The start of 2011 presented TJ and me with a challenge we’ve seen before in our marriage. TJ’s got an assignment for a few months and won’t be home. We’re both working in Washington on international development, which is to say that most of the time we’re in Washington, but for months here and there, we’re not.
Now it’s become something of a joke among my colleagues at work that when TJ is at home Sarabi’s pregnant again, and it does seem like I’ve been in the baby-making business for the past several years. But if packing up all the newborn outfits and mailing them to my brother is any indication of finality, I’ve closed up shop.
I found out a few months earlier that TJ would be away in the first part of 2011, and decided that this time I won’t be holding down the fort. It’s time for an adventure! And since there’s no chance at co-residing with my spouse this time, I might as well try something brand new.
How did it come about that my manager and another manager and a director decided that I should work in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for 5 months? Maybe there was some science to that. More likely, there was some belly-scratching in a Washington café and someone licked his finger and put it in the air. Cambodia? Yup, let’s send Sarabi there.
And that was just the beginning of the adventure. Putting my paper life online? No problem. Vaccinating everybody? Painful, but bearable. Explaining the plan to Ernest, Yoshi, Tika and Puck? Surprisingly easy. Convincing my family that I’m not insane? Well, that was another story.
The first half of 2011 is a story of a woman who grew up a girl scout and isn’t afraid of large insects. I navigate by feel and don’t mind tentacles in my food. It’s also a story of mothering from the suburb-fatigued not-so-super-mom who was day-dreaming about what motherhood looks like outside of Panera and Gymboree.
And, well, it looks a lot different over here.I’ll try to share with you the ups and downs of our days in Phnom Penh, from bouncing tuk-tuk rides through the country-side to soporific afternoon meetings at the Ministry of Finance, to visits at orphanages and night-time practice sawing away on the violins. I can’t promise that every day will be a thrill-ride, but bear with me, this is motherhood after all!