Day 1 at school,


The day that I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. My first semester at Montgomery College has just started today. I am a freshman now. I started my first day of class by taking the ESL test and I have two more tests to take tomorrow. Despite having many hoops to jump before I can register for the courses that count toward my degree, I’m excited and a little anxious about my first semester. This is the feeling of the dream come true.

It is a completely new experience for me to be a student in the US. I have too many accounts and passwords to remember. It is so frustrating. But that’s ok; I will soon be getting used to the school’s system. This is similar to the feeling that I have to get used to the soreness of my muscles when I first learn acrobat and contortion in the circus school at Phare. In every challenge in life we have to be patient, get used to the pain and get over the obstacle. I’m sure I will have a lot of problems ahead of me.

On another topic, I had a wonderful weekend before the school started. My host family took me to ‘’Unnaugural Concert’’ which was hosted at The Montgomery Cultural Arts Center on the night of the Inauguration day. I was extremely inspired by the music bands and the organizers. It was very powerful, moving and touching. People gathered together to talk, listen and discuss about the problems in their country. They have shown me the power of solidarity. I wish to see the same thing happen in my country one day. I wish to see the Cambodian artists use their talents and the power of arts to deliver the messages of social change and help develop the country. I wish that one day we will be able to freely use our freedom of speech to speak the truths without feeling threatened by anyone.

I also joined the Women’s March in Washington which was a historic moment in America and in the world. I felt my hair stand on end with every step I took in the crowds. It took a lot of encourage and commitment for them to come out there and show up at the March. I am so proud of them and I’m proud that I was part of it. America has shown me the real democracy and the power of unity.

I really want to be optimistic about the positive political change in my country, Cambodia. But I don’t think it will be coming soon. However, we can always start to plant the trees today and enjoy the fruits in the next ten years. It might take a long time for the fruits to be eaten; nevertheless, we can use the shade of the trees to protect us from the heat and to take a nap on the hammock.

I think I’ve been getting ahead of myself. Now, I need to get things ready and prepare for the tests tomorrow. My student life is completely different from my life as an artist. Yet, they both have the same sadness, happiness and hardship which I call life’s journey.


2 thoughts on “Day 1 at school,

  1. Phounam, I am so proud of you and all that you are accomplishing. Keep up the inspiring work and never give up.

  2. Dear Phounam, it is a joy to have met you. I am immensely impressed with your spirit, determination and accomplishments on all levels. Being in America and living with such a special family, is allowing you to view and experience the world around you with openness and a sense of awe. Continue to take advantage of discovering new realities. Don’t be too quick to judge, but reflect upon the lessons learned and enjoy to the fullest your freedom! Intellectual freedom, social freedom, cultural freedom, though never forgetting your own culture and fundamental values.
    Love you enthusiasm and willingness to jump through the hoops, no matter how high, to attain your goals. With loving encouragement and admiration.
    Hugs, Mei-Mei

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