Yesterday was my official last day in Cambodia for awhile. Page and I woke up around eight to have breakfast with Nid Noi, Brittney and Professor Hansen one last time. I was seriously spoiled this entire trip in terms of breakfast. For my last breakfast I got banana French toast, fresh fruit (they gave me mangoes too yay!), juice and coffee. After breakfast Page and I went back out to Wat Bolanka so that I could interview Venerable San Van for an article I’m writing for the UW Communications department! Usually I’m fine travelling places alone in Siem Reap because I’ve just become very comfortable there, but thankfully Page came along with me because it’s taboo for a younger girl to talk with monks one on one. Generally its fine, but some things may be awkward. Like we brought gifts to bring to San Van and girls cannot directly hand things to monks, so Page handed them to San Van, etc. My overall goal was to interview San Van about Buddhist practices for health and protection and then talk about the NGO that he started for vulnerable children two years ago. I would type up all the interesting things I learned, but you’ll just have to read the article later! 🙂
One particular practice though that I really found interesting was srauv duk, which is a water blessing given for good luck and good health. After the interview I was lucky enough to receive it!! It’s really a big deal because Venerable San Van is known for the potency of protection given to people when he performs srauv duk. The ceremony itself is just the person sitting on a bench while a monk ritualistically pours water over their head while reciting different scriptures and good wishes. After that I also received two youn which are cloths that Venerable San Van made for specific purposes. I received on youn for protection of the home and one for the protection of safe travels. (Both of which are currently in my carry on!) The rest of the day was spent last minute shopping and hanging out and then Page and I attended the last English conversation table. Almost everyone who regularly attends was there and the topic of the day was “True and Untrue Friends”. The main point of the conversation also had several Buddhist undertones because we all came to the conclusion that you really shouldn’t be labelling friends as “true” or “untrue” because that limits their ability to improve as people. If we limit people to just that label then we may not be treating them with the kindness they deserve. Similarly to the conversation on being polite, we also all agreed that you should really just focus on yourself being a good friend and then good friends will gravitate towards you. It was so sad to say goodbye to all of them. We had a quick photo-op at the end of class and then gave our hugs and went on our way.
We headed back to the hotel, packed and were sent off by Professor Hansen, Brittney and Taewee. The hotel staff even bought us all a cute gift full of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc from Bodia in town. That was so sweet of them! And so after that, Page and I headed off to the airport. It was a super easy check in, and I slept through most of the first flight. I kept zoning in and out of this really odd British movie called “u want me 2 kill him?” that was based on a true story that happened in 2003. Basically, this boy befriends another boy who creates this entire fictional universe to convince his new friend to kill him (the boy who created the fictional people). It’s insanely complicated and confusing but I recommend watching the trailer to find out more about it. Then I watched my comfort movie Alice in Wonderland!
We arrived at Incheon Airport in Seoul at about 7am their time and I made another free art project in the tourist center. Then we both took naps and used the free showers again. I can confidently say that Incheon is my favorite airport of all time! Now that I’m just on a straight road home I’m trying to enjoy travelling back as much as I can even though I can’t really stand flying. I just hate sitting for so long and the flight I’m currently on now is about 13 hours. As I write this we only have 1 hour and 12 minutes left of flying until we land in Chicago!!! I can’t believe home is so close, I can almost taste the Culver’s cheese curds.
….And I’m currently writing this as I wait for my mama to pick me up from the airport! I accidently told them to come an hour later than my arrival because I thought customs would be a pain but it was so easy! Except when I was asked if I brought any wood products I hesitated because I think I brought back a wooden sculpture. When I hesitated he was like, “Well do you?” and I said, “I don’t think so” and he just waved with his hand and said “Just go”. Thank the Lord! I also didn’t get any of my palm sugar confiscated which made me do a figurative back flip outside of customs. I’m so excited for everyone I know to try the palm sugar made in the villages!!! 🙂 Overall, this has been a really successful trip back and I’m so thankful! My next, and final post will be in a few days after I’ve adjusted to being back.