It’s close to my year in Cambodia. I got here in September 2022. Spent weeks in Phnom Penh. I knew I did not want to live there. So I got the retirement visa extension and left for Siem Reap. Maybe I flew there. I spent months trying to figure out a step to take. My friend J messaged me from the US and decided to live in Cambodia. So went back and got him in Phnom Penh and came back to another long stay place. Then back to Phnom Penh to visit friends there.
Finally late 2022 I left for Vietnam. My first time back in almost two years. I spent days in Saigon and weeks in Hanoi. Saw old friends in both. Ate and drank and met David there. We became friends immediately and went out a few times enjoying Hanoi. I could only stay through Tet in late January and came back to Siem Reap.
Before Valentine’s Day this year I met my wife at the beatnik bar in Siem Reap. She had this intense look when she saw me. She would not let go of me. We spent that night together and soon after found a room. The room lasted months but we knew it was not enough. So alin found our house. Two bedrooms. Big yard. Room for a dog alin would tell me.
Friends ask what it’s like having a Cambodian wife. Somehow they think it must be intense or different or even with conflicts. Any relationship has those things. With alin it is worthy remembering the old saying,
Same same but different
We’ve been together since. Through the same and different times. Arguments and love. Surprises and devotion. Most of all just being together.
And while the year has brought change, it’s worth noting my wife does TikTok videos expressing her love for me. The act of saying it out loud is a challenge for her at times. It seems to come from deep in her and it’s wrenched out and she’s uncomfortable with it.
For me, I find it so easy. She tells me she’s not a baby and does not need it every day. Still I do it. I think secretly she loves it. Telling her I love her makes it new every day. Makes me feel through the changes and sames and differents we thrive.
What a year. Ending in Mexico which I loved. Being in the US for three days. Never liked it there after being on the vagabond trail for years in Asia. I miss Vietnam though. Sometimes intensely. Like a place still open in my soul. But I love this life now. Alin has given me all of her. She’s told me in the past I have all of alin. There is no more. And I love it.
The year has passed both fast and slow. Started alone. Found a woman I love. When I stopped looking. Both of us waited so long. Her over a decade. Me longer. At one point she fell and hurt her face. She felt then no one would love her. Anyways she went to the bar. Anyways she met me. With my own scars.
What has your year been?