Today we arrived in Kratie. A really peaceful, quaint town on the Mekong. I’m staying at a hotel run by the tourist organisation here, that employs local people to train in hospitality and learn English. It’s a cute and friendly place. At the moment the whole group are here. But as I opted out of the tours, I was happy to borrow a small motorbike and explore a bit alone. I spent the afternoon weaving around traffic, opening her up on the highway and just generally enjoying the freedom and flexibility of a motorbike.
I wanted to aim back before dark as it would be harder to judge the potholes and road conditions.
Back at my hotel, the group are staying here. Cliches have formed and the token drinking and loudness has begun. Luckily they are away tomorrow night and then they leave on Friday. I’m not keen on groups surrounding me. Opting for my quiet space to read or think about things. The other pain is a shared bathroom. I prefer my privacy totally. Another insight into how I’ve become so set in my ways and my routines. Things have places and I can’t leave bathroom stuff in the bathroom and there’s limited space in my room. I’m trying to keep things organised but fear I’m failing miserably.
Again, just because I’m a lone traveller after so many years, doesn’t mean I will revert back entirely. Perspectives have changed and experiences have grown. As a person I can recognise my need for space, and my need to have everything in its place.
I want to sit here and Skype the kids all night. Watch them sleep, watch them wake, eat breakfast. Make a mess – which I will subsequently moan about!
I want to smell their clean clothes, see their cheeky faces and hold them. Feel their soft warm skin, make them feel safe and secure. Reassure them how much they are loved.
I spoke briefly to my husband, it’s strained because he’s talking to me like a random colleague or friend. There’s no warmth, no little gestures about keeping safe, no ‘inside’ jokes.
Can he have fallen out of love with me so quickly? 
I want to see a glimpse of affection, of recognition – but he seems so distant.
I’m afraid about what that means. 
Tomorrow I will walk along the water. I will check out a local cafe and fortunately because of the bike, I scoped out the other NGO offices.
I feel so happy to be here and excited about teaching. But my heavy heart remains. 


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