Mikes Thoughts |||

New Shoes it was

Today I went to do some bank business, give my passport to my daughter-in-law to get the visa extension, and decided to head over to a nice shoe shop and get some new walking shoes. It had been awhile since I have been able to get a pair of shoes I would enjoy walking in.

You know the feeling when your feet sink into a shoe that you just know is gonna be the next step. Or even more steps. The nice Khmer lady told me to expect 3 to 6 months wear if I walk every day in them. I figure at the price of $35 I can afford new ones when my feet tell me its time.

Today earlier at the bank, I wire transferred thousands of dollars to my bank here. I could not receive it even though I was the sender and receiver. Reason? On US passports the face page includes the middle name and Xoom transfers to Cambodia do not list the middle name. My daughter-in-law was incredulous so we set and waited for my wife to get the new transaction and then meet us so we could pay for my visa extension. I also got my allowance. My wife told me she loved me and appreciated all I do for her, gave me $250, a kiss and went to the medical clinic. I talked with my daughter awhile and gave her a hug. She’s a sweet Khmer woman with great English. She left with my passport, a photo, and the money and promised me the new visa extension in a week or so. If you have done visas you know the drill. These are no different except each one is a year long and allows multiple exits and entries but if I let it end, I have to leave the country and then enter again on an Ordinary visa and go through the process of the visa extension. We did not want that. This is probably the last year of retirement visas for me. Next year we will be ready to get the residence visa for me and I won’t worry any more about visas.

So all in all, I got the shoes, got a kiss and an I love you” from my wife and wandered around downtown awhile. Somehow I ended at Viva Restaurant for a few beers and tacos. I talked with a fellow expat from California awhile and then walked over to get a PassApp rickshaw home.

My wife is still gone. I think she’s buying stuff and taking care of things she has wanted to do but the first thing was the usual weekly visit to the medical clinic. She has been saying she really wants to go away this month with me. She’s tired of the people here. She got rather irritated this morning when I told her it ain’t gonna happen until she’s better. I could see the stubborn side of her welling up. Instead she smiled sweetly and told me to go have coffee and have a good day and she loved me.

I always suspect something is up when she does that.

And then…

And then. Well then. I did not walk back home. I had some beer and food and sat awhile. The expat I met wanted to know what it was like to have Alin as a wife. Whether she took good care of me, loved me. He was surprised I just gave her all the money. We both laughed at our shared feelings of the US. I guess once you leave there, you find out just how bad about America is. Last year I figure I lasted three days. Then my Korea Airlines flight left for Korea and Phnom Penh. Even Korea brightened up my take. I met these two young Singaporean girls there and we talked a long time between flights I and they had. Then only 5 more hours and I was back. Lets see. It was 17 hours of flying. OMG. But my first thing back was finding a coffee shop, eating, realizing I was back.

All of this was grist for our talking mill today. How ugly it is to live in the US these days. How people are just denigrated and insulted if they’re old. I remember getting back to Vietnam in January and telling the flight attendant in Saigon I wanted to kiss the ground. But landing days later in Hanoi was even more. I felt sadness and wonder. Found so many conflicting emotions and feelings. Hanoi again. Riding to my airbnb, I saw the same sights. Heard the same sounds. But the feelings!

So anyways all this ricocheted around and still does. New shoes and places I can walk. My wife telling me she loves me and needs me. We both are battered and worn I think. Each of us has waited and wondered if we would ever find another person again. And we did.

Tomorrow I’ll walk and do again. Just with new shoes. Get a haircut and beard trim. Stop and pay my wifi bill. Feel steps go. Every so often stare down at the shoes. Find my happiness at such a simple thing. Then I will know…

It was new shoes. But it was more.

Up next Sunday desires It’s Sunday in Siem Reap and a happy day in my soul. My wife and I talked. She told me of her health issues now plaguing her. We have a deal that Life is steps For weeks life has seemed stopped. My wife is fond of telling me we will do a thing, Step by step Today it seems a step was taken with her
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