Archive for the ‘Expat Living’ Category

The last six months have been very busy for me. At times quite stressful.

The weekend of my daughter’s high school graduation (she graduated on the Friday) seemed especially busy. My husband was preparing to fly back to India on the Sunday with Thumper (the infamous canine) in cargo. We were worried about the mutt. And doing a bunch of last minute things.

We drove them to the airport (an hour from our home) hours earlier than the flight to ensure all paperwork in order.

It was hot. But it’s always hot in Malaysia.

And I was sweating. But I was always sweating in Malaysia.

Had to rush home from the airport because a friend was in from Australia and we needed to meet a group for dinner.

It was rush, rush and rush.

Got home but no time for a shower. What to do?

Brushed my hair and put it up in a clip. Some lip color.

I stunk. Just being honest. So I grabbed a face cloth and soap and cleaned under my arms.

Because I smelled like a person who had labored all day in the Malaysian heat without deodorant. For the record I do wear deodorant. Sometimes it fails me. In Malaysia.

At least I’m aware of it.

Hightailed it out of the house with my daughters and our friends who lived two doors down to meet up with our visiting friends at an Indian restaurant in the city.

It ended up being a lovely evening. The young folks went home right after dinner. My daughters had an early flight out in the morning. My friend and I went with the visitors for a couple of drinks after dinner.

Not a late night.

Arrived home and readied myself for bed. Now, thankfully, I only smelled like Indian food and wine.

My eldest, who sleeps with me when she’s at home and my husband is not, mumbled a few words like, “How was it?”

I took that as my cue for conversation.

She’s not always a fan. Because I’m sometimes pillow to pillow, “Remember your friend, Melissa, from second grade? Whatever happened to her?” and the like.

So I said, “Was a good night with the friends.”

And then continued conversing.

She said, “Not tonight, Mom. Early flight tomorrow.”

Totally respected that and snuggled into my pillow for a good night’s sleep.

Few minutes later I hear, “Mom?”

“Yes?”

“When we came back from airport did you shower?” she asked.

“No! You know I didn’t have time for that. Had to get downtown. I just cleaned under my arms with soap and water.”

She continued, “With the face cloth that’s on the sink?”

“Yup.”

“Oh.”

Okay, I laughed out loud even though I was nearly in slumber town. Couldn’t help myself.  Total belly laugh.

I said, “I’m going to blog about this one day.”

She replied, “Be more embarrassing for you though.”

I retorted, “Not really. It was my face cloth. Who uses someone else’s face cloth????”

Wishing you all a fun weekend! With a belly laugh or two! I promise to be better at updating the blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am preparing for another move in June. So I’m starting to clear things out of the house.

Little by little.

And also trying to use up things instead of just tossing them.

I’ve written about this same thing back in 2009 when I was preparing for a move so this is totally not a new Mary phenomenon.

My eldest daughter is home and she is a big proponent of “using up stuff.” As I am. It’s like a contest for her.

Youngest daughter and husband not so much.

My house sounds wacky if one were to hear the exclamations.

Used up the bucket of chia seeds! Yes!!!

We are making dishes to include many things purchased in the past for just one recipe.

Cans of beets gone. Who bought those anyway?

No more aromatic sticks. Check.

Starting to pull out the candles.

Working on the bottles of salad dressing.

Slowly using up the products. The tubs of moisturizers, little jars of airline perfumes, hair oils and face masks.

The other day, I said to my youngest, “Jeepers, I smell like a bordello!”

I put out my hand, while driving her to school, to give her a little squeeze. She sort of backed away and was wiping her hands.

I was like, “What???”

She said, “It’s just a little greasy.”

I laughed and said, “I know. I can hardly put on my clothes in the morning.”

In the end there will be re-gifting and many donations. But for now I am just using up stuff.

Even if it’s April.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The first time I ever saw a red fox in the wild was after my Dad died two years ago.

I was with my brothers and we spent the day together-just the three of us- visiting the Cape. My father loved the Cape and so did we. We went to all the usual old haunts. Spent hours reminiscing, laughing and talking about Dad.

We were heading to the beach on the “other side” as we called it. My oldest brother saw it walking through the marshland in a residential area.

Dad and the boys would have seen a fox before because they spent a lot of time on golf courses. I was 50 years old and had never seen one in the wild.

I texted my sister-in-law who is into animal spirit sightings and symbolism. She said something like the fox is representing us as we navigate obstacles, decisions or difficulties. I no longer have the actual text or photo since my phone got swiped.

Found this in a google search.

You may be called to take action in a way that shows your adaptability and ability to move quickly through obstacles and resistance.

Well, that was true because we had a lot of things to take care of after Dad died. It was all new to us.

Why would I be thinking about a fox today?

Couple of evenings ago I was in a local Malaysian neighborhood on my way to visit someone who had just been released from the hospital. As I was walking to the house I saw a big cage with an animal in it on someone’s patio.

The people were just doing normal things one does in a patio. Watering plants, sweeping the ground, etc.

I approached these people and asked, “What’s that in the cage?”

The man said, “It’s a fox.”

I replied, “Really??”

Didn’t look like a fox to me.

He said, “Yes, it’s a fox.”

Okay then. It’s a fox.

I asked lots of questions.

Where did you get it? Kuantan.

Is it nice?  Like can you pet it? Well, it bites.

How old was it when you got it? Five days old.

Did it have siblings? Don’t know.

And on and on. LOL

fox1fox2fox3

I never saw a fox that looked like this guy. LOL. So I’m not totally buying it but I will surely take the sighting symbolism just the same.

You may be called to take action in a way that shows your adaptability and ability to move quickly through obstacles and resistance.

Sometimes it is hard for folks to move quickly when faced with things that are challenging.

If there are currently obstacles and resistance in your life I honestly wish you adaptability and the ability to move through them very quickly. Fox sighting or not!

 

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Went to church yesterday. Possibly my first time attending a Sunday service that was not Catholic. Stepped outside the box! No, I’m not going all new-agey but I was happy to give it a try. There are worse places to spend an hour, no?

It was a very pleasant experience. The young guy (curate) talked about giving. About how we give and who we help.

He said, “It’s easy to help folks that look like us.”

Referenced a study (that got a few chuckles during his telling of the story) about Manchester United Football fans.

An actor was set up to stumble and fall. Crying in pain and clutching his ankle. When he was wearing his Manchester United jersey a whopping 92% of the fans go to assist him.

When he was wearing a plain white t-shirt only 30% of the fans went to help the fellow.

When he was wearing the rival team’s shirt (Liverpool) only 30% of the fans aided the man.

I looked up the study (fact checker that I am) to read about it. There’s more on the study here. Quite interesting since it demonstrates that a few minor changes can alter our perceptions and strengthen bonds with other people.

Causes one to really reflect on who we help.

Just those folks that look like us?

Acknowledging that this might be true would be the first step in changing our mindset and a great reminder that we are all on the same team.

I wish you, my teammates, all a wonderful week!

 

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I met with a friend yesterday. We were chatting about this and that. Traveling was one of the topics. Specifically about airports.

Jenny mentioned a line from the movie, “Love, Actually” which claims that the Arrival Gate at the airport is the happiest place to be.

Yes, that’s so true.

Even though an arrival gate can be quite chaotic.

Go through the doors and there’s a mess of humanity staring you directly in the face. Before they quickly dismiss you as not being their person.They continue searching for their loved one. Holding signs. Flowers.

Anxiously waiting.

Then the cries of joy. The smiles and laughter. The hugs.

It’s overwhelming when it’s face to face-on the same floor level. For the ones coming out of the gate. Especially if you are a shorty like me! Desperately looking for their own loved one in the sea of bodies.

What I always liked about the small airport in my home state is that you had to ride down the escalator to the waiting crowd. It allowed a bird’s eye view, while descending, to scan the masses and seek out your own people.

Also allowed them to look up and find you gliding down slowly.

And I would see my parents. Standing together and smiling when they saw us.

Would nudge my kids, “Hey, there they are! There’s Nana and Papa!”

Although they would have already spotted them on their own.

I went home last summer and then again for Christmas and it was different.

My father would never again be waiting at the Arrival Gate for me.

So, we passed through the excited crowds, collected our baggage and hopped into a taxi.

The Arrival Gate is a happy place. Love everywhere.

But not always. Sometimes it’s a memory of love everywhere.

And those memories are truly cherished.

 

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It’s the end of the school year. A busy time of year.

Still have one more year with my youngest. But it sort of hit me this last month or so. Only one more year before she leaves.

I am sure it will be difficult. Especially if I am still overseas and she attends college back home.

One of my friends is now teaching her daughter how to prepare certain meals.

That’s practical.

Me, on the other hand, literally forced my daughter to watch “Rocky.” She had never seen it.

I have a list in my head of things she needs to read, see and learn before we send her off next year.

Because we will have to let her go. That is a fact.

I remember when our eldest was taking the car out on her own for the very first time. She was heading to her job at a strawberry farm. Couple of towns away.

Beautiful weather so rain wouldn’t be a problem. Lovely roads so that also wouldn’t be a cause for concern.

Her Dad and I were still a bit nervous once she left the house.

Finally, he says, “I’m going to follow her to make sure she’s okay.”

I was like, “Yes, please do!”

Half an hour later he comes back. I asked him how it went.

He smiled and said, “Great! And she was so glad to see me. She was waving at me.”

We both felt so relieved.

When she arrived home later in the day I asked her about the driving. Also mentioned that she was waving at her father.

She told me she was actually waving him away. That she was doing perfectly fine on her own.

I laughed out loud.

That’s a very good thing. She was prepared to drive on her own. We had ensured that this was the case.

Sure, we still worried.

But the best thing we can do for our children is to make sure that they are ready to go.

Then we will know that we have done our job properly.

Even if it hurts. Even if we worry.

 

 

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When I first arrived in Malaysia I wasn’t able to drive right away. My husband’s company required that a safety course be completed before getting behind the wheel.

It was an all day class. About the dos and don’ts. The rules.

Statistics.

Some interactive sessions.

Driving with an instructor.

The finale was a long video with horrible, horrible accident scenes. Set to weird music.

Lady with baby in pram walking across road. Boom! Car hits them. 

Truck filled with logs that become untethered. Causing chaos all over the road.

One gory image after another. Seemed to go on forever.

A woman I know said she attended the course and decided that there was no way she was going to drive after seeing all of that.

Horrible video aside, I learned a couple of things that day.

One was about the position of hands on the wheel to avoid broken arms in a collision.

The other thing was that it is really important to look ahead while on the road. Not just what’s in front of you.

We tend to keep an eye on the car directly in front of us. Checking the brake lights so we don’t slam into it if the car suddenly stops.

But we sometimes forget to look ahead.

I am now very conscious of this.

Also thinking that this could apply to life.

We look at each day. Each situation. And that’s good. Live each day to the fullest and all that.

But we also need to look ahead. Plan ahead.

Not just at the lights directly in front of us.

 

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