At the beginning of December a friend left Cambodia and, as is customary here, a bunch of us headed to the airport to say farewell and wish him the best as he left. I posted something in regards to this on my status, about a good semester and a trip to the airport. It was a bit cryptic, but anyone here who knew us would have clearly understood the reference.
A couple weeks later, my sister mentioned that friends in the US were asking her if I was home for Christmas, because they “saw something on facebook about a trip to the airport”. An understandable mistake, especially since I was home last year for Christmas.
So today, in the middle of chatting via skype with two of my youth now back in the states, I mentioned this brief misunderstanding, and like me, they were both amused. One replied:
“Where we’re from, going to the airport means many things, sometimes its to say goodbye, sometimes to say hello, sometimes it just means you just want Dairy Queen. . . And occasionally it means you get to go somewhere!”
Her simple comment was very memorable in that it spoke of something at the very heart of international culture in general, and life in Phnom Penh in particular. The airport is indeed an intricate part of my Phnom Penh experience. Many hellos and goodbyes have been said there. The Dairy Queen provides the back drop for this, and provides some sugary relief when it gets particularly hard; it also give a distraction for the real reason we are there.
Her comment, poetic style, and light hearted understanding of international culture spoke to my heart and soemthing that has been so essencial to my Phnon Penh experience.