Mastodon Michael Perry

June 1 and six months

Wow. We have been doing the 5am thing for six months now. I’ve been with Alin for 7 months. Going on forever. She just left with her friend to go shopping for food. Tonight it gives chicken fried rice with spicy chili sauce. Easy dinner for everyone. Now I can go walking.

I happened to remember this piece written by Derek Sivers on journaling back in 2019. I never really did the two journals he mentions. Those are:

  1. Daily journal in clear text. I messed before with different solutions but came away either not wanting one or feeling jaded with things. I still have conflicting thoughts on the daily thing but easiest way is a markdown file. Making allowances for using iCloud because I desire to edit the file wherever in iawriter. I don’t do tags or try to categorize the entries. That would lease me to the next thing.
  2. Thoughts on topical journal in clear text. This journal is more productive for me since I always have thoughts and sometimes am guilty of overthinking. This seems more of a free for all thing which I want. Any thought or thing can have a home. And it’s all again in clear text.

I also noted doing this the changes with our tools that facilitate and ease the sharing between any things I write. Now IAwriter does wikilinks stuff so a topical entry never has to live in isolation. It can though. And that makes this so powerful and unique to use.

Combining the journals gives me a so called system but I don’t like things like formulas or plans or methods or systems. What I want is to just write. Like now. Considering I write the blog in the same app, life truly becomes easy to share ideas. I could say this blogpost came from a topical note. Wouldn’t that sound so cool? But it did not. It came from coffee and seeing just how interconnected one note can be.

So the isolation of a note or topic is really only how I want it. I don’t take notes on books, articles, plans or processes. What I do want is the simplest of it all. The thing which requires no work at all.

Today I’ll walk in a bit on it all. Take the time for steps. Another form of mindfulness are my steps. My coffee drains down. Oh a note on coffee! But no. Well maybe.

My wife left on her moto. I’m left with a little coffee and a morning. I’ll just go now.

June 1, 2023 writing journaling time

5am, coffee, good morning!

It seems for six months just about I turn to writing at 5am. Or at least reading. It seems difficult, nigh impossible to return to sleep. Sometimes snoozing strikes but I derailed it with coffee. Our little apartment is full of stuff. It dawned on me, after living here and there, there’s a difference between living somewhere and having a home. I lived in a few places long and short for years. Somehow this apartment, often small and basic, became home when we put certain touches to it. There’s a calendar, some photos of us in Kep, hats hang on this silver hat rack thing. The little kitchen has stuff in it too. I spy a dragon fruit waiting to give itself up to me. The hot water kettle Alin had before now will give hot water in a cheery blue light that goes until done.

Isn’t it true a house could have big things in it but still not be home? There’s some touch to it. Some personal thing. A feeling coming in. Like,

I’m home

Size, furniture, stuff does not matter. I think just having Alin here makes this home. She brings the unique things to our little place. The touches. Feelings. Warmth. Laughter and tears. Even TikTok going sometimes.

My instant coffee waits in its own little place. An end table that lets me have my space. A little world in a world. I have few things. Alin has more. Together we have our things. My end table though is my little space. A clock and stuffed animal. A laptop. A kindle rests easy. An extension cord bridges the gap from the one electric outlet to give me power. There’s a sense of me” to the space. I can turn to it and see that self same stuffed critter that held some space in India in 2009. I have a photo then of a room in Chennai I lived in. There he is.

Finally I can hear Alin laughing at videos or even texting Khmer friends. People start early here. It’s morning. In a home. With coffee.

I’ve not dwelt on having a home. Having this wonderful person share it. Make it a home. That’s what this blogpost is about. Finding another morning early. Realizing no more sleep will come. Alin goes to the doctor today one more time. May finishes. June comes.

Alin laughs easy at things. She also cries easy sometimes. She can find strength and power in doing simple things. Sometimes for me it’s walking or yoga or meditation.

The best moments in our home though are making it a home. Past living. Had to be. Want to say thanks to my friend Sean in California for helping with no questions asked. I’ve known him since 1995 or so. We worked at a few places together. I asked him yesterday for some help and no hesitation.

TMO and I exchange email every so often. I wish him happiness in his next steps. I know the challenge and change will be good. My old friend RWR would say gently,

nothing so constant as change

I am not sure when this place changed from room to home. I’m just so glad it did.

May 31, 2023 coffee morning writing

Going places

We both like going places and after Vietnam we decided to not travel internationally for awhile (like the rest of this year). The way it works now is Alin just owns everything like travel, money, plans, eating. We talk and she asks me if I want to do a thing. With travel we decided to see the kingdom of wonder (aka Cambodia) up and down, left and right, near and far. We had talked about going to Koh Rong Island in June but neither of us like Sihanoukville and we would have to go through there. Alin decided instead we should go to Koh Kong province. I have never been there. With money these days, I just give the money to her and she gives me an allowance. She gets quite a laugh at the ABA bank telling people her husband needs a little money to have fun. Today I got $25! Yay!

Plans are different for us and we both look at the things. We both want to visit mum in Preah Vihear Province but we also realize we must exercise caution with the money so we can have fun and enjoyment in Siem Reap. Finally eating is something I never worry about. Alin feeds me happily with whatever food I either ask for or she cooks. Rarely is the food Khmer or even Asian food. Most often it is barang food like bbq chicken, French fries, salads. Often she will make bbq pork ribs with the most delicious chili paste or baked potatoes. I love potatoes so I get them most meals. Khmer food comes in last for me but not because I dislike it. I just enjoy all the other food. I have asked her to cook Fish Amok, Khmer chicken curry, fried rice, and Tom Yam Soup.

We sat today in the Temple Coffee and Bakery after going to ABA bank to do some stuff. I really enjoy just going with her. We sit and talk sometimes for hours about family, my daughter, food. Well maybe all the things above.

Going places though is one thing we take somewhat seriously because there are ways to go when you are a barang traveling. Booking this and that up front. Then there is the Khmer way. I just let Alin do the booking of cars and buses and vans to take us to the places we wish to go. She also deals with the language part of things when we go. She will order food for me on the road, make sure it is to my liking, order iced latte for me, even buy ice cream for me. Lodging the barang way is to use or Agoda or whatever. Now we just wait and Alin uses her phone to call a few places and then haggle with them for a lower price. She does not like pre-booking the rooms and we just use ABA to pay for the room online.

So all the things she does, it just seemed to make sense to let her have the money. I’ve never felt uncomfortable or that she squandered it away although she jokes about buying bling with it. Khmer women appreciate jewelry and she always has an eye out but as she told me,

the real treasure is in my heart and its you lovely

She laughs off others that think we should spend this or that much on bling. I have bought her two rings. She loves both of them but once with them she never asks for more.

It all means when we go, I just relax and let her use ABA bank to do things. Buy food, bus or minivan tickets, beer. If it is international travel she defers to me and I do the purchases and hotels. She happily lets me decide how and when we go and I try to make sure she is happy with the outcomes.

Koh Kong June 26 to 29

So that will be fun and we decided the dates. It is a cheaper place to go according to the website above. Traveling with a Khmer person makes things easy with language and often she spots a tuktuk driver applying barang fare increases or she feels that some meal was not correct. She then uses her time-honored method. She gets mad. She told me once to please go sit down so she could deal with the Cambodian person. Another time she felt slighted by a food service person here and she had choice words for just about anyone in the restaurant.

She tells me going places whatever they are, we should not be cheated or insulted with the money. She enjoys the money each month but having it means she feels ownership and protection of it. It also means I don’t. I just go along going places.

When we go to the province, we travel first to Phnom Penh on a minivan service. Then it is another 5 hours on a bus or van to Koh Kong. We will travel on the cheap there because we will likely get a cheap bungalow thing on the beach for three nights and bus service is inexpensive for the both of us.

Preah Vihear Province and Mum

This is a thing we have to do. Mum asks each phone call if we will come to see her. We would go for only two days and go in a private car or taxi and the guest house we stay in costs little. Once there, we take Mum out for dinners, give her some money to help her with things, treat her like gold. Alin now is very conscious of the cost of things. She wants us to do things after we pay bills. One of the things about going places in Cambodia is that most of the stuff is cheaper and we both want a combination of good prices, good food, a little beer, and fun times. Preah Vihear is no exception. A room in the guest house costs about $18 a night.

We go!

We will go. Go places. Whether it’s down the street or across to a far flung province in Cambodia. She’ll hold my hand, tease me, punch me in the arm playfully. But tell me in her heart there is only room for me, her sister, and our mum. On the road, the minivan services will stop for rest stops along the way. Going to Phnom Penh, it takes 5 hours so there are two rest stops. Other places take different times. Kampot takes about 3 hours. Sihanoukville 2 hours. If we go to Kep, we just get to Kampot and then get a tuktuk to take us. We will not fly domestic routes because of the prices. We could get to Phnom Penh in 50 minutes from Siem Reap but we pay $200 round trip for both of us. That’s the cost for the bungalow by the beach, beer, food.

So let’s go places. Board the bus, take the van. Most of all holding her hand and letting her do the leading. Best move I ever made.

May 30, 2023 travel planning going

Tuesday morning and words

Today my wife goes back to the health clinic or hospital or whatever. The continuing saga of her stomach problems. She’ll get two shots in the butt and sit there awhile. The health thing has been a companion almost since we met. At first though she would not tell me. She feared I would just leave her. Her family told her she must tell me all. When she finally did tell me I then understood it was not a recent thing. She could not take care of herself for years because of money. She just suffered through it all. I’m pretty sure she felt no man would agree to love her, live with her, be with her. It must have been agonizing to wait the years searching and also know the secret that could ruin it all if told.

I’m explaining all this here because the blog takes so much of the day and night these days. These words and the words my wife tells me. How she loves me. How she fears sometimes still I would just go. Our mum told her to be honest with me. So she was. Her fears of losing the person she waited 10 years to find come back sometimes when she feels I am not happy or she has said or done something to anger or disappoint me.

I’ve thought this through a few times. How she sometimes asks many times if I’m happy. If she has done something, said something, acted a certain way to drive me away. I’ve come away understanding more. I tell her every day I love her. She makes a face sometimes and tells me she cannot tell me each day. But she does. She will say good night and sleep well and tell me. Over coffee I just tell her and she smiles. But tells me too.

It matters because I want her to know there is no time limit or illness or problem we cannot solve together. When she moves next to me in bed and I feel that silky smooth body. When she spies me watching her and playfully yells at me. When she finds sadness or someone angers her.

She will turn to me now. The fear of loss for both of us is real. I went just as long believing the wandering around Southeast Asia was enough. But before the hell years my ex wife gave out. I probably fear she would leave me too. That my warts are way too obvious. She would say enough.

But I think with relief and love and acceptance we both know we need what the other brings. It just took us longer to find it.

This is probably meant to be included in some journal. Some private journey of words on a Tuesday when she has already left for the hospital. When I worry the hours away. Fret about this or that little thing with her. She says I worry too much about her. She’s right.

It’s a Tuesday and these are my words for it. Now I wait.

May 30, 2023 life journey words

Over thinking it

We were discussing some things this morning we want to do. Alin suddenly stopped and held her head in her hands. She told me,

too much thinking

It has come to me a few times I am guilty of this over thinking thing about things. Like do we go catch a bus in a week? Let me research all the options, find the best, etc. Alin just stops me with a smile and sometimes laughs but seriously says,

when the time comes to do the thing we do the thing

So what I try these days is not to over think or I get the response in the coffee shop to stop with it because it creates a shadow on my face. I have to say these Cambodian people can read us. Alin can take one look and stops smiling and will ask me what is bothering me and what can she do to help. Often it is some spurious thought and she laughs when I tell her. She will tell me to stop over thinking a bus or a hotel or even a person.

I think this whole thing also doomed all my latest attempts at writing a daily journal or diary. It has dawned on me this morning that the creation of such a thing is an exercise in over thinking. We indulge in it because we feel we are getting our thoughts and feeling down. We are but then we can vicariously relive them over. And over. Again and again. The words we get down suddenly have new meanings when we view them with the vantage points of time and space. Like my old diary and journals and blog posts I deleted. I looked at them and was aghast. I had slipped and fell and could not get back up again. Trapped in words and thoughts and old deeds done bad or good. So I woke up one day and decided that I had said enough and deleted almost 9 years of journal entries in both markdown and in Day One. I deleted 5 years of blog posts because nothing was served keeping them. I wanted the release and deleting it all took me a number of steps toward it. There was one thing though which traveled through all the diaries, perhaps even the old blog posts at times.

The thing was accepting what my ex wife had done. What she had done a decade ago. I over thought this for a decade folks. I let it live between words and phrases and photos. I even created a rationalization for it. I called it living with” the thing or things. It seemed to ghost the thing and let me wander around wherever I happened to be. What I realized upon finding Alin and discovering she loved me and wanted nothing more than me that I could finally do this one thing I never thought possible. I could merely accept what my ex wife had done. I think because I found someone else and I gave myself permission to do away with the over thinking of living with a thing for a decade and more. It just took someone loving me unconditionally and telling me she had waited for me for years. I realized it was a me too moment. So much over thinking had gone into the years. I had hidden in journal entries, walked some street in Saigon. Found and lost people. I figure now there was this thing waiting for my year in Mexico and my days seeing old friends and my daughter in California. I came to Cambodia to live peacefully on my own. I remember thinking I would never be able to put a thing down. I had lived with it so long it did not feel like a shadow or a weight. It was just a thing folks.

Imagine the amazing sense of freedom declaring the day awhile back I love this khmer woman. It felt like the over thinking of a decade or more released and I found the one thing Jeff Warren, a wonderful meditation instructor, counseled. Find acceptance. I think he knew the weight we could live under by just continuing. So I did but it took another person to come to my life.

Here’s my message for you. Don’t live that life. Find your way to let go of the things you should let go of. Like when meditating, I silently say to some things,

not now, I’ll deal with that later

But I never do. Perhaps it is not even that. It is finding the way and method to simply accept a thing. There are the stages of things maybe you have read like denial, bargaining, etc. Finally there is acceptance and it belongs at the end. I think we have to get through all the other things first. Blame it on how we are wired up.

In the end I found it

And I lost it. I lost that last weight of over thinking and keeping this horrible sense of a thing that happened a decade or longer ago. I’ve never told Alin she did this for me. That her love and finding me and me finding her released me from thoughts on thoughts, guilt on guilt. Fear on fear. She would probably smile and look gently at me. I can hear her now.

lovely, you are welcome. I love you. You are my everything and I will always do all for you. You have all of Alin.

And perhaps what really happened was not a replacement for my ex wife. Nothing could replace that. Instead a new thing was forged in hearts and minds and souls. So much bigger and better, sometimes with tears and laughter. I’ve realized I will never understand her or her Khmer ways. That’s okay too. As I wrote here before, we never can really understand another. What I do know is that weight left perhaps the first time I whispered to her that I loved her. It evaporated on its own without me even trying. Now I look to it and there are only dusty old things with no thinking applied.

Love you my love.


May 29, 2023 life love thinking doing

Dreams, schemes, reasons

I had some strange dreams falling back asleep after our 5am wake up for medicine. Nice thing now is we have a nice water kettle from Alin so I get up and get it going and have an instant coffee first thing. The dreams seem to just disappear but the strangeness of them remains.

Siem Reap is over tourist season so now the pace slows. More tuktuks with less paying customers. Where we live, Khmer people go on their daily things. One lady I know walks by and always smiles and yells hello to me. The small shop owner gives his baby daughter a bath and puts her out on the sidewalk in a walker thing. I see the young guy that makes noodles go by. I have a vantage point for Taphul Street I think. People I think know me now and I have these regular spots for morning life. I’m convinced this is the best time to sit over a coffee and watch.

Soon I bet I will see Alin go by on her moto to the market. She’ll go shopping for some kind of food for me. Last night she cut up dragon fruit she bought that was grown out by Angkor Wat. Also fresh papaya.

My coffee drains down. I could have another. Each one is $1.50. The morning breezes are cooler. Sky is overcast. Perhaps this is a waking dream. Like just how slow life will slide by while I sit and watch.

Yep. My street pokes along. Kids on bikes. I think there is no particular reason to either sit here or go. Perhaps the Khmer part of me urges me to sit awhile. Perhaps it says,

You have no hurry. It’s Sunday. Take time. No one judges. Be happy.

I usually listen to that voice. There’s no upside to whatever minute whisper the American in me might say. I stopped being from there years ago. Now the last reason is like Alin told me.

You belong to me now. I have you. My family has you. Your home is with me in Cambodia.

I just sit now. Reflect. The dreams and schemes long gone. Whatever reason I once had has left.

The only thing left is to finish the wonderful latte and cross the street. Find my home.

Publish this blogpost. Would it be complete without a photo of she who makes all my dreams and schemes come alive?

From BaNa Hills outside of Da Nang vietnam. A day of flowers and bridges and lots of smiles. No dreams, schemes, reasons. Just being is enough. And having her along on the ride.

May 28, 2023 dreams life writing