photo credit: IOM/Chhaya Chhin
“Twenty years ago I made the biggest decision in my life: leave the only place I had ever known. I knew I would miss my parents and my siblings, but I had the belief that by pursuing opportunities in Thailand I could make a bigger contribution to my family in the future.
Once in Thailand I started working in a private company. I then met the woman I decided to marry. That was the beginning of a new chapter of my life. My mother-in-law owned a Thai restaurant in Bangkok. I quit my job at the company and decided to work with my new family. I learned how to cook Thai food, speak Thai and develop my skills to manage a restaurant as a business, including how to train my staff.
Initially our restaurant did quite well, but as time passed there were more competitors joining the market. That’s when my wife and I began discussing the next chapter in our life, and we decided to open a Thai restaurant in Cambodia, my country.
I had not lived in Cambodia for 20 years and the changes were beyond my expectations. Even though I am Cambodian, I felt like a migrant once again. Looking back, I would not change my decision to migrate. I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience that has changed me for the better as a person. I am now using this experience and sharing the skills I learned with my homeland. To my twenty year old younger self, I say thank you as the decision to migrate has enriched my life and I hope I can now give this back to Cambodia.”