Happy New Year from Cambodia! doesn't feel like it is new year at all here. haha
Lately, I am often mistaken as Khmer (local cambodian). Anywhere I go, I am mistaken as local. I feel like i am a chameleon.
I am currently working 3 jobs. at night, I work at a bar which Japanese owns. It's pretty fun working here.
Last night, at the bar I was told an extraordinary story from this Cambodian lady who runs a hair salon two doors down from the bar I work at.
She looked into my eyes and started telling me her story at her younger age.
She got kicked out from the house at the age of 14th, started a street life. Picking up food from the garbage of local market to survive. Her friends from the streets taught her how to eat snakes, cockroaches and rats. Chop the heads of rats and rip the skin, remove the intestines and eat. Everything to survive. She earned the skill to live on the streets.
When she was 16, she met a japanese guy who is 20 years older than her, he took her to Japan when she was 17, and gave her life there. She lived in Japan for 4 years until she went back to Cambodia at the age of 21. She worked double shifts, doing the dishes at a restaurant during the day and clean at a bar during the night in Roppongi until the first train to go back to Ibaraki, where she resides with her husband (the Japanese guy who found her on the street) and his family. The surprising and shocking thing she has told me is that she cannot eat fresh cooked food. That is because she was fed leftover food 2 days ago by her mother in law. As she was telling me the very shocking story tears were rolling down on her cheek. I was very shocked and didnt know what to say. She came back to Cambodia and bought a 5 floor building which she has her beauty salon on the first floor now. Despite her very shocking experience in Japan, She told me she loves japanese people but nothing make herself feel home except the strong sun in Cambodia and birds chapping sounds on the streets of Cambodia.
In country sides of cambodia, It is very common thing for parents to sell their children to western guys for about 5000$. The minimum wage for local people who works on the streets is about 100$. So you can imagine what 5000$ worth for the people here. It is unbelievable fact. She runs a beauty salon and it is supported by Japanese NGO association. She passes along her skills to the young girls in Cambodia to prevent the kids to be sold to western guys.
She is now 32 years old. She told me she likes AC, elevator, escalator, and hot shower all the western cultures too but She can never forget where she is coming from. Cambodia only makes her feel its home. Nothing can replace that.
It was pretty hard to imagine what she has been through from her bright and lovely smile.
Million people has millions stories tell. I am stoked for what 2016 brings in!
my journey to be continued..