The Saga of Sorya

By Elizabeth

The Trotters want a TV and DVD player. We plan to drive to Sorya Mall, near the Central Market, after church. Mistake #1: Driving somewhere you’ve never driven before in a foreign country. Mistake #2: Doing it on a Sunday afternoon. There are lots of one way streets near the Central Market, and although we have a map, I misread it, and we drive in approximate circles for awhile. Then we find the hidden entrance to the parking garage. It’s 5 stories high.

Parking, next challenge. Success! Jonathan is becoming quite adept at driving and parking here. I on the other hand am not even attempting yet. My husband’s heart would probably stop if I tried. But back to the mall. And all the people at the mall. We hold our babies close and try to find the floor that has the electronics store. Remember there are 5 floors. All full of people staring at us. Like caged circus animals. Yet again. We find the store, and the kids and I plop down at a table to wait while Papa picks out the cheapest TV and DVD player he can find. Remember this is also where the ultra-elite Cambodian wealthy shop, and it’s expensive. He’s not sure if the DVD player will play our American DVD’s since the regions are different, but the employee assures him it will, and we pay and leave.

But. We’ve promised the kids ice cream at Lucky Burger. So we find Lucky (First we try a few different floors. Remember there are 5). More people staring. Actually, there were no Asians in that burger joint who WEREN’T staring at us. There were 2 white people. They weren’t staring. I am highly irritated. I’ve always been invisible in life, the unremarkable nerd who doesn’t attract attention. And I’m exhausted. It’s past 2 and we haven’t eaten lunch, and the journey to the mall was tiring to begin with. Hannah runs into a table and cries, and Jonathan starts to order. Half naked women are on TV, and Isaac has a hard time not looking at screens. We do all enjoy our ice cream. It actually tastes just like McDonald’s soft serve. Yummm. Now people start taking pictures of the white alien creatures. Time to go.

Time to drive home. A drive during which Jonathan gets stuck in an intersection when the cross traffic starts coming. Yikes. We make it through. Phew! Yikes. There are those police officers again. Phew, they want less money this time. Time to get home. Where we can set up the DVD player and see if it works. Phew. It does. The Incredibles is playing as I type.

Now I’m home, and I like to say my home is like the Embassy. It’s American soil. A Christian nation. And no matter what each day brings to me, at the end of it, I count myself blessed because I have a husband who welcomes me with open arms.

One thought on “The Saga of Sorya

  1. Hi Elizabeth – I’ve enjoyed reading about your experience. It’s all new now, but soon won’t seem so foreign. I can relate somewhat to your feeling of everyone checking out “the Westerners”. I traveled in the 80’s with my brother Bob to China – at that time my brother was co-authoring a travel book called Asia Through the Backdoor. We did a lot of traveling to places where no whites had ever been, including Hainan Island – no Westerners had ever been allowed there before. Wherever we went Chinese stared at us – some even followed us around like we were celebrities (or aliens). It’s a strange feeling! I can only image how difficult it is to keep a low profile with your clan –

    May God continue to protect you and your family – you, Jonathan and family are in our prayers.


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