Remembering Papaw

Pap and I. Circa 1992 (rough estimate)

There has been so much going on this week in my mind. I debate whether to share this on my blog because it’s more personal, less light and fluffy, and not the mood I intended to set. But alas, it’s important and the events over the past couple of weeks have impacted my lack of sharing about Cambodia with many people.
Some of you may know that my granddad, Papaw’s, health has been slowly declining the past five years. We weren’t sure if he would make it to his 90th birthday this year. But, alas, he did! When I left for Cambodia I was me tally preparing for the possibility that he could pass away while I was a road which was a somber thought to carry through this transition. But I was incredibly thankful for the 4 months I had in Texas prior to my departure to spend with family, Papaw, included.

Last Saturday Papaw passed away in his sleep. It has been a long battle for him and much of me is grateful that he is no longer in pain. His funeral is Friday and I obviously won’t able to attend. So I wrote a note about him for my brother to read for me. I’m sharing it below because I wish everyone could have know David Lawson Sr. He was an incredible man… i’ve been calling him a “stud” and im sticking to it 🙂


I have a picture of Pap hanging on my wall. I guess I thought I might need some tangible memory to look at while abroad. The picture is of him and me when I was around 5 years. He’s holding me, wearing his suit, after church. It’s a snapshot from a day-to-day moment and I love that. Pap was a rock, a man of great faith and deep affection for his family. He was a sacrificial, disciplined and forgiving man. In everything he was prayerful and endlessly nurturing. I learned from him what steadfast faith looks like when it is neither convenient nor self-serving.

He called me his favorite granddaughter even though there was no other choice. Baptizing me when I was younger, I always hoped he’d officiate my wedding. Remembering him reminds me of Jesus and the love he radiated. Pap is now free from pain and is resting with Jesus but that doesn’t make his departure from us any easier. It is well within me to know he is next to Jesus, healed and as joyful as he could ever be. He may have been stubborn and refused to let me win at racquet ball but his generosity and devotion to praising the Lord in every part of his life has left an imprint on my life. I wait for the next time I am with him, in heaven celebrating.


“Keep walking, no problem”

Statue of Norodom Sihanouk at dusk as some co-workers and I took a walk to the waterfront after work. This is a tiny park where you can find people walking, playing badminton or being tourists like we were 😉

“Dad, i met a man in Roma, and he’s wonderful and brilliant and we’re getting married.” -Father of the Bride

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d start with that quote. To all whose hearts skipped a beat… No. I have not “found a man”. Yes, this is a JOKE. Now you can exhale.

This weekend does mark my third week in Phnom Penh! A small “anniversary” but I celebrate nonetheless. I find myself saying “so much has happened” or “it’s been a whirlwind” often. And the fact of the matter is both statements still hold true. Throughout trainings and orienting to a new culture, job and role, so much advice, perspective and fair warnings have been shared. I’m taking it all in and gleaning what is true for me.
One fact I am often reminded of is that I am an expat, a westerner… basically, NOT a local. It stings a bit to type it out cause it must mean it’s true. Yes, my fair skin has blown my cover and foiled my plan to be a ‘cultural chameleon’. And if that wasn’t obvious enough, my Khmer language deficit and faulty sense of direction would do the trick.

I am a visitor but deeply want to absorb more of Cambodia… learn the  language, appreciate the food, and meet new friends. Simply stated but these take time and investment… so I gotta be patient.

So much I could share and not sure where to start, I’ll do some highlights:

1. Yes, learning to ride a moto is hard. When people say “it’s like riding a bike” when referring to any challenge  being manageable, I think they forgot there first experiences of riding a bike with no training wheels… don’t lie. You were scared.

2. When looking at meat or ‘meat’, my personal rule is “when in doubt, do without”. Yes, be adventurous. But also, not all meat is made equally… or better stated, not all meat came from “Old McDonald’s Farm”.

3. In case you were wondering, Amazon will NOT ship to Cambodia. My tea supply is running low. (sad face)

Top Left: Kate, me and Erlina bond as we cram into one seat of a tuk tuk… instant bonding. Top Right: Homemade sugar cookies became ice cream sandwiches! Neriah was pleased. Bottom Left: Grilling some tasty rolls for Chinese New Year. Middle: Our attempt to recreate a traditional Khmer Shadow Puppet Show we had just watched (it’s harder than it looks and we were not near as graceful as the artists). Bottom Right: The smog is real. Holly is rockin’ her medical mask as we ride through the city… and we are DEFINITELY standing out now.

New favorite foods:
– Akao: rice flour cakes that are sent from heaven. Fact. Sweet, fluffy, a little dense and oh so tasty! If Buddy the Elf lived in Cambodia this would be one his main food groups.
– Oolong Milk bubble tea. Not new but just better over here. Who thought digesting large quantities of tapioca would be so scrumptious.

This is akao being made in the market… NOM

Confession: This was written Feb. 12th… delayed post