Two years ago today I was finishing a trip to Angkor Wat with my mom and grandma. I had spent the summer in Phnom Penh, Cambodia reporting at an English language newspaper and they met up with me at the end of my internship.
That summer …
I learned broken phrases (OK, just singular words) in Khmer. I used “awkunh”— thank you — the most.
I learned that riding a moto (with a helmet!) is quite fun.
I learned how to haggle my moto fare.
I learned to appreciate people and things that I did not appreciate as much before.
I learned to be self-reliant.
I learned to travel alone (what up, country-side Cambodia and Thailand!)
I learned that whatever would come next in my life would be much easier.
One year ago today I started my first real grown-up job as a reporter in a
city community across the Sound from my home city. I knew no one. There was no ultimate Frisbee there. I had no sidewalks to run on in my new neighborhood. In addition to all my new adjustments/inconveniences, I was pretty bad at my job.
After what seemed like making hundreds of calls that first day to various people for multiple stories, I had to go to the local gun club — the county had filed a lawsuit against them. I was kind of nervous. Actually, pretty nervous. Everything turned out OK, I talked to the right people, got decent quotes.
However, in one of my first stories (not the gun club one), I made the worst mistake a reporter could probably make. I misquoted someone. I won’t go into details but it was a very stupid mistake that could have been avoided. Luckily the woman wasn’t upset about it since it wasn’t really for any hard-hitting newsy story. I felt terrible though. I didn’t think I would make it to Christmas at this job. I should just quit already, I thought.
It was too stressful. I wasn’t good enough.
Today, I am still at said job. I have way more responsibilities. I’m the only reporter now. And I have significantly improved as a reporter (in terms of getting a hold/stalking people to actually writing stories) than I did one year ago.
I guess I am stronger than I thought. Or, just very tolerant. Or, crazy.
I’ve learned that whatever comes next in my life (once I quit/get a new job/run away) will be much easier.