No the woman is not me. I have black hair now. Yes, it’s died and not real, and I absolutely love it. But lets get back to that other woman. There she sat. Mixed in with all the Indians sitting around her. She was wearing traditional clothing, lifting her hands, and mimicking the hand gestures as the natives were. Looking like a mirror image she seemed to be one with them, one but then at the same time, completely opposite. She had crossed over every culture boundary line and slowly became one of them.
This woman is a character from a book. I can’t remember the title of the book, but I remember my sister reading an excerpt from this book with a description similar. I set on the end of my bed and clung to every word my sister read, I felt like a seed of desire was planted in me that day. My sister and I both had this in common. We always had a hunger for the Indian culture and for the world outside of our Texas bedroom. At that very moment, my sister and I looked at each other and began to discuss the possibilities of that one day being us. “Is it even possible to be one with a culture contrary to yours?” was one of the question’s we asked each other.
Now fast forward to two days ago. I was getting seated in the tuk-tuk on a street in the heart of Phnom Penh. I had been all over the city buying Christmas gifts for the children in BYKOTA House Children’s Home and was well worn out. As I was seated the owner of the shop I had just left ran out to speak to my driver. He boldly said, “This foreigners Khmai is very good! She loves our country and we are thankful for her.” And at that point my driver responded, “She is good at English. But she is Cambodian at heart.” He then put on his helmet and off we went into the sunset with the goal to reach home before dusk and beat children home from school.
But as we drove off, these words hit me in a different way. For some reason, “She is good at English. But she is Cambodian at heart.”, touched me differently. There’s a Cambodian saying that goes like this, “Their tongue is Cambodian.”. I’ve heard this and have had this said to me repeatedly. This is said when someone is fluent. But when my driver said, “She is Cambodian at heart,” is resonated differently inside of me. My mind started flashing the images I had imagined of this woman in India from the book years and years ago. And at that moment I realized that it is possible. It is possible to leave the familiar and make the unfamiliar home. It is possible to be adopted into a culture and be seen as a native. This great divide between the western world and Cambodia has had a bridge built. And that bridge is me. And my declaration is that something big will come from this bridge that has been built. This is what the LORD has done and is doing and praise goes to Him. For He’s the one who crossed the biggest culture gap known to man, leaving the right hand of the Father and becoming flesh. May we, who are made in His image, do the same.