Mastodon Michael Perry

Enjoying moments in Siem Reap

I met this wonderful Khmer man at coffee yesterday. We had a chance to talk about our families and Cambodian culture and living here in the city. Particularly about our daughters. Never could two children be so different. His daughter is in school in New York in a 100% scholarship. My daughter has no inclinations for school and is happy with a job she struggled to get but now loves. One is very focused on the quality of her life and securing advancement. My daughter wants the day to day with her boyfriend. So how the two compare and are different was fun.

Our other main topic was just living. He cannot work any longer due to health conditions but Cambodia makes it difficult for people stricken. He has a wonderful Khmer woman that is his lover and friend. Not married but lovers in all that matter. She will come to get him because he no longer drives but can walk kilometers a day. She was a beautiful spirit with him and her eyes shone looking at him.

I told him about 22 years working in IT and how destructive it was to everything from health to probably a frail marriage and the downfall or rebirth years ago and then just leaving when I retired. He was interested in how painful Silicon Valley was to work in, how it destroyed person in favor of the goal. Since I was a Program Manager then, I got that a lot. Probably why I am rabidly against timelines, schedules, goals, responsibilities now. We talked through that and we both came away with new understandings and feelings about how how terrible IT can be.

Most of all the discussion with a man with a wonderful command of explanation perhaps made our coffee and breakfast so enjoyable. Then his friend showed up and his eyes also lit up, he smiled and said,

my lover and friend

And the circle was closed here. He had come for coffee and spent priceless moments with no end zone or limits on questions or answers. He loved that I enjoyed my home here. My little street with the warm neighbors and restaurants, shops, and people that will wave and say good morning and always ask after me. He felt this one little stretch of street grabbed all that was good in Siem Reap and reflected it back.

And that is how I enjoyed moments in Siem Reap as I shared his breakfast table, his thoughts, and met the woman that lit his life up.

January 27, 2023

Being home