Oh Look, Krill!

Oh don't worry. Whales don't eat clownfish, they eat krill.

Family Roadtrip, Spending QualityTime Cooped Up in A Car

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I think that the last time my family and I actually had a family holiday together with all of us present, was at least a decade ago. With school and work taking up most of our time, we hardly ever go off on a trip together. So when my mum asked if I was free for a family trip, I made time to go since I have not had a proper holiday in two years.

My parents decided on Awana Kijal, Golf, Beach & Spa Resort, solely on the basis of their breakfast spread. Having never been there before, I just went with their decision.

Initially, I wasn’t looking forward to the trip as my previous experiences with travelling to the northern states of Malaysia, it’s usually long, winding and being stuck in the car with my sisters for extended number of hours would always result in someone crying. However, my mother assured me that it’s only an eight hours drive.

So the trip started really early in the morning, after a quick breakfast, where my mum had chicken rice at nine in the morning. It’s strange and yet, not really. The drive up north wasn’t so bad seeing that we spent most of the drive either asleep or just talking. I would have offered to take over from my dad and drive for an hour or two but the speed at which the other drivers go scared me. Also, huge trucks not following traffic rules are also another reason why I didn’t.

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After a few stops for lunch and loo visits, we arrived at the hotel late in the afternoon. We didn’t have to wait long for our rooms either. We rested for a while, watching free cable channels, before going down for a swim. After a quick wash up, we headed down for dinner at the Chinese restaurant. It should’ve been a buffet dinner but due to the off-peak period, the cancelled the buffet and gave us food vouchers instead. The food was not bad and the serving sizes were huge! I was so stuffed that I thought that I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep but I was wrong.

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I woke up hungry, which is good since the breakfast was buffet style and I got to eat what ever I want. Once again, due to the off-peak season, there wasn’t as much variety (or so my mum said), not that I cared one bit. As long as there was a bread station with various spreads and choice of bread, omelette station, cereal station and tea, I’m good. There were local delicacies like nasi dagang but I was more interested in the other things to try that.

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Breakfast was followed by a walk at the beach, since the youngest sis was whining that she wanted to go to the beach. So we went. Even though it was only half past ten, it was so hot. Walking on the sand bare feet felt like I was trying to get my feet baked. The hot sand was such a contrast to the cool water. The waves weren’t strong enough to topple me like it did when I was a child but I could feel the drag as the wave drew back towards the see.

It’s been a while since I went to the beach and I would have loved to go for a swim if it wasn’t because of the scorching sun overhead. The skies were perfectly blue and I could even see fishermen standing on their boat, throwing the net over the side.

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While we were aimlessly walking up and down the beach taking pictures, my parents found a huge cuttlefish bone. The ones that I usually see are about the size of my palm but these were about the size of my feet. If the bones were that big, can you imagine how big the animal would be like?

The rest of our stay at the hotel involved holing up in the air-conditioned hotel room and going to the nearby mall to get away from the heat. This was then followed by a nice, long soak in the bathtub, just for the fun of it.

This might be the last family roadtrip together since my middle sis starts work today and in a few months time, so will the youngest. With everyone working and me with school, it might be a long, long while before we could go on a trip like this again. I hope not too long.

Back From My Roadtrip

There’s too much that I can saw about my family roadtrip but I think it that my sister, Hopeily said it best.

They’re always fun. You laugh together, annoy the crap out of your parents… But you know they don’t really mean it when they threaten to throw you out of the car and leave you by the side of the road near the creepy forest if you don’t shut up.

You get to catch up with your families (let’s face it, families are now oh so busy you hardly have any time to catch up with each other). Parents tell you stories from long ago before they were married, or the times that you don’t seem to recall when you were kid. Also, the latest scoop of the family gossip (e.g the Dramatic Aunt’s drama).

I’ll get into the details of the trip once the photos are edited.

Things I Learnt From My Mother

1. Recipes are just a guideline.

2. Cooking is about estimation and feeling, not exact measurements.

3. Any ingredient combo can be made tasty with onions, shallots, garlic and chilli.

4. Do not depend on a man to fix things around the house, learn how to do it on your own.

5. You are forever 5 years old in their eyes.

6. Stay away from politics, just smile, nod your head and ignore everything you hear.

7. What ever drama happens in the family, keep your mouth shut and don’t make things worse.

8. When all else fails, faith will get your through it.

9. A mother’s love is unwavering.

10. A mother’s blessing and prayers are the things that will make a difference between success and crash and burn.

11. She is always right. ALWAYS! Even if you think you’re right, you’re NOT.

At The Airport

I'm at the airport his minutes, waiting for my parents, who are leaving to attend my sister's graduation ceremony next week. The number of people milling about is astounding.

There aren't enough seats and I was standing for almost half an hour before someone vacated a seat.

People talking at their top of their voices, kids screaming for what ever reason and the stench of body odour is enough to send someone running for the hills. Also, I never understood why people would congregate in large groups in the middle of the path, with their multiple, superbly packed luggage trollies and have an intensive  discussion about stuff. Why can't they find some place else to discuss?

Celebrating Eid ul-Fitr 2009

Due to certain circumstances, this year’s Eid isn’t as joyous as it was previously but my family tried our best, even if it meant slapping on fake smiles and be all fakely happy despite the drama.

I woke up early on Sunday, without needing my mum to wake me up. Within a few hours, all the mess in the living room was cleared up, the table cloths ironed and changed and all the plates/glasses/silverware, arranged next to the dishes and everything was ready for guests. My mom even turned my birthday lilies into the centre piece on the buffet table.

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Every year, the trip up north to visit my paternal grandmother is a must and this year was no different. To me, Eid is not just about the food, but it’s mainly about family. It’s one of those few days in a year that I get to meet majority of my relatives and catch up, so meeting my my cousins on my dad’s side was nice. I may not have much to say to them as I don’t know how to initiate a conversation but I tried and I did enjoy their company.

On the way home, we passed by a number of houses with oil lamps lit around their compound, some people playing with sparkles and some of the houses had fairy lights decorating their houses. These things added to what my dad referred to as the spirit of celebrating Eid in the village.

He told us how, as a child, he and his brothers would go out to find old tin cans or even cut some bamboo to make into those oil lamps, and how they’d build their own canons to shoot sparkles into the sky. I remembered when I was a child, my grandmother’s house would be alit with the oil lamps and I had so much fun playing with sparkles with my cousins. I even remembered one year when one of my late uncles and my cousins had built their own canon and the resounding blast for that made my ears ring but it was so much fun.

Listening to him tell stories from his childhood gave a sense of nostalgia, wishing that it’s as simple now as it used to be. My sisters didn’t get to experience the full spirit of Eid like I did as a child and part of me is saddened by that. I just hope that when I have children one day, they’ll be able to experience Eid that I did.