It’s a gray, cold, blustery day here in Daejeon; the kind of day that you just don’t want to roll out of bed, but instead keep bundled up with a comforter wrapped around you and get through the day with a steady diet of sitcoms and food delivered to your door. 

Well, I did roll out of bed at 8:00am as usual, made myself a cup of instant coffee, and then called On.

Just 48 more hours and I will be getting on a plane again and flying back to Laos.

It was only four weeks ago that I was there and I can’t believe that I am going to be back there again so soon; however, it was either now for 11 days, or wait four-five months before we could be together for three weeks.  

What do you do when you love someone so much, but know that next month you will barely make ends meet? Barely in the sense that I might be living on a steady diet of instant ramen every day for the next month. I know, I know I have been down this financial dilemma road before but in the end the heart wins out over being rational and practical. Besides, On and I have some planning to do for the future. 

At the same time I feel a little guilty for heading off to Southeast Asia again when I should be saving up for one back to the States. It’s been over a year since I last was home. I am still missing home a lot and missing my family more than I have in all the years that I have lived overseas. It’s part of that mid-life crisis I have been going through as I get closer and closer to turning 50. 

When I set out on this great adventure years ago I never imagined that I would stay here for as long as I have and, when I was back home for two months at the end of 2006, how much I yearned to come back to Asia. It was different when I was in my 30’s and always on the go; now I am starting to slow down and the life that I thought was exciting and stimulating is not just losing its luster, but not as appealing as it once was for me. 

Suddenly, I am wondering what I have done—what have I really done and have I made the world, at least the little part of the world I live in, a better place?