Open up your window.
Windows are interesting things. When a window is opened, the person inside can see out and necessarily the person outside can see in. You can’t see out and prevent the other seeing in. That’s not how it works.

This is how our hearts are. When we open our hearts to others, to nature, to God, we can see all those beautiful things. At the same time, our neighbor, the butterflies, the giant oak tree, and even God can see into us. We say, “You’re beautiful!” and they say back to us, “You’re beautiful too!”
 
     -The Godmother
Colonial architecture in Cambodia: The ninety years that the French were in Cambodia (1863-1953) are not remembered by Cambodians with joy. Though the French prevented Siam (Thailand) and Vietnam from swallowing Cambodia up, “re-discovered” and worked to preserve the revered Angkor Wat temples, opened public schools (for girls, the first ever), built railroads and post offices and the Buddhist Institute, and respected much of Cambodian culture, they’re remembered as “the people who taxed us too much”. One unfortunate manifestation of this attitude toward the French is that most Cambodians (not all) disregard French architecture. Unlike Cambodia’s ancient structures, nothing is done to preserve the old French buildings. Quite the contrary. They’re left to fall apart or worse. One ironic example is a building that was turned into a KFC restaurant (certainly a less interesting architectural structure). It should be noted that the French did design buildings well in an unfamiliar climate, maximizing the coolness of the earth and dissipating the heat of the air. But, alas, the baby went out with the bath water—for better or for worse.
Did you miss a previous Godmother's Advice email? 
  • #001: Khmer boxing & solving problems
  • #002: Workers' commute & "making room"
  • #003: Bright balloons & dangerous attractions
  • #004: Bats and others' ways
  • #005: Playing in the mud
  • #006: Tattoos and bad habits
  • #007: Make-believe
  • #008: Dental and other care
  • #009: Boat races and collaboration
 
  • #010: Loads carried
  • #011: Nothing beyond repair
  • #012: Solid bricks
  • #013: Toilet left standing
  • #014: Flying a kite
  • #015: Everyone is held
  • #016: Dry fish in the sun
  • #017: Little children
  • #018: Worth looking for
Background about this email: Several years ago, I was feeling like an inadequate Godmother due to my absence in the US and, consequently, my absence in my Godsons' lives. I decided to send what little advice I have as someone who has been in the world for 30 years longer than they. Thus was born my Godmother's emails--a tidbit of advice each week. I decided to share these emails with friends and others because I feel that  folks need some good, helpful or happy things in their Inbox these days. I hope these are; otherwise, unsubscribe below.
This email and my work in Cambodia is made possible by the Maryknoll Lay Missioners program through which I work. To support me, use this secure online form. If you are outside the US, you can donate through PayPal.com (specify "maria_montello@yahoo.com" as the recipient).
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