September 18, 2010

And I'd do it all over again.

I've got a pile of thank-you notes and the feeling that I did something good today.

Today I did a short presentation about Cambodia for my brother's fifth grade class. I showed them several photos from Cambodia--some photos of CWF school, some of my students, and even one of a fried tarantula being eaten.

The students were curious about this country where kids only go to school in the morning, and where Lucky Burger reigns supreme. I was delighted to recall memories from my adventure, and I was happy to share with kids who might never have thought about Cambodia before.

They say hindsight is twenty-twenty, but it's also rose-colored. The discomforts of Cambodia have already faded from my stories, and I am left remembering a time when I was living the life I dreamed about. A life I still dream about, even though I understand the hardships and sacrifices.

I believe that, in some parallel universe, I am still in Cambodia. I've found a fabulous job teaching writing in a school that pays me well and supports a local cause. But that's a parallel universe. This is Nebraska.

Today is the first day that I can say "...and I'd do it all over again" without reservation. Today I realized that going to Cambodia was important. I went to Cambodia, I learned more about the world, and today, I got to stoke the imaginations of young people. Maybe one day one of Sam's friends will decide to study abroad or volunteer.