Dear Sister Ang,
I guess I can call you Nary now. It's an adorable name. Maybe I'll name one of my kids Nary. You are happy and faithful and everything that I would want a daughter to be. The time we were companions was one of my favorites of my entire mission. If there were ever a time in my mission where 'Onward, ever onward' (from the missionary anthem, Called to Serve) was a constant refrain it was with you. We worked hard together and saw some pretty amazing miracles. You impacted my missionary work a lot. My life really. It stuck.
Thank you for driving out to meet us at Angkor Wat. I know it was So out of the way. 7 hours is long and far no matter what you say. I'm amazed and happy that after 3 years I squealed like a 13-year-old girl when I saw you and that we could talk for hours about our current (love) lives. True friendship is like that. I trust your opinion and I know you love me.
I can't believe that less than a day after your long drive we decided that Siem Reap has little besides the ruins and Phnom Phen would be a much better place to pass the time.
I had a BLAST driving the Daewoo through Angkor Wat. Sorry for taking a few wrong turns in town, but I guess it all turned out for the best. A back entrance to the park is probably a secret they don't want to get out. I hope your brother enjoyed his first taste of the ruins, even just the quick trip we made around. Did I tell you he kind of reminds me of the R&B singer Usher? He's a cute kid.
The drive to Phnom Phen was long and hot (that might explain my near run-in with the herd of passing cows. Oops!) but the scenery was stellar. Cambodia really has a special something about it, different than Burma, Laos and even Thailand. I'm not sure what it is. The food might actually be better than Thai (don't tell!). Cambodians have seen so many hard things and have somehow figured out how to deal with it and move on. Sugar Cane juice might have something to do with it and I might just be addicted now. The Spanish EFY music also helped in passing time in the car. Where did you get that CD anyway? His Hands is much better in Spanish than English!
The easy highlight of my trip to Cambodia, and pretty high up on the list of best moments in SE Asia as a whole is meeting your mom. She hugged me like I was her long lost daughter (She also cried when we left. I love her!). Mama Ang can't be more than 4'10" and she's got vim and vigor rivaling those squealy girls we were when we saw each other. She's just that kind of Cambodian magic that I saw driving through the countryside. After working out in the fields during the Pol Pot regime, almost being slated for "re-education" (aka execution) and being saved by a miracle, she ditched her number and my guess by her laugh lines, has been smiling ever since. You smile like her.
Thank you for taking us to the Genocide Museum. My goodness, what a mess. No wonder my mom's first reaction to hearing about Cambodia was that it's a 'scary place.' It was! I can't believe you were born in a refugee camp on the border. It's a world away from Overlake Hospital, that's for sure. I'm glad my mom got to see a peek of how Cambodia has grown up through that trial and is a much warmer place now. I hope things keep getting cleaner and more honest. I wish I knew that they would. I'm thinking of working for Transparency International next year. I've seen how important it is to have governments 100% on board with the development of their nations. NGOs can only go so far on their own. I'd love to see how an NGO all about government transparency gets things done.
I hope you know that you have a family that most of the world would be jealous of. All active and sealed in the temple, you obviously have your priorities straight. I'm sure your neighbors understand more than anyone how special you guys are. I hope they enjoyed our nightly songs and dance parties. I'm sure the party was not particular to our visit, though I'm sure they're not used to hearing your sisters order us to sing and dance to Miley Cyrus! 'If I Were a Boy' was stuck in my head for days - we heard the half Cambodian version [soundtrack alert] another 4 times at least on the way back to Thailand!
Thanks for sharing your bed with us. I'm sure the 3 of us was a squish but I guess you're used to sharing your room with the 6 scooters, 3 bikes and family computer. Love the pink princess mosquito net and scripture quotes on the walls and quite honestly, I wish I could move in. I wouldn't mind sharing the one bathroom with 9 others. This house is Exactly what I want mine to be like some day. This is what they mean when they say the home is a sacred place just like a temple is. The love of God is stronger here than anywhere. With families like yours building the foundation, it's no wonder the church is growing so fast in Cambodia! If only Thailand could keep pace.
I hope I will see you again soon and I swear that some day I WILL make good on my promise to come stay with you and your family again. I love you! Talk to you soon.