I had five unintended cans of beer Friday night with one of Cambodia’s few Olympic athletes and one can last night with two of my brothers. This was the first alcohol to cross my lips in months. This morning, I am a bloated, emotional mess; remembering “new wave” on the transistor radio in the mid-80s at grandma’s house in Burbank, California, my fondness for fuchsia & neon orange, Annie Lennox, flowers, and dreams of the future.
Living where I do for as long as I have, it’s odd to consider the types of people with whom I have crossed paths. Apparently, according to Facebook’s daily, “way back machine” feature, I had dinner with the French Prime Minister on this date five years ago, though I seem to think it was six years ago…
I meet so many ambassadors and the such. It is not nearly as impressive as it might sound I imagine to someone working retail in the valley.
If they had a sponge that cleaned up broken dreams, Woolworth’s would still be in business.
For five years, I taught hospitality & tourism at a rather prestigious French culinary academy / NGO on the road to the airport. Now, I am the senior lecturer in the faculty of education at yet another “prestigious” liberal-arts college here in Siem Reap. And just between you and me, I am a fraud. I came over here 15 odd years ago thinking I might be alive for another 3 to 5 years. I have exaggerated and played with the truth simply to get any job I have ever wanted.
I realize broken dreams are a meaningless theme in life without an acceptance of the present and how the future always becomes the present.
Last night, someone again mentioned that I have changed people’s futures and mentioned Leni in particular. I thanked them and said, “That is why I do what I do, but that is not to say it is ever easy.” Then I choked back tears, looked down at the table and asked my brother David to take me home because my pants were too tight.
After writing my blog post today -really just a reformulation of a chat between me and Gene Dreyer- I realize the Cambodian Tae Kwon Do star who bought my beer Friday night also spoke about broken dreams. He is a gorgeous, hairy, bearded, muscle-bound man with boys & girls, and business and government leaders fawning all over him. And he spoke about why he does what he does; teaching martial arts to poor children, and how many times the promises of funding and necessary equipment always dry up as soon as the cameras are put away.
We spoke for an hour about how similar we are and how we have always respected each other.
He is extremely intelligent and sexy. I first met him in my school’s library shortly after I started working there. We dated once shortly after that, but he is pretty straight and was being pulled in so many directions when we first met.
His former best friend, XXXXX, became one of my longest standing suitors. And that relationship too is another broken dream.
He still messages me on Facebook and tortures me with talk of us being together again forever and being married, but any conversation with him always ends the same way; he wants me to abandon Leni and Socheat.