The day to day

I was thinking about writing this but after a leisurely breakfast with my friend David, it seemed I should maybe write a blogpost about it. David and I go back years but I had never met him face to face. We met perhaps on Facebook but then also on this expat forum site and it seemed our paths would not cross since I could not come back earlier this year to Asia and he lived a retirement lifestyle he loves in Siem Reap.

We spent some time over coffee and tea discussing this life. In some ways I envy him because he has reached this wonderful spot settling down here. He found a Khmer woman that holds him close and he said it was the day to day that made him so happy. It seems sometimes we lose sight of the real goal of life. It is not to create more deliverables and timelines and focus point you know. It is to find a few things like happiness and joy day to day. Retirement, as we discussed, is not about finding yet more meaningful work to get done or tasks to finish. We just make it that way. Here in Siem Reap there is this wonderful slow down effect. People gather for breakfast and coffee and no one rushes to finish.

As we sat and talked, we shared a few stories about times and places. David worked for years in Vietnam and he speaks Vietnamese fluently. When I lived there I would share photos on Facebook and he would always comment on his memories of being there or ask if I found a certain place he had visited. Then I left Facebook but I found him on a expat forum website and finally on WhatsApp.

Now I find my path rather slowly. There is no real hurry to this month in Siem Reap. Today after seeing David, I wandered toward home but I wanted to stop for coffee first. I found a nice little coffee shop where I had warm green tea and a latte from the nice Khmer lady. Then I decided to eat. Tried to find one restaurant and failed so I ended up at this wonderful Cambodian buffet place where everyone cooks their own food on a grill with seasoned butter. I had wonderful shrimp, veggies, squid, fish and cold, cold Angkor beers that I had to repeat the order for. All in all for all the beers and the food I spent $10. It would have probably cost a bit more other places. I don’t speak Khmer so I just went in and they smiled and welcomed me and showed me how to do the cooking first off. Then I took over and had seconds and more beer.

It was the day to day! Now I am home and the airbnb is quiet and peaceful and I feel this sense of just finding my way or losing it in the day to day.

Siem Reap is very different than Phnom Penh. Life is slower and the food is cheaper but the people. The Khmer people are warm here and welcoming. From my stop to get a latte to the buffet place I was just sincerely welcomed. I wanted coffee at one and food and beer at the other. All delivered.

What is it about Asia I have wondered which lights this torch for me? I’ve used the term Edge before because I have felt life here is perched on some boundary where we get to move through the moments and find none are finished. I think I need the unfinished and random nature of life. In the United States and perhaps other places life is just done. There is no day to day.

And perhaps that is what coming to Cambodia has meant to me. It has meant embracing the day to day over the finished and completed and done. I’ll take the random and unfinished. David reminded me of my moniker for email and other places being Robert Frost so perhaps I should share those words here too or the last part. I took that name because then I realized I too had miles to go.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Source: Robert Frost. Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

And that is where mpmilestogo has come from dear readers.

Those last lines. David knew and he told me today he remembered the lines. It has seemed since forever I have miles. Miles to go in a bar in Can Tho Vietnam with my sweet Lily to a bar in Merida Mexico drinking Corona beer and eating tacos. Or taking that walk in Tokyo where the small side streets took me on a long walk of dreams and desires. Always miles to go.

Now though I feel that Siem Reap offers a respite to me. A time to stop and look at the now of things. I don’t know what it will become but I know what it is. It is this unfinished and forever undone day to day.

And I love it.