Friday, September 19, 2014

Just Another Day in Cambodia

 A couple of years ago I went to Cambodia to do some office work in a non-profit organization there called Cambodian Children’s Fund ( I was the only American in the office and during the day there was no one to turn to and say… Did that really just happen? So at the end of the day I would shoot off an email to my friends and family so they could share in the “fun.” This is just one of the many adventures from those two trips. Enjoy!

May 26, 2011
I took a TukTuk home again tonight and it was raining pretty hard. When I got back to my hotel room all I wanted to do was pee and shower. As is my usual, I got my key from the front desk guy and headed up 3 flights of stairs to my room. Now on the way to my room I pass #28, 18, 16, and 20 (in that order) before I get to 26 - my room which is on the third floor. I open the door. Put the key in the special slot so I can activate the electricity. Walk thru the kitchenette area to the bedroom so I can turn on the A/C cause it’s 104. Drop my bags. Take off my shoes and head for the bathroom. This is the part where I discover that the previously cracked and leaking bathtub IS MISSING!!!!!!  Yes, you read that correctly. A construction guy came by today without my knowledge and removed the broken bathtub.  Apparently he didn’t have time to put in the new on though. (The new one is sitting in the lobby by the way. I walked by it on my way in.)

Soooooooooo I take a deep breath, walk back downstairs and explain to the kid at the desk that I have NO BATHTUB! He asks me if I am sure and he asks me to to show him...... um... cause maybe I’ve just misplaced it? This is when the manager walks out of his apartment (#28 on the first floor) and I begin to explain to him that my bathtub is missing.

They suggest that I use the shower in the room above me which is empty. OK.... Are you moving me to that room? No. Just use the shower until we get your bathtub put in. When will that bad? We think tomorrow.

Why not just move to the other room permanently? Someone else is moving in to that room tomorrow. So you want me to go up another flight of stairs, take a shower and then go back to my room? I'm going to lug all my bathing items and clean clothes up one floor and then take it all back down with me when I'm done. You want me to do this tonight and again tomorrow morning. Um...... no that won't work. I have no intention of walking around this place in my pajamas. But there is a language barrier. I'm exhausted and I REALLY just want to get out of my soaking wet clothes. This conversation is going nowhere fast.

Sigh..... I just took a shower without a bathtub or a shower stall. Please see attached picture and feel free to laugh and hold your sides in pain at my expense. Cause I would be laughing my ass off if this happened to one of you. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hope for the best. Then take action to make it happen.

My co-worker/friend/last line of defense against insanity and I were talking about Hope the other day. We hope for so many things from the ordinary to the amazing – the perfect pair of shoes (me), for the Raiders to make it to the SuperBowl (JB) , to find someone to love us and accept us as we are, a job that is fulfilling and fun, a month long all expenses paid vacation, a healthy and happy family. Hope is a part of every day in so many ways. I believe that somewhere in the human DNA is a “hope gene”. It is what pushes us to explore and move beyond our current life, to reach for the next thing. But is hope all it takes?

JB told me a couple of weeks ago that I am a hopeless romantic, rooted in reality. I thought this was a pretty apt description. Because while I may hope for something I also understand that it won’t just happen, that everything in life requires action. Yes, when I was younger I spent hours dreaming about my future – career, love, family and an amazing place to live. As an adult I know that having all of those things is a direct result of my choices and actions. I have an amazing job because I spent years working hard, learning as much as I could and building a solid reputation. I have the love of my life because I took a risk and opened up my heart. I live in LA because, well I was going to say because I took a leap, but really it is because Reb told me if I wasn’t on her doorstep by Labor Day she was going to kick my butt. (Thanks for the push Reb!)

The things I hoped for only came to be when I put action to them.  If you read the autobiography of any larger than life success you will see the same theme They were all hoping for a better future whether they were starting from nothing, the middle or closer to the top. The hoped for more and it only became reality because of the choices they made and the actions they took.  Hope alone is not enough. It is only the beginning. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Perfect Moment

Have you ever seen Mary Poppins? Remember the scene where she pulls out the tape measure to “see how they measure up”. Michael is “extremely stubborn and suspicious.” Jane is “rather inclined to giggle and doesn’t put things away.” And then there is Mary Poppins, “Practically Perfect in Every Way.”  This is after she has pulled all manner of useful objects out of her carpet bag. Clearly this is a woman prepared for any circumstance and armed for anything life could toss at her. She is a woman after my own heart.

As a child I was swept up in the magic and whimsy of the movie but I didn’t understand the real lesson it was meant to teach me until a few years ago. You see all the golden moments of that movie are not because of Mary Poppins’ planning and scheduling but courtesy of Bert the man who can’t seem to commit to a career and has no concept of time.  I mean they jump into a sidewalk chalk painting and end up winning a horse race, sing with chimney sweeps and laugh so hard they float to the ceiling. Such fun and all a result of misadventures and spontaneity. 

I really understood this a few years ago when I took my nieces and nephews on a train ride – A Wild West Train Robber Train Ride to be exact. I had planned this trip beginning to end and prepared for every possible scenario; parking, snacks, lunch, dinner, everything. I was determined this would be the best day ever. And it was, but not because of my careful planning.  The golden moment that we will remember forever was when my nephews made the actors break character and laugh. 

Before the fake robbery started we had been given monopoly money to surrender when we were “robbed”. Els hid his money down his shirt and K put his in his sock.  When the “robbers” came thru the first time they each gave up a dollar or two and pretended it was all they had.  On the second pass thru, they both stalled a bit before surrendering their hidden stash. The robbers bust out laughing and it took a full minute before the play resumed.  My nephews were beyond pleased with themselves and the day has become an entire chapter of our family story. 

No amount of planning on my part could have produced this PERFECT moment. It just happened, courtesy of two little boys full of mischief.