Oftentimes, I find myself revisiting and replaying this specific moment in my head. I remember my first night in Cambodia very vividly. I was exhausted from jet lag and was falling in and out of sleep on the van ride to the community stay in Kirirom. When the van arrived to the community stay, we were greeted by three brightly covered houses on stilts. The one I was staying in was decorated with plants, pictures, and jovial, bright colors inside and out.
Once settled in, I was on my way to take a shower and brush my teeth. I stepped outside and went down the stairs when a Khmer woman in a silky red outfit who was a part of the community waved at me with a smile and motioned me to go next to her. She spoke to me in English and told me to look up at the moon. I looked up only to see a full moon, big and bright. It was surrounded by multitudes of stars sprinkled across the night sky. I’ve never seen a night so clear with so many stars. “Million Star Hotel – not a five star hotel,” the woman in red said.
In Cambodia time, it is July 3rd. Therefore, technically, it’s my sixteenth birthday. It is currently 6:30am, but I am already having a wonderful day by being in Cambodia with my fellow Dragons. Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this – which you probably are – I love you guys very much!