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2012 Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon, United States
Worldly goods
I hit the Book Relocation Project hard once again yesterday, with breaks for light reading and sudoku. There may not be room for all of the books, especially given that the bottom shelf is currently full of two-by-fours, but I still have bookcases outside the Designated Library, and it makes perfect sense that these bookcases would hold books that either aren’t easily categorized or have only a couple of examples of a category.

2011 Phsar Dey Hoy, Siem Reap, Cambodia
I got new braids at my neighborhood hairdresser's yesterday, and it was a lovely visit, the usual parade of cheerful friends and family, until the end, when a loud and overly-demonstrative young woman appeared and proceeded to talk non-stop at a volume I found much too loud for the tiny room. She didn’t speak to me at all, instead asked the hairdresser if I knew Khmer, to which I answered, "Bon-tik, bon-tuik," Khmer for "a little." She either didn't grasp or didn't care about my comprehension of her language, as she next asked the hairdresser how much she charges to braid my hair, then told her she should charge more. She was one of those rare people – especially rare here – I couldn’t wait to get away from, and after the appointment I needed to do quite a lot of sudoku to shake off her unsettling influence.
It would be lovely indeed to sit by the ocean and feast on seafood at Sihanoukville, and it would be fun to see what a Cambodian sleeper bus is like, but I realize that it’s more that I think I should go somewhere than that I really want to. I love it here, and I think I’d rather splurge on local attractions. And my friend from Bangkok will be visiting soon. I love the idea of returning his favor of taking me to a drag show when I visited Bangkok by taking him to an Apsara dance here in Siem Reap.
Yesterday’s class was one of the best I’ve ever had, and maybe I can come back some other time and volunteer here again. But for now, it's time to go, to shop for the last souvenirs, to make sure I get a taste of snake, to begin to do the things I love best for the last time.
Notes for a pair of refrigerator magnets
What I did got me here...
...but it won’t get me past here.

2010 Siem Reap, Cambodia
Khmer history
I saw the first of the local temples yesterday, the Rolous group, chronologically the earliest. Our guide spent a lot of yesterday giving us historical background on the early temples as we sat in the shade, then took us to Banteay Srei, an enchanting temple, small in scale, delicate in design, and intimate in ambiance. Toward the end of the day, he brought us into modern history at Siem Reap’s memorial to the Killing Fields, a stupa filled with bones and skulls. We stood before the remains, speculating on what might have been Pol Pot’s grand plan, as night was falling. Thank goodness we had one more place to go. Our guide had just gotten approval to start a school for 80 of Cambodia's brightest young women, and we went to see the classrooms and dormitories, and meet 19 young women who have already begun to study and live there. I’m wondering if I’ve found my project for next year.

2009 Debica, Poland
Notes from underground
I woke suddenly, but not in fear or relief, rather in calm reflection, from a dream in which I was under the impression I was dying and the time was getting close. I was with someone I think may have been an intimate partner, but he kept physical distance between us, perhaps dealing with his own overwhelming feelings that way. I wanted the very last moments to be good ones, and I tried to think of something to sing, and chose Amazing Grace. The description of eternity made me us both cry.
You’re depressed, said my friend and Polish teacher when she took me to buy purple thread and I told her how long the hem of my purple jumper has been held up with safety pins. Those are scary words. No matter how I am feeling, I have less time today than I had yesterday.

2007 Parque Xalteva, Granada, Nicaragua
I hear parrots flying overhead, what joy, and not the only joy. I discovered leaf-cutter ants in the courtyard recently, not a freeway, such as I have seen outside the city, which is just as well, because someone would probably think about extermination. No, you have to look for these industrious neighbors, but they are there, gathering their small bounty from the garden and storing it somewhere beyond the little metal grate beneath where my chair hangs. Yesterday I decided to give them a hand, so I moved a hibiscus from twenty feet away to one foot away from their digs. This morning there is no trace of it.

2006 St. Johns, Portland, Oregon, United States
Notes from underground
I dreamed of him. When things are tough between us, I have clearly comforting dreams. When things are good, I have vaguely unsettling dreams. First I was trying to park my car in a very low carport and I was trying to figure out how to close the roof. He appeared to help, but he had long stringy orange hair, sideburns, and aviator sunglasses. “This is the real me, my new business,” he said, but I can’t recall what language we were speaking. “I don’t like it,” I replied, then went looking for something to read to take with me to another part of the house. I remember that what I found was in his language, in a funny, sweet and charming font.

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