A Travellerspoint blog

Thank you...

330 <3

Thank to you my Mom and Dad for their love and support on this trip and in the months leading up to it. For not being sure about my choice to come here but being excited for me anyway.
Thank you to Pierson, Lindsay and Jay for getting me really wasted one day which pushed the idea of coming here to the forefront. Apologies to the patrons of the bars who had to answer the question " If you met a boy/girl tomorrow and they asked you to go to Cambodia would you go?"
Thank you to Kent Schmidgall for keeping me insured on this trip.
Thank you all my friends and family in Akron that came to have tacos with me before I left on this journey.
Thank you Francesco Renna for the beers and conversation and sharing with me your own journey and reminding me that life is fragile and taking chances is one of the few excitements we get in this life.
Thank you to Amanda and April for the going away beers and a few nights out in Akron and Barberton and places I would probably have never visited, especially the Corner Cafe.
Thank you to Katie for the world map that I got to hang on my bedroom wall to keep me focused for the 12 months leading up to my leaving.
Thank you to Five Guys for providing me a quality job that allowed me to save the money to come here.
Thank you to the BV crew for an awesome week at SXSW in Austin, TX.
Thank you to Monique for inviting me to New York City and taking me to two fantastic burger spots and actually taking time off work. I know that was hard for you :)
Thank you to Matt and Ruth Kaplan for enjoying both of those burger experiences with me and for sending me off.
Thank you to Joey and Jen Wildroudt and Matt and Kathy Krietemeyer for the Kindle Fire which has kept me occupied a lot during this trip in the down moments. It also provided hours of entertainment for the kids at the center, mini fruit ninjas.
Thank you Angie for the conversations and the support of knowing what is like to be 31 and wondering what a career actually is.
Thank you to Facebook and Skype for keeping me in touch with everyone.
Thank you Molly for the support from India and understanding the difficulties of living in Asia.
Thank you Jonathan for my first month here and a lifetime of pictures and memories and getting me out of my comfort zone.
Thank you Coralie, Camille, Rudy, Nick, Ben, Beth, Adam and Barry for being some of the best dorm mates a guy could ever ask for.
Thank you Christy for visiting me during your travels.
Thank you Mirjam for the chats about life.
Thank you Arian for seeing me off in Austin, TX and for being an inspiration and a reason to be on this journey.
Thank you Izzy for your words of encouragement through all of my doubts and your advice and the mini backpack and neckerchief.
Thank you to Beth and Mark and Lila for the unexpected Skype chat when I first arrived and making me feel a little less homesick.
Thank you Borey for being one of the hardest working people I have ever met and reminding me to take a job and make it your own and to do it 110%. I do not think anyone makes better cocktails and no one makes them with more pride and customer service.
Thank you to the Faulds family for providing me a few warm meals and conversations and giving me that family feeling away from my own.
Thank you to the Mad Monkey and staff for making me feel like this was my home and providing me endless hour of conversation and laughs.
Thank you Melissa for understanding that I needed to go and volunteer and for doing your best to accept my leaving.
Thank you to everyone at ANDC for providing me with tasks at the center and being helpful and being appreciative.
Thank you to Annette for giving me the opportunity to come here.
Thank you to ESPN for putting the ANDC story on the website and planting the seed.
Thank you Joseph sir for keeping me on my toes with your prodding emails and advice and for allowing me to continue working at Five Guys even when you knew I was coming here. Your mentoring has been priceless.
Thank you to Dana and Rachel for your timely messages and facebook posts and always providing me with a smile.
Thank you to my sister Julie for probably never understanding me but always supporting what I do, I could not ask for more from a sister.
Thank you to John Mayer for the album Born and Raised and your rebirth.
Thank you America for not allowing smoking almost anywhere. Asia get on that.
Thank you lucky burger for doing your best to imitate mcdonalds. Chipotle please come to Asia soon.
Thank you Therak and Darren for being some amazing drivers and for being even better friends during my time here.
Thank you to the USA doughnut shop for feeding me breakfast every morning and chipping in a few extra doughnut holes for my loyalty.
Thank you Circa 51 for the greatest pool outside of Udall.
Thank you Cambodia for allowing me to lose weight.
Thank to the VIP gym for allowing me to work out for $1 a day, well $1.50 now.
Thank you to the french bakery Comme a Le Maison bakery for my nightly dinner of your fresh and delicious baguettes.
Thank you to the bootleg DVD guy who helped make the rainy days go by faster.
Thank you to the guy who invented bicycles because I have loved being on one again and that being how I get around this city.
Thank you to Flavour restaurant for providing the best New Year's Ever party ( impromptu) that I have ever attended.
Thank you to Canadia Bank for having fee free ATMS here in Cambodia.
Thank you Elena for the delicious cupcakes on the day of my departure.
Thank you to the Garcia's for the going away party and all of the FIve Guys employees who showed up.
Thank you to Uncle Bill Immler for the discussion about Lebron, Walden, and life in general. Your insight and wisdom were needed on this trip.
Thank you to the ANDC kids for the reminder of what it is like to be young and full of hope and reminding me that kids will always be the future and it is up to us as adults not to screw it up.

Thank you to all the friends and family that have just talked with me on this trip and read this blog and made me feel like I accomplished something. You have been my inspiration and my hope and I am forever grateful for that. I hope I did not forget anyone or anything but I guess that is the risk you take in these sorts of messages. You are loved and your story is important today. I am done with this blog and writing but not traveling. One last question....What do you love?

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Posted by shykes21 23:46 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

School Daze..

The kids take over the photo booth and I might as well join them

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Posted by shykes21 01:52 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Cause wherever you are, Home is there too...

7464108298_5d9fe1d2b3.jpgRebecca and Renee Faulds with Noy and Savy
7464108472_72e15032b8.jpgTola
7464109612_9dedba899c.jpgSreylyn and Vanny
7464109986_ae174fa552.jpgMek and Kakada ( green)
7464110644_d5893a3530.jpgVandy and Phanouth
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7464111284_d566e47b06.jpgPhanouth
7464111488_6b87f14d7e.jpgVirak
7464087704_e896a9358b.jpgDonut cashier and myself 7464088134_154a25a52c.jpg
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7392561634_d32d5554c0.jpgTherak (tuk tuk driver) and Mad Monkey bartender
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7392563246_258e964654.jpg Nei, housekeeper at Mad Monkey
7392557846_acc58bd4d3.jpg Theany and Buma
7392558140_574ae0e21f.jpg Buma and Phalan
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Posted by shykes21 18:29 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Chosen Won

"So it's tough being Bobby Brown, To be Bobby then, you have to be Bobby now..."

On this journey I look for inspiration anywhere I can find it. I have always over thought things and had to be talked down from my complex thoughts by friends and loved ones. Maybe I carry too much pride with me or maybe I hold myself to too high of a standard. As a good friend told me this week " I am a good person but I am also my own worst enemy".
And that explains in a large part why a title for Lebron was a joyful moment for myself. I received a lot of comments about that by posting my excitement on facebook and there is no doubt that part of me likes to stir pots. But in this case I meant it. I had goosebumps as I watched him raise the trophy and saw him seize the moment and put together a historical run. And before I alienate everyone reading understand that I hated Lebron for leaving. I along with most Ohioans called him a traitor and said I hoped the heat went 0-82 and so on. I rooted for the Mavericks last year and loved watching Lebron lose in the finals and endure another off season of critics.
Yet something changed all of that for me. It was an apology. It was the admittance of him that he made an immature decision and he needed to grow up and go back to playing the game for love. Not that he was giving up any of his ridiculous paychecks but just that he was going to play the game the way he always had and he would accept those results. And this was on top of a summer where he pushed himself harder than he ever had. And all of that made sense to me. I gained a lot of perspective on this idea that we should admit our mistakes and we should own them and then we should go back and work twice as hard on the things we know and love.
It has been 3 years since my whole life changed when I left accounting and I left behind the life I had enjoyed up to that point. The decision to leave accounting was not made for me but the decision to leave the rest of it was mine. It was not an easy one and it still bothers me to this day but I have accepted all the mistakes I made and I internalized them and vowed to work harder to do things differently. I started back at the bottom at Macaroni Grill and 5 guys. I moved out of the state to work on those things that haunted me, that kept me awake. I gave up a lot when I did that. I gave up a relationship, friends, and family.
And here I sit 8,522 miles from that decision, having watched the greatest player to come out of Akron hold up a trophy. And I reflected on my own decisions and how I got to this point. How I was finally trying to help others in another place where the needs are great. How I somehow made it out and on my own and how hard all of it had become. And look, its not harder than anything else anyone has done but in our life things can be difficult. I do not want to make comparisons I just know I empathized. And when I thought about it all I think I kind of knew how he felt. Maybe it looked liked he turned his back on people. Maybe it seemed he ripped out some hearts along the way and maybe he was immature about the way he did it. And yet at some point he realized all of this and apologized and move forward. And he got his title. I think he deserved it. I think he worked hard for it. And I think forgiveness is at the center of all of the most important stories in this world.
In the end, I would not change my life for anything but I wish I had been more mature in my decisions. And as I think about Lebron holding up that trophy I realized the hard work does pay off. That we can come out the other side of bad decisions and be better off for them. I hope in your own story you find forgiveness. I hope that you remember to forgive others. And I hope we all remember to get back to the basic things that make us happy. Doing the things we love and making the journeys we need to make because they are important to our story. And 3 years later I am back to those basics. And sometimes its nice to realize we are not alone. I am not worth millions and I didn't anger an entire state or country with my own choices but I am glad that someone as big as Lebron can fail with all the talent in the world. And I am further glad that he could regroup and succeed. We should all want that redemption and be big enough to enjoy our worst enemies success. And in doing that we will find our own too....

With the same sword they knight you, they gon' good night you with
That's only half if they like you
That ain't even the half what they might do
Don't believe me, ask Michael
See Martin, see Malcolm
See Biggie, see Pac, see success and its outcome
See Jesus, see Judas
See Caesar, see Brutus, see success is like suicide
Suicide, it's a suicide
If you succeed, prepare to be crucified
Media meddles, people sue you, you settle
Every step you take, they remind you you're ghetto
So it's tough being Bobby Brown
To be Bobby then, you have to be Bobby now
And the question is, "Is to have had and lost
Better than not having at all?"

Posted by shykes21 05:39 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

So pier you hurt my ear

A short story by Steven Hykes

sunny 89 °F

There is a new student at the center, a sibling of one of the current students and his name is Sophear. Sophear is 10 and when he came to the center 3 weeks ago he knew no English and his reading and writing skills in Khmer were equally as poor. But through the diligence of a volunteer tutor and his teachers he has begun speaking English and going through the alphabet and his numbers.
I speak to him as though he understands English like an adult. I speak to all the kids that way. And today little Sophear was making it his mission in life to pick a scab off his forehead. I moved his hand away many times and said no but he insisted on picking at it. Maybe it was a game. Little to my surprise he was crying for the next hour when the scab was picked off and now this bleeding sore was causing him a lot of pain. Finally though he was taken upstairs by the assistant manager and bandaged up proper and told to leave it alone. Guess who gets stuck with the crying boy who only wants to ever play games on the computer?
He was set up with a laptop which was running through his alphabet and numbers via video and I watched him try and then become bored and then lay on the floor and awaited him to resume crying. Instead he started going through his alphabet and when he found an earring on the floor he began to rub his bandaid with it and maybe take away the itch or pain? And as I snatched away this earring he got up and went back to learning for a few minutes.
He gave up on learning for another few minutes and proceeded to find my book bag and my wallet and count my precious funds. He was learning in the way kids do, on their own time. And then he rediscovered the earring and the holes in my ears from when I used to have mine pierced 10 years ago and he proceeded to re-pierce my right one. I howled Oyyyyy in pain and he giggled just for a second and then he proceeded to give me the biggest hug such a little guy could muster. It was all I could do to keep from crying tears of joy as we bonded. The hug was from someplace outside of his little body and I felt it come through both of us.
Maybe he just wanted me to feel his pain. Maybe he was saying thank you for the tough love. Maybe we are bonding as outsiders of this center. We are both learning something new each day....

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Posted by shykes21 06:42 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

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