People are generally quiet here. Except Ma, she’s rather loud. I don’t talk much because my family speaks Khmer and very little English. It’s quite wonderful because it gives me a chance to listen rather than speak.
During the day, I hear the women next door weaving and working together to create beautiful mats. I hear the chickens and roosters, almost constantly. I hear the birds chirping and the trees rustling when the slightest breeze passes through the village. I can hear the motos speeding past, along with the occasional car or truck that makes a distinguishably louder noise. I hear the baby next door crying or laughing.
Mostly, though, I hear the people of this village speaking softly in a dialect which I do not know or understand, yet find beautiful just the same. There is beauty in not knowing. Most things in this world I don’t know, and living here has showed me that I don’t have to constantly be seeking answers. Rather, I can embrace what is foreign, terrifying, confusing, and overwhelming.
From a young age, my dad has repeated a phrase that never really meant much to me, but finally holds an immense amount of value in my life. “Man who knows all has a lot to learn”. I gain knowledge from each experience, even if in the present moment my ignorance leads me to feel as though I am gaining nothing. Truthfully, I don’t feel ready to leave this place and to again throw myself into the unknown. I’m always learning, growing, and changing. There is beauty in not knowing.