As an expat, I’m more than used to friends coming and going. But some people become a more important, more significant and fundamentally irreplaceable part of your life than others and when these guys leave, blogs are written.
My amazing flatmate and best friend, Jordan, left Cambodia this morning after almost three years in the Kingdom of Wonder. I’d known Jordan for over two years and we’d been living together most of that time. With other flatmates coming and going in our apartment, the two of us have always been the staples in one another’s lives so I know my life will never be the same as of midday today.
Living with other people is hard so when you meet someone with whom sharing an apartment works, you hold onto them! Jordan and I had rather different work schedules for the first year but we seamlessly slipped into living together. Whether it was the fact that we have similar taste in food, television and what we like to do with our free time or a combination of all three, I’m not sure. All I know is that the moment I walked back into the house this afternoon after dropping Jordan at the airport, I knew it would never feel like home again.
Although we’re very different people, Jordan and I shared a lot over the past few years. Whether it was our many nights out, during which she would befriend every single bar tender in each bar we went into. Or our Sunday ritual of watching an obscene amount of television lying in my bed. And our evening snacks of fruit salads and Smurf Haribo. Last but not least of course there’s dodgeball. The bi-weekly staple which our schedules revolved around where we made our closest friends and had some of our heartiest laughs. Basically, everything I enjoy doing in Cambodia is something which will now remind me of Jordan. It doesn’t mean I won’t still do these things – I’ll just make me sad when I remember that my friend is no longer by my side.
You may be wondering about the title of this blog. I call Jordan “Catnip for Khmers”. Basically, everyone here loves her. Although a recent trip to Vietnam reveals that a better term may be “Catnip for South East Asia”. Simply put, Jordan is a people person in the most incredible, bizarre and occasionally hilarious way possible. Anyone who has met Jordan will be able to relate to this. There’s something about her, something I jokingly refer to as pheromones but it’s more than that. Everyone loves Jordan from the moment they meet her. I think it’s to do with her personality, the way she presents herself as warm, friendly and welcoming, her genuine smile and the simple fact that she is accepting and open to everyone. Jordan makes people feel welcome and takes a real interest in everyone she meets. The way she interacts is quite simply intoxicating and she forms meaningful connections quicker than anyone I have ever met. That said, she has also been known to make friends with a car full of Khmers while we’ve been sat in a tuk tuk at the traffic lights. And if you leave her alone at the bar for five minutes, by the time you come back she’ll be friends with all of the workers on Facebook and making plans to visit their families in the province. It’s a curse, a gift, whatever you want to call it. Personally, I think it’s a testament to the kind of person Jordan is and I’m honoured to have been her friend for the past two years. Catnip or not, she’s certainly someone I want to have in my life for the foreseeable future.
And now I’m sat in my empty house, having taken sole custody of the cat Jordan and I shared. It’s weird. It’s quiet. I still feel like she’s about to walk through the door. And yet she won’t. She won’t walk back into the apartment and ask me what TV episode we’ve got to watch next and play hide and seek with Nugget (the cat) and help me cut up fruit for our evening snack. Jordan will come back to Cambodia, of that I’m sure. She has made so many close Khmer friends here and I know she will be back here to see them (and me) soon enough. Except it’s not soon enough. It would only be soon enough if she had appeared while I was writing this blog. I just checked. She hasn’t. But Nugget is sleeping on her bed, the room bare once more, wondering when her owner is going to come back and cheer up the other owner who’s been lying on her bed crying for half the afternoon.
So in an attempt to cheer myself up, I went through my photos for this blog. I have many photos of Jordan, mostly cuddling random animals or ridiculous hair after she’s been lying in my bed all day. I didn’t post all of them because I do want this friendship to survive now she’s back in the States (and it’s always good to have blackmail material). But for those of you missing Jordan, I hope the below photos put a smile on your face, like they did me.
Jordan, wherever you are, know that you’re loved and missed and always, always welcome back in the Kingdom of Wonder. The best of luck with your return to the US. I’m so proud of you for getting into grad school and I can’t wait to hear all about it. And in return, I will send you daily photos of Nugget.
I had to split the photos into three sets:
- Jordan and me/other people
- Jordan and Nugget/other animals
- Jordan being generally adorable!
You’re one in a million, my love. Never change x