That Thing That Time Does

I can’t believe there’s just one month left.

At work these days, I find myself just staring at my staff, appreciating what I’ve learned from them, wanting to etch their faces and their warmth into my memory forever. Perhaps more than anything else, I will miss them most dearly.  The other day during a job interview they asked me what I liked most about my job and I said “The Lao people that I work with. I’ve learned so much from them about what it means to be alive in the 21st century.”  I credit them with my having lasted as long as I have.

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I can’t believe there’s just one month left.

During my commutes to and from work these days, I find myself not just looking at the things that I pass, but describing them to myself.  I try to let nothing go unnoticed.  As I nod to this passing tuk-tuk driver, wave to a friend heading in the opposite direction, or smile at the shop owners on the side of the street, I take a few extra moments to soak in the luxury of being familiar, the ease of being just me and a bike traveling unenclosed, the sun warming my back.

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I can’t believe there’s just one month left.

At home these days, I just can’t get enough time with my roommates.  The days that we’re all home for dinner together are the best.  I love the routine we’ve fallen into: I help wash and cut the vegetables, set the table, bring out the rice, and make the dipping sauce.  Either I or my Canadian roommate says grace. There’s delicious Vietnamese food almost every night.  I beg my roommate for the recipes.  We eat family style. I “adopt” the chilies in the dishes, making sure they all have a home in my stomach. I eat so much fish sauce that Khanh jokes I’m more Vietnamese than she is now. We have fruit and/or home-made frozen yogurt for dessert. We eat the frozen yogurt from bags. I wash dishes when we’re done.

I can’t believe there’s just one month left.

As I reflect on my time here these days, I’m grateful for the people whose support and friendship have smoothed the road out for me here.

I can’t believe I’ve almost made it.

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