So it seems everyone is wondering how different my life has become from when I lived in New York City merely two weeks ago. I suppose I haven’t written about it much because I honestly haven’t noticed a huge change.
Well, lets start with the basics. A typical day in my New York City life began with a difficult morning due to a lack of sunlight in my shoe box of a room. (Literally, my bed touched three walls and was about 6 feet from the fourth wall.) Although, my bed was super comfy and that could possibly have attributed to the impossible task of getting out of it. I would then quickly get ready and run to work, as I was almost always late. I’d grab a yogurt on the way and eat at my desk. Work for a few hours, then take a stroll to Pax Wholesome Foods and pay upwards of $10 for a salad. Albeit, these salads are delicious and made just how I like it, but…$10. I’d then go back to work for a few more hours and leave around 6pm. Upon leaving, I’d jump in the subway and ride to my gym at the south tip of Manhattan. My gym was this super expensive but totally grungy boxing gym that can only be described as a scene from Rocky 1. I’d work out for a couple hours, mingle with my trainers and boxing buddies, and usually grab another $10 salad or sandwich on the way home. Sometimes I’d cook, but rarely had the energy for it. I’d wake up the next day and lather rinse repeat. On the weekends, I would typically wake up early, go for a long run in Central Park, meet some friends for brunch, walk around the city a bit, get a fancy $20-$30 dinner, and go out for drinks. The following day was spent nursing my hangover in a dark room watching movies all day discussing life decisions with Dip. In that respect, Sundays we’re the worst and the best all at once.
Now for a day in my life in Phnom Penh. I typically wake up around 6:00 or 6:30 because Khmer’s just wake up earlier and it’s contagious. I have a huge window that looks out onto the river so I typically rise with the sunrise and the rooster’s crow. Sometimes I get out for a short 4-5 mile run along the Mekong River before breakfast. I eat some yogurt while I read Shantaram on the balcony. Sometimes I can get a few situps and pushups in as well. I then text my moto driver Sun Li to pick me up and we ride a 10 minute $1 ride to work. I come to work and smile and chitchat with the friendly guards and some of the operators. I work for a few hours and plan where I will eat lunch- $.90 Khmer place, $5 all veggie place (where they serve up some fantastic seitan), $3 Dosa spot, or the $2.50 Singaporean place. After lunch we eat sour mangoes and fruits and joke around. I get back to the office for a few more hours until about 5:30. Then I call Sun Li and he comes to get me and we go to the gym (yes, I have decided to join the fancy gym) or Lucky Supermarket or home. I usually cook dinner or meet some friends for a number of different cuisines over a bottle of wine. I sleep around 10pm on my not so comfy matress thinking about how lucky I am to live like this.
Although, I cant sit here and say I didn’t enjoy my time in NYC. It was exciting and fast and fleeting and I met a lot of people. In the 1.5 years I lived there, I had three amazing roommates who I plan to stay close with forever. I met some great people who have taught me a lot and some not so great people who have showed me how bad things can get. That time also taught me what it meant to be unhappy with my career and showed me that certain aspects of my life will always take precedence over others. And although my priorities are often extremely different than other people’s, it doesn’t mean that they are backwards. I look back on the past few years and realize that NYC made me grow up really fast. I was paying bills and managing my accounts and worrying about loans and my family and my future all at once. It was like a crash course in life and I think I passed!
I still deal with all that stuff here in Cambodia, but now it just seems to come easier. I’ve worked hard and traveled much and finally feel like I deserve to be here and enjoying my life. I realize that things are only as bad as you make them, and likewise only as great as you make them. It’s all about perspective.