October 2013: I woke up in the middle of the night shaking and sweating. I’d had the chills for about a week and felt halfway between food poisoning and the flu.
One day later… I woke up at St Joseph’s Hospital. My first time being hospitalized, my first time on an IV, and apparently my first time with an e-coli induced kidney infection. Heavily sedated with drugs, I became the complacent and model patient that I doubt I would have been soberly. After four nights and plenty more drugs, I was freed back into the real world.
One week later… Armed with a PICC line in my arm to fight my continuing infection, I walked into the office of my first “big kid job” where I would unknowingly work for the next year of my life. Rising from “Sales Assistant” to “Marketing Rep” to “PR/Social Media/Marketing/Communication/Blog/Web Design/Sales/Events/Anything Else Coordinator,” was one of the most challenging but interesting years of my life. Through this job, I also met an Australian girl who had previously run a fair employment organization in Cambodia. Slowly we began sharing stories about our time in different countries, and to me the idea of Southeast Asia was distant, alien, and intriguing.
One year later… I found myself sitting with that same girl, in Cambodia, celebrating the beginning of my work for her organization. Two happy hour cocktails down at Rikitikitavi, we moved onward to Ecran for a plate of 12 dumplings for $2, and then to meet her friends at Madi Bar. A year ago, I was barely allowed to exercise and definitely not allowed to travel for fear of blood clots returning. Now, I find myself on the opposite side of the world creating websites for a social enterprise that provides safe employment and fair wages to Cambodian women.
Funny how the world works, and how things can change as time passes. Now my office is often a cafe, a clothing shop, or a guesthouse. I wake up to views of the river, work with views of a Cambodian town, bike home with views of sunset, and spend my free time exploring nearby mountains and villages.