When Familiar Becomes Foreign

While I was visiting my family and friends back home I heard a lot of, “You always write about the things you do, but we have no idea what your actual job is!”

Officially, I am the communications officer for PEPY Tours, an educational travel company. I am also part of the communications team for Learning Service, an advocacy group started by PEPY Tours promoting responsible volunteering practices. Besides managing our social media, which is essentially me talking to myself:

PEPY Tours: Check out what Learning Service is doing!

Learning Service: Thanks for sharing, PEPY Tours!

PEPY Tours: No problemo!

I also maintain our relationships with partner organizations, which includes writing a lot of articles, guest posts, etc. This past week I wrote an article for one of our partners, Everyday Ambassador, about the importance of keeping connected with our community back home even when it’s hard to relate:

When Familiar Becomes Foreign 

Weaving through Angkor Archaeological Park, we zipped past the mighty Angkor Wat on our way to a remote pagoda. I swiveled on the back of my friend Sreyneang’s motorbike to catch one last glance at the ancient temple before it disappeared from sight. Tourists lined streets, buying up elephant pants and snapping photos.

We stopped at the end of a dirt road and climbed the steep, concrete pagoda stairs. Sreyneang chatted with a brightly robed monk, asking in rapid Khmer if he would perform a water blessing for us. He set out a donation tray and motioned for us to have a seat on the woven mat in front of him. Raising his voice over the chatter of young monks watching a boxing match he recited a series of chants, tied red strings around our wrists, and instructed us to change for the water blessing.

Moving to another country introduces new ideas, beliefs, and cultural practices. At first, everything is foreign and confusing, but gradually the “otherness” begins to fade. The once shocking sight of women going about town in brightly colored pajama sets blurs into the background, and drinking from coconuts and hopping on the back of motorcycle taxis becomes part of your daily routine.

Please hop over to EverydayAmbassador.org to read the rest!

I know it’s not a complete run down of my day-to-day life, but hopefully this gives you a better idea of what I’m doing with the majority of my time (and the reason why blogging when I get home is usually the last thing on my mind…).

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