A Humbling Experience

Angkor Travel Blog

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Right outside of the main ruins of Angkor are several shacks.  The people who live there sell anything from drinks to film and some fix meals for anyone willing to sit and eat.  I was getting hungry  My companion and I went to one of the shacks where this lady who might not have been older than me fixed some whole chickens and rice for us.

We sat in the patio furniture and talked.  Being a "shack," no one could expect anything fancy -- there was no floor only dirt.  Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a little girl staring at me with a big grin on her face.  I looked and waved at her.  She went to my friend and told her, "He's really handsome." 

I responded with mock shock and asked, "Why are you telling her that I am handsome?  You should be telling me."  This ganish a laugh from the little girl.  Then, she told me "You are eating in my house." 

The little girl and I continued to talk.  Frankly, I was amazed at how well most of the people in Siem Reap spoke English.  She asked me if i was married and I told her that I was not.  She then asked me to marry her.  She told me she was eight and I told her that in 10 years when she could marry me I would be really old and by that time she might think that I was too elderly for her.  She smiled and said that she would wait.  She was really sweet.

i asked her about where she lived and she told me she lived in the shack.  I asked where she slept and she pointed to a bed proped up on tree stumps and said "there."  I asked her where her mom and dad slept and she said in the bed too as well as her brother and sister.  Her older brother soon joined in our conversation and he was convinced that I was a professional wrestler.  I did not want to lie to the kid, but how could I let a kid like that down?  So I stretched the truth and said that I was a trainer of future wrestlers, which was really not a lie because i was a teacher at an inner-city school.  Kind of funny thinking that in Cambodia people thought I was a pro wrestler and in the States when I had really long hair, some homeless guy was convinced that I was Jesus.

The thing that really got me was how happy these two kids were.  They had basically nothing and were so excited to have me eating in their little shack.  They didn't ask me for anything and seemed to have a greater sense of contentment with just me talking with them.  For me, one of the greatest things about having the opportunity to travel is it puts my life in perspective.  One can have many materialistic items and be miserable.  At the same time, one can have nothing and be happy.  There was just something about being with those two kids and seeing their happiness that made me realize I have nothing to complain about.
scubagirl76 says:
I love it! great memory :D
Posted on: May 26, 2008
SoloSister says:
Yep - the more we get - the more we want. Sad but true!
Posted on: Dec 09, 2007
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Angkor
photo by: ulysses