Sunday, May 21, 2017

First Till Seventeenth

The last seventeen photos you’ll see on my Instagram account this month are reflections of God’s grace and mercy in my life. A picture represents each year about my character, adventure, endeavor, and friendship in this country indicatively–my real world–it doesn’t matter whether it was a struggle to eke out a living or a thrill of victory–both subsist to define me. My apology if I can’t post all of them here, but you can view them or click this hashtag (#firstillseventeenth). You may also want to follow me on Instagram, please feel free to do so. Here is my account name (#popoythewanderer). Thanks a billion!

When time flies, it really sprints. I thought it was just yesterday, but my wrinkles can’t deny it. Forget my age. I have been here long enough to tell stories. Looking at those images and ponders upon the messages behind every journey, I am so overwhelmed–forever grateful. Life was so difficult to bear for so many times, and yet the goodness of my Creator has helped me get through it one step at a time. Now they are memories to cherish for as long as I live. Those were the days as many call it. It is another story for me though–they’re more than that–they’re undeserved grace rather. And for every experience blew me away. I’m not actually sure whether or not it’s a great idea to unveil myself a little bit more here (I mean giving my Instagram account), but I’ll give a shot. It is my first time to do it here as it was on Facebook. Please celebrate with me!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Endless Ceremony

Living in this country for long drawn-out years, I’d say is enough to know things without a doubt. But don’t get me wrong because I’m not trying to act like I have all the answers. Maybe it is just me who fancies giving a fig especially about cultures. And what you are about to read is not a speculation or a disparagement. It is a reality I keep seeing and hearing almost every single day–a lifestyle including everybody’s goings-on wherein I also take part if necessary. Regardless of my cognizance about these happenings (these endless ceremonies to heed), still caught surprised how this village in particular never runs out of something to celebrate or mourn–only in this village. I have stayed in different provinces and villages in Cambodia, but nothing compares to this place. I wonder! Name it…birthday, wedding, housewarming, death and anniversary, engagement ceremony, and more–each is valued the same.  

As in right now, I am hearing prayers and chants being recited by monks, songs being sung live by wedding singers, the bangs and gongs of classical instruments are also in the air–like few meters away–all in a loud sound through megaphone speakers echoing even to the farthest neighboring communes. Tomorrow will even be louder, if not loudest–only who are used to it can bear these blare and toot. I am not whining although it is caused too much annoyance at times, this is just out of curiosity from unanswered queries perhaps. Every day there’s at least something to look forward to happily or to attend to sadly. Do remind me to come in out of the rain so that I will understand that I’m actually an outsider. Besides, this is just how life goes here.

Monday, May 15, 2017

No More Visa Agony!

Only a few people knew where I went to early this morning. Just got back in Phnom Penh twenty minutes ago. Now, I am sitting relaxed in a coffee shop. Before this was a battle mentally without knowing what this trip might end up. Graciously, it went so well. Thankfully, it was another jaw-dropping visa run–a special answered prayer. My patience and perseverance at last reaped a wonderful outcome. I’ve been doing this for seventeen years but each time never runs out of new things to experience. The key to this is submission– one’s willingness to humble and learn.

Finally, my agony was over today–at least this year. It was agonizing because I had to spend more money, time, and energy. But it was in this seemingly suffering God had proven His sufficient provision, strength, and protection. I am extremely jumping about this good news. Well, I already got the transition visa which is a very important requirement availing a long-stay visa in this current country where I am now. It was the sixth in and out in three months. Imagine. So tired of it humanly speaking but today I felt like a million thorns were pulled out from my body. No more long and unwanted trip like this one–no more visa agony to bear. Praised be to the Sustainer of Life!      

Climbed Up Mount Udong

If only I believe in coincidence, then I would not hesitate to say I’m a fan. But having superiors who do care about me and love me like a family, it is undeserved grace.  Hope this confession doesn’t make others feels bad or cause commotion. I am not trying to lift my own chair–it is never my intention. I am just being happy. Thankful people have taught me to be a grateful person in small and big things.

The school trip yesterday with staff and admin was another long but unwinding–unplanned though. We had fun and it was worth the company. Most importantly, I was blessed knowing I was in the presence of kind people. Hopefully, they are my friends and home for the rest of this year. We went up, up, and up to Mount Udong. I had chills to see the Creator’s wonderful creations–from an eagle’s eye and a bird’s eye view. Forever thankful. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Remind Me It's Friday

Time flies and I am normally pleased with the way it sprints, but not this week. I do not want to hold it longer either because of some annoying things must be solved–some concerns only people of the same boat comprehend. It is already Friday and yet I don’t have that feeling of anticipation. My mind is so preoccupied with a lot of cares–like numerous ones to attend.

After my class this morning, I announced to my kids about another big holiday that is soon to take place (as in three days off). That’s when I came to my senses it is actually the end of a particular weekdays. My worries perhaps forbade me from looking forward to it. Many people say life is a bittersweet, if not it is a roller coaster. I do believe in that. Today, like the rest of topsy-turvy states of my existence in the past, I understand all the more, deeper, what these sayings try to imply–at least for me. Is it already Friday? Please pinch me to be reminded.  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Favoritism is one of the words I dislike. If someone had to map every related concept, my eyes would probably be mindful of “one-sidedness” as the closest lexeme to link. My shallow defense, of course, is that, one has to love or admire or side or care or notice or show goodness to only one person above the rest–and no one else. And it shouldn’t be. As always, I am up in arms about it. I don’t have to elaborate this right? You know it, come on.

And if I had to reword it, my first sentence would be like this: “It is a disease that is affecting a person who knows it is wrong.” And I am so affected every time I see someone who is a solid fan of this craziness. Sorry for my term this time. And such behavior should not be tolerated. On the one hand, I am not trying to deny that I got a lot of favorite things and even people–it is impossible to have not–it is inseparable from each one of us in fact, but it doesn’t make me favoritism–it connotes differently. My piece of advice: NO TO FAVORITISM!      


They are not my collection. I have actually passed this age specially hording inkless pens like I used to. In days of yore, one had written something about a pen and described it mightier than a sword. This thought became famous until this era. In my own days, when modern revolutions happened at random, we ambiguously perceived it these ways–to curse or bless anyone, to educate or deceive innocents. Well, it depends who is holding it. It has been three months since my tiny world is busy doing another advocacy in a new school. And these seemingly taken for granted objects have been my partners motivating, encouraging, and imparting knowledge to each learner along the way.

For the past ninety days, I have been giving out pens (like countless ones) to my students as rewards for their hard work–this to lift their spirits up to do more–not necessarily to achieve perfection for each one is unique and dissimilar. Aside from giving these kids constant encouragement, I realized that to gift each with a pen is a great idea. It is useful too. From a simple artwork to a complex lesson, my eyes are always alert to find individuals deserving. I also open my heart daily to live kind regardless of what I receive from my monthly salary. Pens are always top of the lists. We all borrow God’s grace and mercy every moment of our lives and I want these youngsters feel and see that. I was taught to show goodness to whoever seventy-seven times seven.