Well, this week, my year off has officially ended. I think that it has truly been a fulfilling year, as I have written in my earlier entry, which culminated in the trip to Europe (which I promise will be up, within the year, haha!) and Singapore, and a wonderful month in Malaysia.
It was a truly magnificent trip back to Malaysia this time, and a really fulfilling one. These were some of the things that I managed to get up to:
1) Spending quality time with the family. I truly appreciate being back home. Even if it means just sitting in the living room in the mornings, reading The Star newspaper and leisurely filling in the cryptic crossword puzzles, or talking to Mum under the ceiling fan. I also love reading a good comic book on my bed (Shin Chan!) and it's great to be able to do that when you're almost t__ty!(_0!) years old.
We also had a great trip to Genting Highlands as a family, where we got to enjoy meals together (ie. Kenny Roger's Roasters with the repetitive werewolf howl from the nearby haunted house driving us absolutely insane) and getting to watch a movie together (Bodyguards and Assassins, which was quite a good watch) and this:
Absolute utter madness for the whole day. No outdoor ride was spared as we queued up for all the rides while Mum sat patiently for us, waiting for the horrible news that her three children were stuck up somewhere in the Space Shot, or thrown off the Corkscrew. Although I must say that she was really sporting and joined my brother on the violently swinging Pirate Ship. It was a day of near-death experiences on every ride and screaming out expletives in every language at the top of our lungs!
And yes, I have officially hooked them all onto the soundtrack of Avenue Q. My brother is still waiting to kill me for permanently burning The Internet Is For Porn into his head.
There was of course, the wonderful dinner with the extended family, and also a trip to Ipoh, where we met cousins who were so-many-times-removed until we were possibly not related anymore!
Our uncle kindly took us around in his car to show us the sights of all the wonderful small towns near Ipoh - from the dilapidated and haunted small town of Papan, to the kuih-muih town of Pusing, to the wonderful seafood lunch at the mining town of Tualang and finally, to my mother's home town in the little known town of Chemor.
Oh, and guess what - we actually got to visit the famous town of Tanjung Rambutan, which till today is still synonymous with the psychiatric institute there. I remember as kids, when we wanted to say indirectly that someone had lost their marbles, we would affectionately tell them to go to Tanjung Rambutan.
My uncle tried to drop me off several times but they wouldn't take me.
2) Spending time with friends. It was a really satisfying time of catching up, from listening to a good friend's testimony in his new church, to the lunch and dinner catch-ups with old friends which I always look forward to when I go home.
I always love trading stories with all my friends in Malaysia, to find out where everyone is in this year of their life. It is like having a stroboscopic relationship where you hear and see your friends grow year by year. I feel this great sense of comfort and belonging as we weave our stories and shared memories together. In many ways, they do complete the person that I am.
3) Cleaning up the house. I have spent a tiny fortune on photo albums, such that the people in Popular bookstore have been sending me flower wreaths thanking me for putting their children through college.
I am glad to have been able to clean up our wonderful home in TD, rearranging all our photos, throwing away decades old stuff, and also getting inspired by my little sister to actually wipe away thirty year old dust bunnies. These weren't dust bunnies anymore. They were more like Resident Evil Dust Zombies. Or Dustzilla.
We sold thousands of ringgit worth of old electronic goods to an electronic scrap man for the grand total of - wait for it - ninety ringgit. Four monitors, three CPUs, one big TV, an electronic typewriter and a fax machine. Ninety ringgit. I should have welded everything together, and hawked it off as an art piece for millions instead. Or started my own haram ma kei (illegal electronic horse-racing betting) centre.
4) Movies! Unlike my last visits to KL, this time I averaged almost a movie a week while I was back. I got to watch Avatar, Bodyguards and Assasins, Tiger WooHoo and the regrettable Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant. Four movies! Four times the caramel popcorn! Woohoo!
5) Whiiii! My brother bought a Wii for my family for Christmas, and like all good presents that we buy for the family, he and I ended up playing the most with it! I have sacrficed a total of 68 hours of my life trying to complete The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which I failed to do! Curse you Nintendo for robbing me of precious hours I could have spent playing with the computer instead!
My Mum and Mii (clockwise from top left) Me trying to show her how to play bowling. Mum tries it, and finds out she is very good. A very dejected me owes my Mum five ringgit for losing to her.
6) The Wedding. I got married, and you all missed it! Hahaha! No, it was a good friend's wedding from OCF which I got to host, and it was good fun, although, as usual, everyone thinks I am an idiot by the end of it.
And they ring the people to come with their straitjackets and bring me to - you guessed it - see number 1.
(Tanjung Rambutan, that is, not Genting Highlands. Genting Highlands is for rich mad people.)
So, a truly magical trip back home, and returning every year, I am still deeply in love with Malaysia. It's like going back to see your mistress. Only thing is, she is actually your wife.
*translated: I Know What I Did Last Summer. Not as punchy in Malay, though.