The Value of Now

It takes a long time to unwind. This Friday will mark one month in Phnom Penh. We've had more time off in one go just on holiday, but this month was not spent being tourists. There have been no trips to Wats, or ferry rides down the river. We've made a conscious choice to find spaces to settle in to, and not just visit.

Now having moved in to our own apartment, we begin to settle a little more. I am enjoying "making house" and gathering all the elements of life that help make a space a home.

What seem like insignificant moments in the day have become milestones. Moments to breathe into. Moments that remind us of our journey and everything that has brought us to this point.

The first coffee in our first house in Phnom Penh. Photo © Lee Nutter.

Yesterday this moment was marked by a simple tuna sandwich. The price of eating out here is so cheap that our fridge has only been used to store fruit, beer, and left over Indian food, but for this craving we would need to stock up.

We gathered canned tuna, mayonnaise, salt and pepper from the "Smile" corner store and then walked back to the Old Market. The adventure of searching for tomatoes and baguettes amongst asian greens, duck eggs, and endless rows of pomelos is most enjoyable. Knowing that this market is now our local stop for fruit and veg also makes me smile deeply.

A wave from a friend driving passed on his moto added to this glow. The chance meeting, recognising a single face in city of more than a million was a welcoming sign of our increasing sense of community. I look forward to a day when I can share the same connection with the local ladies selling longans.

Arriving home, we unpacked the groceries. The joy doubled as the new salt and pepper shakers took their place next to a ripe bunch of bananas. Laying out the baguettes on our chopping board and rinsing the tomatoes from the market, this was the first meal I had prepared in our kitchen.

I joined Lee at the table, set with tea in cups and saucers, our fresh baguettes overflowing with tuna mayonnaise and ripe red circles. Our entire attention arrested by the aesthetics of the meal, and also by the awareness of the milestone of being at home.

Later that night as Lee and I wandered back down our street after a few drinks with friends, I realised that the only reason to head home was to just be at home. We didn't have to leave early to make preparations for tomorrow, nor to make sure we had enough sleep before an early start. There was nothing from tomorrow leaking in to the rest of today. We could just be here.

A limitation of working 9-5 and the humdrum of modern living often means emphasis is placed on what is happening next. Tomorrow's calling impacts on your choices today. If you didn't have to be somewhere tomorrow, how much more could you value the moment of being here today?

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