“It’s GOOD to be home!” says Lisa from Girl Interrupted…grant it, Lisa was being brought back to the nut house after she tried to escape, but nonetheless, whenever I return to a place regardless where it is or how long I had previously been there, those words flash upon my mind.
I think this time, it will truly feel a little more like home, since I am committed to staying here for awhile. I can unpack my things and get comfortable…well, once my room is finished.
How can I not love this place, right now as I type away, I can hear through my open window, a little voice singing his heart out…while he’s bathing next door…I do believe it’s a Celine Dion song!
Upon my arrival, I firstly had the pleasure of meeting Sok Ny (introduced to me by Steve). Sok Ny and his 6 yr. old son met me at the airport each holding a sign with my name on it! I was overcome with emotion at the sight of them! They took me to my hotel and I was again blessed as they helped with my very heavy luggage. The small stature hotel guy gave me a strange glance as he picked it up. All I could mutter was "Sorry", then I added "You are very strong" for good measure.
For those of you who don't know me, I travel light, extremely light. I still remember the look on a office mates face (yes, you Diane!) when she saw what I was bringing to Europe for a 2 week trip. She commented "That's all your taking...I bring more than that to the office everyday!" So this trip to Cambodia from the US was rather mortifying for me. You see, I had not 1, not 2, but THREE suitcases (totalling over 62 kg (136.69 lbs) according to the scale in the Singapore airport), plus my backpack! My luggage was full of toys, puzzles, games, kitchen toys, blocks, FINGER PAINTS!, card games, little cars, modeling clay, FINGER PAINTS!, and other fun and educational stuff and also FINGER PAINTS!
The supplies were bought with the money I raised having a fundraising dinner at my mom’s house. I prepared Nepali food (sorry, but Cambodian food is less than appetizing for me, so I resorted to what I love best). My awesome and generous family and friends joined together to eat, watch video’s of the Wat Opot kids and ask me whatever was on their mind. Over $500.00 was raised that evening but the contributions didn’t end there, I received a $40 gift card from the customer service dept. at Walmart – yes, I actually went into one of those! and $20 from a stranger (now a facebook friend!) at the Lexus service center when Mom and I went in to get her car serviced. More money came in from more friends who I met up with and even checks in the mail from friends of friends! A final $2 donation was inadvertently received from my Grandmother who passed away on Feb. 5th. While going through her many wonderful things, the money was found in an old purse she no longer had used and was given to me by my aunts and mom for the children; as she would have wanted it.
Mrs. Carolyn Leona Lies, my ever supportive continuous mother of the year was of course the biggest donor of all; giving her money, time, energy and taste buds for my cause. She kept giving me money all the time; probably to see if I would continue to get tears in my eyes every time I received some...and yes, I did!
I will be posting photos of all the toys and the new Play Place/Creative Learning Center in which all the goodies will be put to use. As of now, they are all still safely in my suitcases awaiting the grand opening…although it is getting harder and harder every day NOT to bring them out!
My life (and the people who are in it) rock!