May 23, 2009 2
I haven’t been out of Cambodia since September. I’m not exactly roughing it out here; thanks to a large NGO community, Phnom Penh is a comfortable city with all the important Western amenities: coffee shops, English-language bookstores and anti-perspirant.
But between missing my sister’s graduation, friends visiting the Northwest for the first time, and a slew of articles about Portland in the the New York Times and Wall Street Journal (here, here, here, and here), I’ve been a homesick for the first time in Cambodia.
I’ve been living vicariously my friends’ P-town restaurant choices and trail selections. I’m not in a hurry to move back to the States permanently, and I don’t imagine there are many American newspapers or magazines hiring at the moment anyways. But recently, I’ve found myself dreaming of dinners at Beast, evenings at Powell’s, and weekends hiking underneath waterfalls.
It’s been a while since I’ve spent real time in Portland—I haven’t lived through Portland’s 8-month drizzly season for six years—so my view of Portland would be a bit nostalgic regardless. But the media’s focus on the city’s mass transit, restaurant-scene, and population of over-educated and underemployed white people with bicycles has reinforced certain memories of the city as a place where bikelanes lead to restaurants that list their local producers (and oh, isn’t that the lead singer from Spoon at bar?).
My fellowship in Phnom Penh is coming to an end soon, leaving me with difficult decisions about what to do next. Hopefully though, I’ll be able to sneak in a couple weeks in Portland for me to get my fix of Northwest food, forests and family before heading back out for more adventures. Right, I’m ready for a brief, boring American experience again.