Thomas and I recently posted that we found an apartment to call home! We are so excited about having a place where we can invite people in and send them away more loved and encouraged than they came to us. We moved in on Monday the 14th and have spent the last week trying to complete our kitchen furnishings and add some personality to our space. Last week consisted of Internet searching, driving around & getting lost multiple times, and multiple tuk tuk rides looking for secondhand stores and stores that offered home decorations that fit our “style”.
I was SO excited to find a home furnishing store that resembled Anthropologie, but with much better prices! Can you believe that we found ANOTHER one? Seriously, not one, but TWO! My heart was so happy. Some may think it’s silly that throw pillows and colored baking pans bring me life, but it helps me feel normal amidst all of the current life-changes. Today we received a compliment from our landlord when she came to fix our door and washing machine; she said “I really like it, it’s nice, no one else’s apartments are like this”. It seems minute, but it’s the biggest encouragement to me that she will pull up a chair at our table and have a conversation with us, rather than just feel like an intruder while taking care of maintenance details. Baby steps.
Although we are settling into our apartment, the past few weeks definitely haven’t been all daisies and butterflies. The transition to Cambodia has been harder than we expected; we are no strangers to life abroad or living in high-poverty countries, so it took us by surprise to feel like we got smacked in the face after being here a few days. Without going into too much detail, things just didn’t look or feel as we expected upon arrival. I guess that’s why everyone always says have zero expectations. We are currently seeking the Lord about ministry and would truly appreciate you covering us in prayer regarding that area of our life.
Thomas & I are both extremely independent people, so for us to not know where we are or how to get around has definitely been challenging. We are both such “hit the ground running” kind of people that it has definitely been challenging. Slowly but surely we are finding our way around. We are learning (slowly) to extend grace to ourselves and to know that we don’t have to have it all figured out immediately.
For example, did you know it can take half a day to find a post office? Even when you have Google Maps on your phone and keep showing it to your driver, but they “know where they’re going”? Or over an hour to find a laundry mat that is just around the corner from your apartment (after talking to multiple people with laundry signs that just wave you away and then you return to the first one and they finally understand that you need your laundry done because your washer doesn’t work?) Then, your laundry isn’t dry because it rained all morning and you shower and dry off with paper towels because it’s the best option. Yes, that really happened. And sometimes you yell at your husband because you’re frustrated that everything is so complicated and he’s the only person around you that understands English so it’s just convenient? Yes, there have been those moments. There have been hard conversations, and grace extended, and do you really want to be here conversations. All of those too.
Amidst all of those moments, there is our landlord pulling up a chair, and our tuk tuk driver honking at us to say hi while we’re walking…there are invitations into homes in Siem Reap, conversations with strangers from Australia about community development, and the little kids on the street that yell hello! when we’re running. The little things and the baby steps of building new relationships and cultivating existing ones far outweigh the overwhelming frustrations that some days hold.
It’s just the beginning. We are so very excited about what the little things will hold, because in the end individual stones are what builds a tower, and with time, a tower becomes a fortress.
Moving day in the tuk tuk!