I’m back home

June 12, 2019/0/0

Today is 30th April and it’s been 14 days since I left Chambok and since I and my boyfriend are on our planned trip around Cambodia and Vietnam. I’m sitting on a train on a 17-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh to Danang. The road leads around the coast, it is 1AM, the whole wagon is asleep including Adam, and I look back at the photos and videos of the children, my second family, friends and every little memory of Chambok, Ou Choamm, and every person that got in front of my camera. I look especially at fragments of memories of the last farewell party where I handed 47 pupils school supplies and English-Khmer textbooks through the financial support of my family, friends but also complete strangers who honored me but also were grateful they can help. Warming my heart. In another photo, I see the leader of the community in Chamboka at the party he organised for me. We all dance and cheer in it.

I travel with Adam and we get to see the beauty of the jungles, we get to feel the calmness of the sea when we are on the islands, the feeling of confusion coming with canceled flights, the traffic fury when you intertwine between scooters and street shops of excellent and cheap Cambodian and Vietnamese cuisine. I’m calm, I’m just thinking about what we’re going to do that day, where the next stop of our journey will be and what we´re going to eat.

On the day of departure, we arrive to Cambodia and quickly go to lunch with Borith, the Cambodian Director and a good and funny man. Borith gives me a certificate during lunch and says I’m the first international volunteer to receive this award. I am excited and madly happy. I will not lie, it was a beautiful feeling. I was proud. “We’re proud of you” he says. “I’m proud of you,” says Adam. And my heart beats faster again.

Then we have to leave, we´re going through Vietnam – Cambodia – Singapore – Munich – Vienna. Throughout the first three flights, I still don´t get it. Only when the flight attendant announces landing in Munich at 5:45AM with temperature of 5 degrees after 7 hours of flight, I am slowly realizing it. The first thing – I’m in Europe. Second – what will I do? Third – I only have a sweater, dirty jeans, socks and sandals and I smell like a pig, while the well dressed and scented Germans look at me contemptuously, I don’t care. I have a lump in my throat, and tears roll down my red face. Whatever, what am I going to do now? A lot of things have changed, my priorities and my view on life have changed, I have changed. Maybe I went slowly to meet my real myself, but the move was done. I’m closer to myself and it’s a big shift for me and my heart.

We arrive to Vienna and go to the airport area. Adam turns on GoPro, I ask him – why? But before he answers, I hear familiar voices in the crowd of people. Friends! They came to Vienna to surprise me and welcome me! They have a large poster made out of a plaid “TEREZKA, WELCOME HOME!” written on it in capital letters. Everybody hugged me, I was apologizing that I stink even though I tried to wash with soap and I´ve brushed my teeth, people were looking at me a little strangely. But that´s all right.

We went to eat the best schnitzel and potato salad in Austria – At Figlmüller´s, then we got a couple of beers on the sun in an open garden for terribly high price, but we are all chilled out. I tell short stories from Cambodia, talk about potential cooperation with Genesis, and about the changes that will occur. It feels like seeing them after a week but through different eyes. “You can do everything you want. And you have changed, “says Adam. “I can’t do everything, but almost everything.” I laugh. But in my heart I know that my decision to go to Cambodia has made me a great service, little big growth of self-confidence and it opened my eyes. I still have a long way to go, but I intend to walk it all over and then even further.

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