saying goodbye

goodbyegac1

One last look from the windows of our apartment

The road from Kuala Lumpur to Charleston, South Carolina was a long one.  On our last night, I stood in our now empty sunroom-bar-nursery-reading room-packing central (it evolved many times while we lived there).  I watched the lights glow from Petronas Towers and thought of how confusing and chaotic it felt to move across the world, and how lost I’d felt in the beginning having left a career, friends and family behind.  I chuckled a little to myself at how at first I’d introduced myself as an American attorney, and how over time I learned to let go of my former job as a way of identifying myself.

I’m still processing what moving overseas has meant to me.  Most immediately, I can say that it feels good to have done nothing on paper but feel so enriched.  I left the US as a newlywed and a person who so valued my career that I really couldn’t see who I was beyond that, which honestly surprised me at the time, because while I was in DC, I don’t think I would’ve ever thought my career was the only interesting thing about me.  Once I was in Kuala Lumpur, my former job was the only way I knew how to identify myself.

goodbyegac2
Top: one last laugh with some friends of ours at the bakery ’round the corner; bottom: our barebones living room and sunroom

Over time, through the interesting friends I made, the cooking classes, the photography lessons, and the incredibly vast amounts of food I stuffed myself with, I’ve learned how to focus less on accomplishing and more on doing.  I still want to have a career, but now I know there’s a lot of good living out there without one.  And being a mom — I know it’s been said a million times before, but it’s the most fun, interesting job I’ve ever had.  I can’t wait until the Gravy Baby gets old enough to ask about his birthplace, because boy, I’ll have some stories for him about our wacky adventures in Malaysia.

And as for the Gravy Train — well, as the hubby said to me as we were taking off from Kuala Lumpur en route to our first stop in Taiwan, just because we’re not living overseas anymore doesn’t mean there aren’t adventures to be had.  We’re looking forward to creating a new life in Charleston and we can’t wait to catch up with the people and the places we’ve been away from.  So I’ll keep writing and photographing and eating, if you’ll keep following along with me.  (Actually — it doesn’t really matter if you read.  Blogging is fun).

We’re back now.  It took us 5 flights, 9 days (with stops in between to see family), 178 boxes and 5 suitcases.   I’m still laying face down whenever I can and trying to recover.  As soon as I do, I’ll show you what we’ve eaten so far.  It’s been AMAZING.

scenes from an international move

movgac1

As they say in Malaysia, we’re finished ‘reddie (finished already).  The movers came and left, taking with them all 178 (!) neatly-packed boxes.

6a011570d70884970b014e8945863a970d-650wi

Moving trucks are much tinier here than back home, so they had to come back and forth 4 times to carry our 8 crates (holding those 178 boxes).  Luckily, the Gravy Baby loves, loves, loves boxes.  And packing materials.  And movers.

6a011570d70884970b014e89458c04970d-650wi

By the end of the day yesterday, I was relieved but a little sad.  Our Malaysia chapter is ending, and even though I’m excited about the next one, it’s a bittersweet farewell.  We’ll miss our friends (even the ones we made here who have already moved on) and, of course, the food.  There’s a mini-gorging going on right now as we try to savor our favorites (one more steamer of xiao loong bao, please).

But onwards and upwards!  By Friday we’ll be Stateside.  Boleh, boleh (can, can)!

i sing with my eyes closed?

kogac1

Top left: the coveted mic in our private karaoke room; top right: shockingly, this male duet between the hubby and a friend was actually Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face“; bottom left: I’m slightly mortified that there’s photographic evidence of my cheesy self; bottom right: can you guess what song the hubby is singing?

One of our favorite “Malaysia — Truly Asia” pasttimes is going out for karaoke.  The karaoke places in Kuala Lumpur aren’t like the ones back home, where you have to submit yourself to the indignity of singing in front of strangers who are inhaling greasy happy hour wings and only half-listening to your well-intentioned warblings.  The karaoke places here are all sectioned off into private rooms that you rent, and usually include some sort of all-you-can-eat buffet (it’s not a particularly good buffet, but now my brain has forever linked stir-fried noodles and off-key blissing out).

Last weekend we went for one last group sing.  The hubby loves hard rock classics that enable him to croon and lunge forward at the same time, like a rocker.  I apparently prefer belting out ballads with my eyes closed.  I believe this photo was taken during my heartfelt rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story.”

What sort of wacky activities are you getting up to this weekend?

about a party, without photos

fiegac1

I had grand plans for my post today.  You see, we threw a party over the weekend.  We wanted to have a last hurrah and see our friends one last time before the movers come and our lives get turned upside down again.  I spent the week feverishly planning the menu, buying food at my various markets around town, and writing blog posts in my head about what I would say about planning for our big day.

All the while, I’ve been trying to study for the South Carolina bar exam, which I’ll be taking next month (my third bar exam in five years).  The Gravy Baby has decided that this, too, would be the week that he would start exploring the world around him, which involved tearing curtains off the curtain rod, pulling a trash can liner (with raw chicken) out of the bin, and scurrying towards the front door as soon as it’s opened.  I had this brilliant idea in my head of how dainty and whimsical my party would be (fajitas by the pool!  adorable sombreros!  fun tablecloths!  a pinata!).  Instead, I ended up cleaning up tres leches cake batter off my darling child’s head when he bumped my leg and caught me off guard as I was elbow deep in my mixing bowl.  Luckily, he has like, seven strands of hair, so a Bounty paper towel did the trick.

By the time the party rolled around on Saturday, both the hubby and I were running around like maniacs.  I mentioned to the hubby that we should take pictures, and he wholeheartedly agreed. Then, both of us took off in different directions to entertain our friends.  Five sun-soaked, happy hours later, we had a pile of fajita fixins’ strewn all over our kitchen and not a single photo to show for it.

The hubby knew I was a little sad that I didn’t manage to get photos with our friends who have become so dear to us over the last two years, so for lunch the next day he surprised me by putting a plate together for me of all the things I’d made for the party.  My skirt steak and chicken fajitas, lovingly marinated overnight, with pineapple salsa, corn salsa, and queso on the side all made his beautifully put together plate (pictured above).  I hit the “pause” button on my studying so that we could eat and recap our fun afternoon with our friends and talk about how much we’ll miss them.

If it isn’t obvious yet, we’re really sad to leave Malaysia.  It’s been a great two years.