Mastodon Michael Perry

Understanding another is impossible

I told someone once that the belief we can ever understand another person is completely impossible. Val only gave me what she wanted me to have. The rest was hidden away in some secret place. Then I went with no one for a decade. Felt that so much of life had passed me by somehow but I had this wanderlust thing (still do!). I am 70 and feel like a kid most days. I want to go to places, find and lose things, walk and take photos but only as fun. There is no mission or project to it all.

Then it comes to now. I have this person in my life. I love her but it has come to me in our lives just how different western and Khmer cultures are. It takes some work to understand her. It is not English language challenges. It is understanding her. It can’t be done. What we have is our best guess of a person and just how much that person reveals. Alin reveals more than anyone I’ve met ever. She just shows me her soul sometimes, her spirit when she cries about a thing, her love when she holds me tight but we still never can catch hold of another.

I thought on this this morning when I could not get back to sleep. This thing is fun and playful and serious and joyful but it takes work. I have to want to understand what Alin gives. Perhaps it is the same for all people out there.

I’ll continue this after we do breakfast. It is a day back home from our wandering in a new province and temple ruins that were beautiful. Still much to think on but must shower and get ready to take the dearest one for food. She will be wanting.

So let’s drill down on the days. First off was the wonderful dinner visiting family in a faraway province in Cambodia almost at the Thai border.

Preah Vihear Province - Family and Temple Come together

One of the main things I wished was to be blessed in our relationship by Alin’s mom. This became very important as the day wore on and we drove to the province. Then came dinner. Alin’s mom headed for me first and she hugged me, smiled, and let me know with no words needing translation I was welcome.

Touching and beautiful and everything I could ask for. Later that night Alin and her family all visited for hours and her mom told her to take care of me, love and respect me, keep me happy.

Wonderful times to relive in the photos so here’s the link for the album so you can see all the ramblings of family and the temple.

After some sleep and breakfast, we took off the Preah Vihear Temple Complex. It is on the top of a mountain which is only accessible by 4 wheel drive and one walks through a gorgeous temple complex made by the Khmer so long ago. It was a beautiful, calming and peaceful day spent just walking slowly.

This doorway and arch was so intricate and beautiful! Loved the stone work and masonry and artistry that went into this work. There was also this beautiful stone work that amazed me.

Look at the precision work involved in fitting all this together. I loved capturing this in black and white because it better shows the amazing relationships of stone to stone.

Finally, I found this overview and although it was hazy out, this photo kind of summed up our day.

Probably the end and beginning was just going to another place in Cambodia I had never been with my wonderful Alin. She slowly walked me to so many beautiful views, remembered visiting when she was a child and how it had changed, and recounted the dislike for the neighboring Thai who seem to want this place militarily. Another reason I will never go back to Thailand in any life time.

Finally the us in stuff

And it brings it all forward and back and makes me see the wonder in how I started this whole post out.

And the whole thing lets me see it is okay to not understand another person as we sometimes think we should. We never will and it means life is truly a mystery and I think upon writing this post and recounting this last weekend and just how much I love my Khmer sweetie, that it is all for the best.

Some people in my past I gave up on and felt I would never truly reach any understanding and I could not accept what happened. I still have trouble accepting things from then but I have learned to go past them and find this wonderful country with people who just wish me to be happy. Perhaps that’s the best understanding of all.

We are all difficult and easy and fun and sad but to expect another to understand why never will happen.

That’s a good thing. We can get on with things and not feel some need to understand the mysteries. Now I just want every day I have with her and she smiles the enigmatic and beautiful and mysterious smile over our latte. Yeah, that smile! The one I never will understand but the one I will love forever.

March 6, 2023