The sun was rising this morning and for the first time since I arrived in Cambodia, the heat wasn’t merciless. I was headed to the Siem Reap airport to make my way to Kuala Lumpur to complete the circle and final chapter of the IndyRefugee project: personally deliver photo books and express my deep gratitude to each person that contributed their stories (provided they weren’t resettled somewhere else). As the plane descended into the city, I had this weird feeling that I was in a dream. The anticipation of seeing everyone again is overwhelming and exciting.
I know that the city will be different this time, my experience will be different (nothing is ever as it was), and Natalie isn’t with me. I have this uncanny familiarity with the city. Amidst the chaos of the airport and the city, I feel this incredible sense of peace and contentment. It’s hard to believe that an experience in a Karen refugee camp so many years ago kick started all of this.
I know that several of my good friends that live in KL have been resettled. I’m equally thrilled and sad. I’m sad that I may never see them again. Sad that I can’t hug them again. Sad that we can’t laugh together and swap stories. But I’m happy. I’m happy that they have begun to rebuild their lives.
I’m on a bus right now – on my way into the city center of Kuala Lumpur and I can hardly contain my excitement. I have a huge smile plastered on my face and am listening to the Smashing Pumpkins and staring out at the palm trees. I just got over a gnarly case of the flu and am happy to be on the uptick. It’s only a matter of hours and I’ll get to see some great friends again. More updates to come. – Katie