Phnom Penh in film (& a few life lessons).

My favorite images from my time in Cambodia are those that I took in film. Some of the photo quality is lost due to my inferior scanner, but the meaning is still there.

I look at these photos now and I can almost feel them. The humidity that dehydrates you in an instant – the congested, alive streets – the contrast between the wealthy and the destitute – the beauty and the harshness of life.

It’s all there, so vivid to me that I can sense it.

My daily bicycle route to work led me past S-21, the notorious Genocide Museum, a remnant of the Khmer Rouge period. I had a strong reaction to this place, and passing by it each day reminded me of why I chose to accept the challenge of volunteering and living in Cambodia.

I haven’t begun to be able to articulate the way this trip affected me. I know that the past 4 months have been an evolution. I’ve grown, I’ve learned to be by myself, I’ve learned to accept my circumstances, I’ve learned that I am incredibly blessed, I’ve learned that I am my own worst enemy, I’ve learned that progress takes focus and acceptance, and I’ve learned not to panic…amongst many other things.

More than anything I have learned that I’m right where I need to be.

No matter how much I convince myself on a daily basis that I need to try harder, I need to be better, I need to accomplish something more – I am presently right where I’m supposed to be. And if I can pause for a second and be ok with that, I’ll have a whole lot more to learn about myself and it won’t take traveling to a foreign country to figure it out.


2 thoughts on “Phnom Penh in film (& a few life lessons).

  1. Hey Candace,

    I really liked this post. I feel like I’m going through a similar situation right now, in which I am trying to learn how to be comfortable with this phase of my life. I no longer have the identity of being a student but I am not currently working either.

    Being a driven person naturally lends itself to feeling as though I need to be doing more right now. I need to meet these savings goals, or these career goals. I’ve been feeling that this break between jobs has been particularly hard for that reason alone. It’s only now as summer is winding down that I’m realizing I’m right where I need to be, even if it’s not exactly how i pictured it.

  2. Ashley,
    I’m glad I could provide some insight. I’ve been searching for a specific type of job for about two years now based on some notion that I created a long time ago of what I thought my life should look like at this point. It’s only been recently that I’ve done some serious soul searching and started to realize that things don’t always go as planned and learning that I need to remain open to possibilities that I may have never considered with my “degree-related job search” blinders on. Lately I’ve been joking with my family that I’m just going to join the circus – but in all honesty I feel that I had to grow through this really tough transition in order to get to the point where I’m questioning what kind of life/career will truly give me purpose. The more I question the more I discover.

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