Wednesday, December 09, 2009



Attending church
I hear the sounds of hope
And see angelic prayers
Uttered in sincere abandon
Yet somehow that faith has abandoned me
And I just can't find it again
If I could believe I would
If I could return to that safer place
In a moment I'd resign myself.
Instead I am condemned
A prisoner of my own 'truth'
Left alone
To lick my wounds
And recognize
That there's no hope for tomorrow
That today is all we have
Yet I'm okay with that
I can accept a dreamless sleep
After a life long spent
In heavy toil
It to me is a comfort
Knowing that this moment is so precious
And no one can take that away from me
Not God, not Death
Only Despair
And I chase him away
With love, with hope
And most of all,
With art.

Denis Kucharski

My friend Kim from work passed this piece off to me. I love work for this! This piece suits the season in my life right now. Art is now my escape.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Repost Top 5: 2008

Writing the new Top 5 for 2009 and it's strange to see how much my life has changed in the past year - it kinda shocked me. Wow I felt sooooo innocent. I can't wait to see what thoughts emerge this year.


Top 5 :: Beach, Biking and Mondays :: Nov 2008

Hey everyone,

It's that season again. Can you believe that a year has past since my last top 5? At the request of friends I continually get emails > When are you coming home? And how come you don't share “real” stories about your trips? Well hopefully this rant will bridge some gaps in the past year.

On some other cool news I got offered a position to stay in Cambodia until May? My job is to guide a couple trips, do a little fundraising, and hopefully I get to read some stories to some kids [in Khmer!]. It’s a pretty cool job and I am really blessed to be a part of it. I miss Toronto and my friends terribly but this path is what I feel destined to do.

I am extremely nervous about sharing this Top 5 – more than the norm. This post has been sitting on my desktop for at least 3 months. My hands are shaking as I type this - so I hope you enjoy it as I bare part of my soul.

So let’s start the journey.
It's been a boring year for traveling: with no illegal border crossings, no avoiding army check points, no sneaking into UN refugee camps and I didn’t get robbed once [okay well that just happened a couple weeks ago] But it’s been a season of a deeper travels instead, this year I have had to wrestle closets demons and end seasons in my life. This season has shown me more about my personal life, dreams and of course living on an empty wallet [yeah that got stolen as well]. It’s all lead to a deeper peace about my calling in life.

So after 10 years of travel I realized that I am not eternal and that one day that bus will flip over, that plane will crash or some punk kid will get lucky and get more than my wallet.
Life is too short to dwell on those possibilities but I am peaceful regardless of any outcome.

1. Sue + Biking = Cambodia?

Last year's random meetup with Sue at a Queen West Art show in Toronto got me thinking about biking, especially after my adventures in Tibet. Sue’s a hardcore city biker and after a cup of coffee I was willing to face the fear of city biking.

I purchased Chuck Norris an electric bike similar to what I rented in Cambodia 2 years earlier. Unfortunately Chuck Norris was too ahead of his time for Toronto, but he did make ALOT of friends [once a cop stopped traffic to ask me what I was riding and then told off an angry driver to let me pass] Chuck had to be chucked due to constant repair but I was hooked-line-and-chain.

Soon after Jackie Chan entered my life, unfortunately 3 weeks later in repair he got sidekicked and lost more than a couple balls. During my escapades with the Chan, he whispered that I should apply for an internship with a biking NGO in Cambodia.

Next came Jet Li, he was a little too swift for the west side and while rockin out to the Go! Team - his skinny hipster tires fit right into a drain and I flipped over the handle bars. After a while in the x-ray dept, I knew that I fell in love with city biking.

Cambodia is the craziest/coolest place to city bike - your life hangs in the balance on every bike ride. One minute you are talking to the person next to you and the next second their [or your] ass is on the asphalt as they just got run over by a motorcycle… but then again you can do anything in the world you want to do on a Cambodian road as long as you do it slowly.

I heart it here and I bike a lot in the city.
Thanks Sue.

2. I am way tooo young to feel and see this shit...

Dear God,

You are cool – I like you. You are also quite quick. You created the earth, my future wife and gummi bears in less than 6 days! You and Jack Bauer should chat sometime, I thought he had long days. So did you really rest on the seventh day or was there an eternal “plan” to show me the shit I witnessed in March?

I understand that 10 years ago you wanted me to work in a children’s home in the Carribean. You guided me through some intense relationships with them and I was blessed to watch them grow up from the cradle to the cricket pitch. Kinda like a Cain and Abel thing but without any annoying animal sacrifices.

Seven years later you decided that the path would change and you sent me to Momma T’s in Kolkata. Eternally grateful, that path rocked my world.

So I was quite excited to save up my pennies and make the return journey to see my kids. I was even hinting to you that I wanted to go back to the home and work.

I know you are the master of micro managing since you apparently had a hand in creating every blade of grass, so I knew that things would evolve in Trinidad – little did I know what evolution meant.

I didn’t expect more than half of my kids to be out of the system, a couple on the verge of a mental homeless breakdown, and one living on the street with HIV. You shocked me with your work on that one. Many will defend you to the death for this - including the one with HIV, but it’s obvious that he will soon visit you – especially since you don’t believe in condoms and sexual education.

Yes that’s harsh.

My view on development and you shifted completely, and for more than a month I found myself staring out the window thinking about your “will” and my kids. It drove me to the point of tears sometimes in the middle of a class presentation.

Why God? Why? Was it the fact that more than $100,000 was spent on each kid over 10 years? Was that too much? Did that make you angry? Was it the fact that I would spend every spare time working with those kids instead of reading Leviticus? You got me double thinking at one point – what if I stayed and didn’t follow your path to India? Is this my fault? Because I completely feel like it’s my fault. And 8 months later I am still wrestling the “choices” I made.

I don’t hate you – I just hate your hate.

Wait let… me better rephrase that… You are obviously a God of love and you have blessed me with a spoilt life. I just don’t understand this charity/development work that people do in your name. So it’s not your hate that I hate but your followers hate.

Ah! Christ [sorry for the pun about your son]

Well God please save me from your “followers” then and their endless devotion to religion, doctrine and old school ideoligies. Let them think about your children.

Your lifetime partner,

P.S. Thanks for Obama.
P.P.S Can you make the leafs win the stanely cup or is that one beyond your power :>


Dear Jam,
I know your not really a hater or a player. It’s moment like this that I know you struggle with development, this man made idea of “religion”, and life. After 10 years on the road, life moments like this will surely creep into your moral fiber. I know you feel alone and separated from rocks that were constant. Seriously - you should just chill out, go to a beach and grab a Guiness.

Your eternal lifetime partner,

P.S. Your faith is quite cool – other people should check it out.
P.S.S. The leafs will never win the stanely cup. I don’t have that sort of power, but I can check into it.

3. Posh Living | Loft Living | Couch Surfing | Dog | Artist

The life of a nomad is fun. I move a lot – every 4 months for the past 3 years? And every 9 months for the past 10 years. Life is definitely not boring, but this year I had some pretty cool living arrangements in the past 9 months.

On my return from Tibet last year I managed to rent a small space in my friends swanky apartment in Toronto. No one had kids, everyone owned posh dogs, and the building oozed of uber hottness. Every elevator ride was fun.

After that brief stint of HDtv - I moved to what is now the trendy/ghetto area of Toronto > Bloor and Lansdowne. I lived with a sculptor in this amazing bohmenian loft - no tv, massive ceilings, and a ground shaking soundsystem. The winters were full of loft drafts, feist, candles, tea and some damn fun chocolate fountain parties.

To save money for my future trips - several months later I couched crash with my old Canadian participant. She had two dogs who constantly sleep with me and I became a dog lover again, it was nice to finally “stay” in the Annex and live like my folks in the 70’s. At some point in your life if you are Torontotian you have either lived or were planning on Palmerston.

A Full-Time Couch Surfing Rules of Engagement:

  1. Always leave the place exactly the way you found it and occasionally “tip” their couch full of loose change.
  2. Always clean up and occasional clean more than your share including places that never ever get cleaned – which includes that back spot in the fridge.
  3. Let the house beat you occasionally at halo 3 – this is the key in letting them think that “book” smarts is way cooler than “bananas in pajamas”
  4. Occasionally pop by with cool food and mucho alcohol - stuff that your friends love.
  5. Most important rule! Love your friends and love their couch and they will love you in return.

Nomad life is pretty exhausting for me right now and for some reason I crave a little bit of stability for myself. It’s kinda weird because I have it down to the science in terms of logisitics of moving and can feel comfortable in almost every environment in minutes.

4. Because we are your friends:

At the traditional new year’s morning breakfast – we toasted the year of 2008 being the “year of friends” – well that toast didn’t disappoint. Soon after in Feb it was impossible for me not to open a magazine, watch tv or read my fave blog without seeing one of my friends on it.

Most of us at some point decided that we would work for more from than the 9-5. So we followed the dreams that few understood and it meant fewer pay. We knew that we were destined to live life a different way – must respect! So after years and years of toiling in the shadows our jobs now just kick ass.

My toast for 2009 is that I get to buy illegal bootleg copies of their work in Cambodia.

5. Kid + beach + math = 94 percent Mentoring Mondays:

For the past couple of years Monday nites have emerged into a regular routine. The pattern has emerged from the “24” nite to Monday nite cupcakes with LL to last year’s mentoring Mondays.

The mentoring chats this year, reminds me that the “kid” is no longer 15 and I am not 22 year. It’s scarry how fast they grow up.

We meet every monday nite which is major commitment for a commitment phobia man like myself and we shared out thoughts, I felt at several points that he was mentoring me… most times I walked away from the night thinking WHO is this amazing kid??
I stated several years ago to him that he has more potential in his pinky finger that I do in my whole body and well 7 years later it’s definitely true.

Several months later on a Monday we found ourselves on a beach in tobago with some friends - sharing our bday together and staring at one of my fave beaches in the world.
At one point he starts drawing math equations… I couldn’t help but smile - this pic
is strange…
Go Kid Go!

About 3 1/2 weeks ago we had a chat about my role in Cambodia and that I didn’t think I was coming home anytime soon. It felt like the end of an era [but it really wasn’t]
I got really emotional and there was complete silence on the phone on both ends– what do you tell someone that knows everything about you - whom you have the utmost respect and trust that you aren’t coming back?

Well I hope you enjoyed this year's top 5. I will be posting #6 - #10 on my blog for anyone's amusement over the next week.

Peace and Blessings to you all.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sell the Vatican

Hmmm... there is some small itsy weeny tiny truth to this...if we sold a portion of it instead of worshiping in it we could start a movement.

Thanks JB for the cross post

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Amazing movie. Sooooo much passion in this song.
Could this be the new RENT for me?
She brings a hoover on the first date - now that is super cute.

Say it to me now - Once from Peter Szij on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Summer Stories - Crossposted from LTK :: Thanks!

I was going to write a bit about the summer in Toronto but stealing LTK's post because it kinda sums a couple days of weddings, cupcakes, shennigans and she is one of the best bloggers out there...

Toronto Stories

Here’ s last week in a nutshell.


I flew to Chicago. My dad grilled really huge burgers and my mom and I continued what is now a tradition, going to the gym together (she still kicks my ass).


I flew to Toronto. Nervous about seeing the whole gang again after 2 years of absence, I decided to start with beer with Jam and Chuck, who have been living in Cambodia and Sudan, respectively (I know, right?). We talked about going away and coming back; about trying to find yourself and finding that you are a short-tempered egotistical racist (Chuck’s words). The Red Room hasn’t changed one bit and that made me happy.

I stayed with my friend Rachel B, who is now Rachel C and lives in a house on the Danforth with some British dude.


We got all dressed up and celebrated the marriage of my friends Kate and Tim. The ceremony was beautiful and Kate was gorgeous. Leah and Pants belted out songs of praise and the whole thing felt holy and good. Also, special thanks to the girl at MAC at the Bay on Queen Street, who made me look good (and for free) while my make up lay in a gym bag in the trunk of a car in Chicago.

Really gigantic break between the ceremony and reception, turned into a weird beer-fueled meander around the city with Jam, Blake, and Adrienne (all dressed up) all afternoon.

On the subway some weird french guys literally pointed and snickered at us (I’m guessing it was because Adrienne was too hot for the train), to which Blake responded by picking up one of the streamers from the wedding and dancing around the car singing Lady GaGa. They looked away uncomfortably. I almost died laughing. Adrienne wore the best bright yellow dress in the whole wide world.

We also ate cupcakes.

The wedding reception was at the Captol Event theater in Toronto, and was pretty much the most glam event I’ve ever attended. I saw a million people who I haven’t seen in 2 years (all dressed up) and all the formerly-single people now with spouses, and all the married people now with kids.

(Image shamelessly borrowed from Blake).

Here’s the after-the-party shot.


Indian food with Chester and David. Ches is Dr. Esther now, in her first year of residency already, while Dave proves Geometry theorems all day long. They are a super-team.

In the evening: Church, which no longer meets at big bad St. Andrews but rather small, cozy St. Stephen-in-the-Fields. Our music people rocked the house and for the first time in a long time, I was able to belt out worship songs at top volume. More people with new babies. Our old pastor Todd preached and just like the old days, I scowled while he shouted —and then the day after thought of some things he said and though, “yeah, right on.”

Went to the Other Lisa’s house for a party for Jam. Talking so much my throat hurt. Afterwards a bunch of us walked to the Rhino for a last round of drinks and on the way there, saw a 4-person band playing an impromptu acoustic concert in an alleyway.

Romni Wools + yarn on sale. I touched everything and got some treasures.

I helped an old lady in a flaming red dress (with matching lipstick) cross the street and found out that she moved here from Amsterdam a long time ago. She gave me her address and I promised to send her a postcard.

I did with great relish a bunch of banal things that I used to do when I was still a student at the Dark Tower – buy bananas in Chinatown, get a spinagel in Kensington, ride the Bathurst streetcar. I basked in the knowledge that I am no longer at student at the Dark Tower.

I had coffee at the MoonBean and enjoyed having time for once. Found myself wishing I lived here again. Ran into Trent sporting my old pink bike helmet. Saw the new Star Trek with Nadine and Claire. It turns out new Spock is kind of a hottie.


More wandering. Got lost among the suits in the financial district and failed to find S for lunch. Ended up running into Rachel and having cheap sushi — ah, Toronto! Dinner at the McGhee’s with the Dining Room. Met Tirza and Robbie, aka “The Germans”, new members of the Dining Room who are actually from Berlin and who I plan to court as my friends in the fall.

On the last subway ride back to Rachel’s house I tried to summarize my week in Tronno and Joanna gave me a great word — closure. I finally, finally, figured out why I missed that city so bad when I first moved to Utrecht, even though the ‘trecht is clean and pretty and Toronto is dirty and kind of ugly. I love Toronto, garbage strike and all.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Lucky Jam : A Cambodian folklore

My boss pulled me aside in the library last week to read me this book.
It's written by one of my friend's Grade 4 students and umm.... well it's interesting.
I like Jam's hat.

The End.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Scarred summer of 05'

I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar maker wants you to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, ''I survived."

The other hand, Chris Cleave

I realized that in the past couple of months I've changed. I woke up this morning looked at myself in the mirror and didn't recognize who/what I've become.

I use to be a person with alot of compassion and heart and I would easily give the clothes on my back to help others. Lately I feel bitter, grudgey and just plain hurtful in my attitude. Changing worlds, starting and ending seasons constantly, being scarred from life experiences and a serious lack of gummi bears have made me feel jaded.

When I look at homeless person on the street right now I think about stats, pimps and how "bad the system" is in Cambodia.

When did I lose this? I need to get a little bit of the summer of 2005 back in me.

WEdnesday, may 18, 2005

I really don't know what to's horrid

I am going to be honest and say that I NEVER ever share really personally stories or events. Most of you that know me know why, but today I am going to share something really really personally. India this year is really stretching me, more than last year and I feel an obligation to express this.

Yesterday at Kalighat they brought a man in on a tarp and while my friend Ryan and I were doing dishes he looked at me and said "That doesn't look good" I carried on doing dishes, it's one of my favourite past times. After dishes I went to wash my hands and head upstairs for chai and to call it a day. On my way to the roof a long term volunteer yelled out for me to help him pick up this old man. I came over to pick him up and well he really started to smell. I looked at him and realized that he just had a shower, so where is this rotting smell coming from?

I noticed he had a bandage on his hand but it looked like a normal kalighat wound. We eventually found him a bed and a nurse came to undress the bandage. What I saw can't really be described, but I will try... The skin off his hand was gone, you can put your fingers through his bones, tons of maggots, rotting black skin and the strong smell of dead flesh. I was shocked, even the nurse was shocked by the extent and she has been working there for over 10 years... I called Ryan over quickly and told him to comfort this man. I then held his hand and watched in horror as they gave him some meds and then tried to save his fingers...

...after pulling out all the maggots, they realized that they couldn't save his fingers... they were dead and too badly infected so they just started cutting them off one by one until there was nothing left. They bandaged up his hand and all that was left was a stump. I prayed that he would make it through the nite. I saw him today and he looked better but I really wouldn't be able to tell the long term effect for a while.

What really affected me out of all of this happened today. On my back from kalighat I saw an old man walking slowly with a stump in his arm. On his arm I saw a plastic bag around he definitely was homeless. I wanted to bend down and touch his feet and bless him, my heart went out to him...but instead I gave him my water bottle made the sign of peace and walked on. I feel horrid, I feel like the worst man in the world, I felt like I really didn't learn anything from Kalighat yesteday...who am I? what am I?

I hope that understanding and patience will make me grow into a more caring individual. I hope.
Where did this Jam go? Where can I meet him?
In fact the whole month of May challenged and scarred me, but I survived and it made me become the person I wanted to look at in the mirror everyday.

I need to find something that would challenge me again probably teaching will do it this year.

Friday, July 10, 2009

CamboJam this Sunday.

It's the hello/goodbye party!

If you are in the hood come check it out!
Would love to see everyone before I head out for the big move to Cambodia.

Give me a holla anyhoo - 416.856.7362

Saturday, June 20, 2009

National Post Podcast + Trini + Tobago

It's me this week:

Right now I am in Trinidad attending this massive 600 people wedding - it's 3 days and it's huge. Two massive bands last nite and much cases of Johnny Walker Black - too bad I am on those crazy antiboitics and couldn't drink.

In a couple days I head to the cuz reunion in Tobago - it's all the cousins from my mother's side and we rents this huge villa with a salt water swimming pool, hot tub and crazy soundsystem. I am just looking forward to hanging out with my cousins away from home.

After I will be grabbing a bike and just running going up and down the crazy coast of Tobago. I use to spend a week a month just exploring this island and I know the West coast in detail camping out on beachs and surfing, but I haven't biked the whole thing so I am going to give it a try.
I was held up by gun point a couple years ago at my fave beach so I hope things don't get worse.

The only equipment that I am carrying is a tarp, string, knife, basic food, bathing suit and my PEPY biking shirt.

Wish me luck yo!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Coming home!

It's been a while eh? Sorry for the non communication in the past 6 weeks I have been working 16-18 hrs day leading trips, fundraising and building schools with no internet, power etc. Amazing work as the volunteers lives were changed. I don't normally email pics - but this one captured the spirit.

What started as a trip to India a year ago,and then a Nepal trip, and then a 3 month internship has now evolved into something big. I can't believe that 10 months ago after that short stint with dengue and malaria at the bangkok hospital I still choose to go to Cambodia broke, tired and just down right depressed and you folks didn't think it was crazy?

Well I want to thank everyone for making the dream happen and for all the meditation, funds and in just taking time to email me to make me feel like a real person. Those emails and care packages are what kept me going.

So I am still amazed that 6 months ago my heart burned out and I had no direction for my life.  That caused me to pick up the pieces and move on - this has lead to a couple cool projects that I am involved in next year.

The news that I am stoked about: I am coming home in less than 7 days! I leave Cambodia on the cheapest way possible which means a 8 hr bus ride, 4 flights over 3 days and 4 hr drive from windsor. It's going to take 5 days in total but I am coming home!

The exciting news is that I will be back in Cambodia in the fall teaching at a local cool school in Siem Reap.  It's the school's 2nd year of operations and my job will be to teach JK and train a local teacher in taking over my role for year three. 

I will also be back consulting in the fall on fundraising and a slew of little projects and hopefully I get enough timeoff to enjoy this amazing bike trip this year - you should all come!

Any in some really amazing news. 
I spent the last 5 weeks negotiating a creative space in Siem Reap and finally signed the lease 2 days ago. It's going to be my apartment in the fall and  [in my opinion] it's one of the best old school buildings in the Reap. Depending on teaching time and renovations it w
ill eventually be a place for community events with some ideas that I would like to try out for
 future endeavors i.e. monthly community dinners, a little coffee and of course a great space to paint.

The name of it is called Sammaki which is a difficult word to translate in english, but this definition from a Google search sums it up "joyful interworking that yields good for all people and is radiant in its essence." 

Really excited to see you folks really soon. I am home for 2 months! Pints, stories and celebration is needed!

Peace and blessings,

BTW> I hope you enjoy the pic of my backyard here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Khmer New Year with the fake sister and bro

A couple weeks ago my friends and I randomly planned a trip to one of the remote islands in the south of Cambodia.  It was Khmer New Year and everyone was taking off to crazy destinationswith their family and friends so we wanted to try sometime a bit different. It was fun to put together the last minute logistics for the trip. The hardest part was finding camping supplies - a tent was almost impossible to find.

We manage to track one down in Phnom Penh and before buying it I asked if we could open it. Surprisingly an army of clerks took the tent out of the store and decided to setup it in the middle of the mall - everyone was taking pictures and it was sooo much fun to watch people poke their heads in and out. 

After a billion hrs of travelling by tuk tuk, motorcycle, bus and boat we finally made it to the island. There was one remote village, two tourist bungalows on the 8km long beach with beautiful white sand that crunch while you walk. It was paradise - except for those nasty sand flies.

While looking for a camp site, we stumbled upon some Thai fisherman on the island. Apparently they have to pay the $500 US a month as a bribe to the policemen to keep fishing but damn they had the best location on the island. The views were stunning.

One of my co-workers calls me her "fake brother" and naturally I call her my fake sister. It's a bond that we have developed over the past 9 months over Coca Cola and Lok Lac. 

This was here first trip on a boat in the ocean and she hugged that bear all the way. I keep smiling at the thought of that. This is a women after my own heart - she is the only female student studying IT at her university, she's also an artist, and a trip leader for our trips - all at 19 years old. DAMN.

This is Rithy - my othe fake bro. Here we borrowed the covers of a couple coolers from the only shop on the island and use them as surf/catch me if you can boards on the water. It was soooooooooo much and the best part was watching him play Khmer New year games with the locales on a sand barge.

Overall 5 days on the island just kicked ass. We ate alot of sand[wiches], alot of mangoes/coconuts, got a shit load of sand fly bites and had wayyy to much fun.

My fake family told me that I was the first foreigner they have ever gone camping with and the first they knew that camped on a beach in Cambodia. I told them that they were the first Khmer's I meet that have ever gone camping on a beach in Cambodia as well.
It's times like these that remind me why I love Cambodia so much.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The space between…

the last 3 months has been about the slow change that started in my life – the gradual change into what my heart needs to live.

  • I decided that I need to take some steps in order to become a more stable oversees worker and after 10 years of being a “professional volunteer” that I just had to grow up. This started to hit me when I got another year older and couldn’t afford the simple things in my life. i.e. a cup of coffee. I felt that this was unacceptable.

  • So I had enough of “starving” ‘and decided that I should get one of these things called a job. I applied for a couple overseas jobs that gave me the balance between morals and money – it came down to Africa and Cambodia and I choose home. So I am excited to come back here and start teaching in the fall for a pretty cool NGO.

  • After 7 ½ months of sitting behind a desk – I finally got out in the field and it’s been fun to do what I love doing, what I was born to do and what I thought I would be doing since Nov. The trips are pretty awesome and I am in love again with leading trips, especially working with a good crew.

  • I also fell in love with the NGO that I work for even more than before – the ups and downs have gone up in the past couple months and a deep respect has emerged. I will be really sad to leave, but I still will be here volunteering part time in the fall. This NGO showed me that I had to grow up and the fact that I was challenged [and chained] by my desk gave me a glimpse into a different world.

  • The time has also come to act and so I set out a one year plan to start and develop a new NGO. Something that I am really excited about. It’s one of the reasons I need a bit more stability so that I can put some of my own sweat into “laying bricks” for the project.

There are a slew of other things that are slowly changing my heart and I feel that my mind is somewhat coming back to normality [if that is possible in my transient world]. The fact is that I am getting happier each day about myself.

Much love to everyone and hopefully I will see you peeps very soon.

is still alive...

and is excited to be home in a month!
A serious update is needed once I finish these trips.

Miss you all and thanks for the amazing e-letters!

Monday, January 19, 2009

What does my heart need to live?

A couple days ago in the middle of learning Khmer adjectives I stopped my fellow buddhist monk to ask him a question.

Why do I keep beating myself up? Why I am here in Cambodia? I love my job, the NGO I work for is awesome - but I have no stability, no money? This is a situation that I constantly find myself in all the time. Should I give up my morals to go work somewhere else where I can at least be confident that my needs would be meet? Am I really off value to anyone?

After my long rant of questions, the monk quietly looked at my with his eyes and simple said “Jam what does your heart need to live?”

I took a massive step back and quietly thought - this man just hit the nail on the hammer. Respect. I don’t recall anyone every asking me that question before

Since the monk was on a roll, I quietly listened while he asked me questions.

I don’t know what your needs are - but why do you set goals? Why do you want to do it?
Why are you in Cambodia?

I cleared the schedule and went home right after to spend a while reflecting on his words “What does my heart really need to live”

There is a technique that fundraiser’s ask themselves when they want to break down their programs to the core - you keep asking yourself Why? Why? Why? It’s childish but it works.  I realized my life wasn’t about fortune, fame or even recognition.
Faith, Hope and Love really remained from all these questions and at this point I never realized how spiritually I actually am. It’s funny because the man who wrote that “Paul” is one of my role models in life because of his passion. This is the man that I want to meet in heaven more than Jesus, Shackelton and Captain Crunch. This was intense.

At some point I stop staring into the candle, lied down and put on some music by my best mate. I was really hoping that his wisdom would also seep in because I deeply miss his company.

Later on his song rang through “we need revolution to lead our people…keep your eyes on the prize, every man want heaven but no man wanna die…so where do I go, where do I go now?”

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Yeah I feel like shit.

But I got to start being more positive about thingys...
Life is too short to dwell on bad shit. You just go to put it behind ya.
Yeah Buddha, Jesus and Obama.

pic cross posted from:

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The end is near.

I felt it recently. For the past couple of years I kept challenging myself in my lifestyle, work, religion and everything else.

It's been rewarding and hard. I plan for change and growth and just when I am at the brink another challenge throws itself this way. A couple weeks ago I was sooo hungry to the point where I dreamt of food while I slept. It was a hard week/month.
I vowed not to put myself in those shoes again.

I found out during the holidays that my job unethically decided to reduce my pay without my knowledge. The morals hurt more than the money and the last 3 days have not been fun, so I have been preparing my mind for the unknown. How could I work 40-60hr work weeks, sleep on the floor, own almost nothing, barely afford to eat and not have ANYTHING to show. Why do I keep beating myself up? Why did I turn down all those job offers in the fall to stay here and work for a company that I love but instead be in this current predicament.

I am soooo mad at myself for being put in this stupid situation. I need to give up my morals at somepoint to earn money.
I really don't think I can make it this month. How can I live on $1.50 a day?