I Am (eating too much rice)

It’s Sunday again. How’d that happen?!

I Am two entire loaves of French bread every morning that are so tough on the outside I’ve thrown out my neck ripping a bite off, and so soft on the inside I want to throw out my lumpy pillow and remake it with French bread guts. I am crunchy peanut butter on top of the bread and half a teaspoon of instant Nescafe and boiled water every morning.

I Am on a rooftop looking over the entire city of Phnom Penh in the blazing heat, and standing underneath the best-feeling cold shower of my entire life in a tiny Kien Svay bathroom at least 3 times daily. I am allowing Cambodia to redefine the cold shower. I am walking off the last wooden step over a river onto a boat that will ferry me across to an island church, and I am singing Shout to the Lord in English from the third row while everyone around me sings it in Khmer. In that moment, that thin place, I am in heaven.

I Am cared for by the personification of the spiritual gift of hospitality: Monsoon. I am all feet-washed, pillow fluffed, clothes folded, three utensils in my cereal, shirt tucked, hair behind my ear, and today, physically lifted off my seat and onto her lap in the van to escape the sun shining inside the van window onto my skin. I am a tissue from her purse wiping the peanut butter off my face and fingers, and I am her hands all over my outfit trying to get the bread crumbs off. Wait. Grams? Is that you?

I Am (phonetic spelling) “Nyam bai? Nyam bai?” Eat rice? Eat rice? I am the following gestures from Cambodians weekly: swirly motion on my belly, baby rocking, question mark? I am shaking my head no. I am laughter while everyone around me pretends to shovel food into their mouths as they say, patting my belly, “Nyam bai! Nyam bai!” Eat rice! Eat rice! I am recalling an article I read that tells me to speak kindly to myself and shake this one off. I am rolling in laughter when, as our poor intern pukes, Jeff says in his best Cambodian accent, Throw up rice? Throw up rice?

So. WHO ARE YOU? Food, places, people, and words spoken into your life… Go!

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