A New Home

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
— Jeremiah 29:11

About a year ago, I found out that my parents were thinking of applying for a job that would change our whole family dynamic. Then they started to get more serious about it and I got worried. Then they got accepted. And I hated it. I hated the idea of packing up my house in bags and taking them across the world. I hated the thought of leaving all my friends from church and school. I hated the idea of leaving my dog for a year. I hated my parents, even though I knew deep down the work that they would be doing was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And I felt like I hated God.

I had every intention of hating it. I didn’t want to make friends. I just wanted to go to school, go back to wherever we were living and talk to my friends back home. My mindset was just to do whatever I could do to ignore the fact that we are living in this place. By 30 hours after landing I was in a taxi cab, going to school. That Friday, they played “Oceans”, and I just sat down on the floor and cried. “Oceans” was the song we sang in Journey, my youth choir back in Austin. It talks about walking “into the great unknown, where feet may fail.” So there I was, this new girl just sitting on the floor crying hysterically. Totally normal. Anyways, by the end of the week I had a group of friends, and was preparing to go on a school retreat after being in the country for less than a week. And I was still jet lagged. So it was great. (Not really.) During camp I made even more friends and ate pretty normal food which I wasn’t expecting at all.

I ended up joining the school volleyball team and even though I was new, I was voted to be the captain of the team. Even though it could be very frustrating I learned that not only am I good at volleyball, but I enjoy it. Close to the end of the year, the schools counselor asked me if I would like to teach cheerleading to the little kids at school and I did. Even though I missed Austin (just to be clear I still miss it like crazy!) I was starting to get used to Cambodia which was weird. Part of me doesn’t want to get used to it. I didn’t want to like it here. I didn’t think I would like it here, but as we make plans now to go back part of me doesn’t want to go. It’s so much more relaxed and laid back here. All of my friends are super nice and I feel like I don’t have to fit in to be cool at school. I really like that part.

I remember a bunch of people talking to me before I left and the one thing that they all said in one way or another was, “I know that this is tough for you right now and it might be when you get there, but when you get home and look back on that year you will be so glad you did it.” So as my year in Cambodia is more than halfway over and I am looking back on all that has happened to me over this year, I honestly wouldn’t change it. Those people were right. 

Some of the things I have learned so far in Cambodia:

- I can play volleyball
- Pork and rice is really good
- There is a thing as too much pasta
- Spain is NOT in Mexico, it is its own country
- Brands aren’t everything
- Family is key (even though they can annoy the heck out of me sometimes)
- Whales are scary
- If you leave your air conditioning on, my Dad WILL take the remote and make you suffer
- Elephants are pretty chill
- The washing machine here sings a 1 minute long song and it can get annoying really quickly
- It’s ok to be sad
- You can have more than one home

Chillin' with my bruthas

Chillin' with my bruthas

My Dad has enjoyed leaving me these "surprises" around the apartment.  (But I got him back -- ha!)

My Dad has enjoyed leaving me these "surprises" around the apartment.  (But I got him back -- ha!)

Mm, k bye!

- Naeda