And so it begins…

Julia, Wilson intern from the Spring semester checking in! My adventures for this summer are taking me a little farther away from our dear garden campus and the artsy offerings of the general LA metropolis, but they should be no less exciting…

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I’m on the road again. Or, if I am striving for descriptive accuracy, I’m in the air again. I’m filled with a familiar feeling of anticipation, the familiar thrill of travel with its promise of new sights, new smells, new experiences, and that familiar tingle of nervousness, of not knowing what to expect.

All these familiar emotions, but this time an unfamiliar destination, not to mention an unexpected one. Had you asked me 2 months ago what my plans were for this summer, I would have automatically replied that I was going to home-sweet-home. It would have been a lovely summer, I am sure, defined by quality time with the family, catching up with old friends, working, and exploring various creative pursuits that would not involve baking for long periods of time in a relentless Arizonan sun.

And though, as any typical Arizonan, I may nonchalantly dismiss the insanity of 120 degree heat with, “…but it’s a dryyyy heat!” (as if that made it any better), who knew that I’d willingly exchange that “dry” heat for it’s evil stepsister, one that is characterized by a word that would make any Arizonan shudder: humidity. Instead of a crispy, burning heat, I am now going to be living in that sweltering, inescapable heat that blankets you, suffocates you, and wraps you up in its clingy moist tendrils. I’ll be in the heat that swells with the knowledge of daily thunderstorms and trembles with potential droplets of a monsoon season that dominates from the months of May to October.

Well, this is what I forsee, as my raging imagination makes me drip imaginary sweat drops in this sterile, air-conditioned airport in Taipei, waiting for my transfer flight to…

Phnom Pehn, Cambodia.

Oh, great city, what adventures do you have in store for me?

What delights, what beauties, what surprises, what contradictions from your rich and dark past will you unveil to me?

Dear, Phnom Penh, who are you, what are you? Will I come to understand you or even begin to?

I speak not the language of your streets, but I hope to become familiar. Accept me as friendly traveler hoping to make a home with you for the next two months. Please accept my outstretched hand of friendship.

And so a Scrippsie/Wilson Intern/Arizonan ventures 8500-some miles from home, lured by the calls of an internship and the whispers of new possibilities.

With a Lonely Planet travel guide in one hand, a (hopefully) adequately packed suitcase in the other, a pack on my back, a single khmer phrase on my lips (Sua s’dei! =hello in Khmer, the language of Cambodia), and a heart hesitant, but hopeful, I set out.

Phnom Penh, here I come.