What's Next

I'm not one to lament something until it's gone -- I tend to gaze forward. There's plenty of value in recognizing the value of where you _are_, but I'm at a point in my life (hello twenty-something male with ambition!) where I'm much more focused on where I _could be_. I also seem better at it. In more direct words: I don't feel very sad about this chapter ending. I look forward to the coming adventure in California.

There are plenty of good things that happened on this vacation. I have seen some amazing natural beauty, visited some stunning ancient architecture, learned how much I need to stand up for my own needs, and met the buried grace of the Khmer. I'm sure after I peruse my photos again I'll be reminded of other bits I enjoyed.

I grew a lot as a person, but not all of the trip was altogether _fun_. I realized that a good deal of my enjoyment of China was the self-affirmation I received from social success with the other western students, which was markedly absent. And that I expected some of that experience on this trip but it was notably absent. Erin and I had some bitter moments finding new balances of control in our relationship. Finally, what was on my last trip to Asia a quaint fondness for a bartering/swindling economy was now a frustration that soured many an experience. The bad and the good made a strong concoction that wore me down, and I'm generally an extremely patient and enduring person.

On the bus ride home tonight Erin began lamenting to me about how much she will miss this slice of the world. I realized that I really don't share that sentiment. I liked my trip here and all the ways I learned and grew. But there were growing pains this time out. Overall I'm pleased to move on to what's next.

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