean, as long as they have their little Superheroes, any other toy is useless anyway. 

But while thinking about that, I also thought of several things I used to do every week (or every day) that I haven’t done a single time since June 24th.

For example, I haven’t driven a car since I came to Cambodia.  Remember when we sold the minivan? I was so sad, but I don’t miss it now.  Well, ok, sometimes I do.  It was a great car, but I’d be terrified of killing someone with it here. One friend described driving a car through Phnom Penh as being a giant slow moving turtle surrounded by a swarm of fast moving ants (the motos).  Not sure I’d like that.  Still, I wonder if I’ll be able to drive again when I get back?  It’s funny that they let you keep a driver’s license when there’s no way to know if you practiced at all!

And if I had a car, my first stop might be Starbucks.... If I missed it!  But I don’t!  In fact, I’ll likely find it way overpriced and not very good when we get back because here you can get coffee for under a dollar and they put yummy sweetened condensed milk in it and it’s just OH SO GOOD!  I make it at home most days, which is way more than I can say about when I lived in America!  Does anyone know a way I can block that statement from my husband when he reads this?  Hi, Stephen!  Yep, I used to buy a lot of coffee at Starbucks.  More than you ever knew.  I’m sorry I spent hundreds (thousands?)  of your hard earned dollars on coffee! 

I haven’t used a crockpot in that many days, either.  I mean, not that I used it that often before, but knowing it was an option was invaluable.  And now my friends are posting recipes of all these great hearty fall foods and I can just salivate on my keyboard as I try to figure out how to make slow cooked foods taste just as good if I cook them fast. 

But not too fast.  I can’t!  I don’t have a microwave, either.  I really thought I’d miss this, but I’m getting used to heating leftovers on the stove.  I can even make popcorn the old fashioned way.  Ha!  So what else would I need a microwave for?

At least they do sell those things here if I ever got desperate.  But I’d have to really want it because I’d spend hundreds on a microwave and over $60 on a crockpot and both would cost me a small fortune in electricity. 

There are so many more things I haven’t done in 16+ weeks.

Like use a dryer.  Or a dishwasher.  Nope.  I can wash clothes but they have to hang to dry and then be ironed.  I have to wash dishes in the sink.  Every. Single. Meal.  And not even with hot water!  I use it when I can but that requires boiling it on the stove because there is no hot water connected to the sink.  Each bathroom has a water heater that you have to turn on and let run for about 10-15 minutes before you can get hot water!  They don’t have those in the sink. 

And I used to take a hot bath every day.  Sometimes twice.  Again, honey, sorry about wasting money!  But not here.  Even if I wanted to, which would mean I’m nuts, because it feels like 90+ degrees everyday,  that little tiny heater would never get warm enough to provide a hot, steamy, bubbly bath.  Cold showers it is!

I do miss being able to buy all my groceries at one store and only shop once every week or two.  Here we have big stores, but it’s funny because they all have unique items that others don’t have.  One has more meat and cheese, another has the baking supplies, another has the good cereals and milks.  I have to make several stops to get it all.  And that doesn’t even include the fruits and veggies we buy at the market.  Oh, its exhausting just typing it!

I miss normal iced tea, instead of the jasmine, or English, or green that they have here.  I just want normal iced tea!

I don’t really miss being able to check email on my phone.  Don’t get me wrong, they have phones that do that here, but we are using money wisely and a $250+ iPhone isn’t something that we need right now.  So, I just check it when I get home.  And it’s always fun to see several unread messages when I turn on the computer.

I don’t miss my stuff.  Nope.    I have Jesus.  I have my family.  And we have more food and shelter than almost any Cambodian family.   For that I am grateful.  

What is something you think you could not live without? 
 Try going without it for a week.  

You might find yourself relieved that the burden has been lifted after all!

I'd love to hear about your experiences.

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