Sitting in the waiting room for 30 minutes gave me a chance to really appreciate the diversity of America. On my right sat two Kenyan ladies speaking Swahili; on my left, a Hispanic couple carried on a conversation. A Middle Eastern couple checked in, followed by a tall man with a thick Chinese accent.
I love diversity. It was one of the things I loved about working the emergency department - I never went through a day without encountering someone from a different culture or having to use a translator. Of course, it definitely came with its own frustrations and difficulties - like not being able to communicate with the patient at all til the translator got there - but it definitely enriched my work experience and gave it a lot of variety.
So, I have to say - it's one of the things I miss about America. Cambodia is certainly different in its own way, and its people are not homogenous. But the variety is much more subtle, and the country isn't home to a constant flow of immigrants and refugees, like America is. I mean, c'mon, sometimes I just need to hear me a little Spanish, ya know?!?
On the flip side, living in Cambodia long-term will give me the opportunity to study and live in one culture - really soak in the differences - unlike the brief, surface encounters I've had with people before.
So if you ever need a cross-cultural experience...just go hang out at the Jo-Co Health Department. Fun times guaranteed.