A PEPY Visitor Shares Their Story

Posted on: January 17, 2011 Posted by: Manin Oem Comments: 0

A PEPY Visitor Shares Their Story

These past few months we have had many guests visiting us from around the world: each of the PEPY board members (those who are not living in Cambodia) have come out to visit, family members of some of our foreign team have come out to see what life in Cambodia is like (Thank you Heirmans, Kronks, and Sirena – thanks for the visits!), friends who have been organizing fundraising events around the world for us came to see the changes at PEPY and learn what their efforts are supporting (Thank you Drew, Rakesh, Kamelia, and Waleed!), and many more of you have popped by the office to say hi on your travels.  In November, we had a very busy Thanksgiving with lots of guests and reasons to be thankful!

Jess Miller, who works for an engineering firm in Cambodia who also teaches classes in local schools to inspire students to pursue engineering degrees, brought her sister Lindsay to Siem Reap on her visit.  Thank goodness Lindsay was here as none of the rest of us knew how to cook a turkey!  Lindsay wrote some reflections about her time in Cambodia and redefined the word “awe” for us.  Read up!


Definitions of Awe From the Days of Miracle and Wonder

by Lindsay Miller

I recently came to Cambodia (Nov 12th-27th to be exact) to visit my older sister, Jess, who has been living in Phnom Penh and working as an engineer since April 2009.
I am now back from this trip, sitting in my local coffee shop and trying to think of something profound to write for PEPY’s newsletter that I happily and humbly asked to contribute to. And as with most blank, white Word documents I’ve stared at during my 27 years, I am not sure how to begin.
As an exercise, I ask myself to pick one word that best describes my trip. The word I settle on is ‘awe’. Awe, by definition, is “an overwhelming feeling of wonder or admiration.” I am privileged to share my definition of awe from those two weeks:
…A people who welcomed me into their homes, took interest in me, trusted my abilities and made me feel special without even knowing my last name…
…A country who was brought, against its will, to a place so evil it is impossible for me to fathom how they have risen above it, a mere three decades later…
…An older sister whose bravery in a foreign land I don’t know I could match, a disabled twin sister whose bravery in our homeland I know for certain I could never match…
…A world whose beauty in moonlit jungles, smiling, sun-stained faces and the soft singing of a child who was unaware of the hard life before him I cried over…
…A world whose injustices of poverty, sickness, waste and genocide I cried over…
…The rabbit I now see in the shadows of the full moon—a Cambodian folklore shown to me by a new friend…
…The appreciation and peace I feel back in my everyday life, for the realization that your problems are only as big as you make them…
…The profound love I feel for the person who I had never spent more than a few days apart from, knowing that I can survive on my own, but don’t want to…
…The understanding that we have no control over the life we are born into, only the life we leave behind…
…The opportunities in my life I have taken for granted and now consider gifts—endless education, choice in my profession, access to sound healthcare, democracy, clean water and food, a family who has been able to celebrate life together…
…The strength and specialness of cultural traditions—being able to teach and share my own and vice versa with new friends on the other side of the world…
…The privilege to fly in an airplane, thinking of those who cannot and will never know the view from the above the clouds…
There are so many more…
One of my favorite musicians, Paul Simon, once wrote in the song “The Boy in the Bubble:” “These are the days of miracles and wonder”… to me, that is the perfect definition of my experience in Cambodia, and to be honest, life in general—every day is a miracle and everyday, if you allow it, if you seek it, if you surrender to it, it will bring you wonder.
I wish you all days of miracle, wonder, and awe in the New Year.