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FYI – Pandora doesn’t work in this part of the world.

Which makes no difference at all in terms of real life living.  But when it comes to writing, Pandora has provided the sweet piano music that has served as my creative fuel.

Today’s choice of music is a bit different.  Various birds singing in the trees surrounding us.  The buzz and beeps of traffic outside the walls of the pool we’re sitting at.  The hotel staff washing dishes, preparing food, cleaning.

It’s not piano music, but it’s such an interesting mix that it somehow works to create a strange type of white noise. Weirdly peaceful.  Oddly beautiful.

My soul feels calm in this place.  I love the rawness.  The extreme jump from the “normal” comforts of home.  The fact that everything I see and experience is new.  The escape from my tired box of thinking.  The humid air, the strange smells, the lovely sights, all welcome strangers to my senses.

I love that beauty seems to exude from within.  The faces I see are not made UP, but made OF love and generosity and grace.  Where the celebration of the heart plays louder than the fanfare of outward appearance.

I love the simplicity of the food.  Fruits, vegetables, rice, meat.  My stomach, the thankful recipient of eating so clean, so well.  Even the simplicity of the food makes its flavors more delectable, more savory, more satisfying.

I love the close proximity to the unknown,  Riding on the back of Janay’s moto yesterday was one example.  Cars and trucks and buses all around us.  Other motos and tuk tuks so close I could have lost an arm or a leg.  I wasn’t anxious for even a minute.  Just relaxed on the back of the seat, trusting the driver (Janay) and taking in all that was around me.  Maybe it’s because I’m not afraid to die.  And maybe it’s just because I didn’t want to miss a thing.  I wanted to feel what real life feels like for Janay each day.  There was a comfortable thrill that I can’t explain.  The slightest understanding of how Janay has been able to blend so well into a new society.

I love the Russian Market.  The bright colors, the handmade goods, the potent smells.  The way that Janay bargained in Khmer with the merchants.  The friends that she has made even in this place.   To see her so at ease as she showed me the ropes and told me when to walk away from a vendor whose prices were too high.  This is where I got my new elephant parachute pants.  I think I might get more 🙂

I love that Janay and I got our nails done on the outside veranda of a local shop, open to the breeze that made its way to cool us.

I love that last night for dinner we met with Janay’s two friends, Julie and Sokea.  I love that we got to put faces with the names of these precious women and got to experience the sweet personalities that make them who they are.  Smart, funny, loving.  Great friends to our girl.  The laughter and stories made for a wonderful night of seeing so clearly once again, that God has indeed provided amazing community for Janay.  A true family in every sense of the word in our physical absence.  Two new strangers who became two new friends.

I love that today we will see things that I won’t be able to write about, for obvious protective reasons.  Our senses and hearts and minds and souls will be offended.  Grieved.  And jolted into a better recognition of the battle of good and evil.  I love that it will cause us to pray better, more focused, harder for situations our minds can not even begin to bend around.  I love that we get to meet even more people who addressing these issues with their very lives, sacrificing things they love for people and a God they love more.

I do love this place, these people, my precious daughter.   Pray for our open eyes, ears and hearts again today to see, hear and know everything that God wants to show us.

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