Kota Kinabalu/Family - My Family Travels
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I’ve been traveling since I was a baby. My mom works for the airlines and my dad just loves to fly, so I’ve been a very lucky gal. Too bad, they like to travel differently.

It was probably the summer of 2007 when my dad decided to go back to Malaysia, my step-mom’s hometown. It’s called Kota Kinabalu. We were going to be in Asia for three weeks. But what makes this trip so special to me isn’t because I bought the most things or went to the most places, but because it was the first time, I didn’t want to leave.

When we arrived in Singapore, the city was bustling with the night clubs in Clarke Quay (where we stayed) we walked into this street that was just perfectly lighted to make the sky look magical.

In every mall, there’s a huge food court on the top floor. It’s filled with traditional dishes like famous hand flipped Indian bread smothered in butter and special sauces. There’s a wide variety of Malaysian dishes like laska, a spicy and scorching hot noodle dish. We walked the entire day for every day we were there. We stayed at one of those small cramped hotels, you know what I mean, the really overpriced ones you commonlysee in Asian countries because there’s absolutely no space to spare. But despite the fact that I almost punctured a rib while I was trying to shower next to the sink, the atmosphere was lovely.

There’s no way to explain the feeling of waking up early in the morning and going downstairs to the café to eat a simple but enjoyable western styled breakfast while you’re watching people on the streets through the window while reading a paper. It makes you feel whole again.

We left Singapore; I knew I would go back, just give it a year or two. I was anxious upon our arrival to Malaysia, I’d never met my step mom’s relatives before and who knows, they weren’t obligated to like me. I arrived at the airport completely lost, until my step mom burst into tears as she flung her arms around a lady I’d never seen before in my life. Turns out, she was my aunt. She looked at me and smiled when she hugged me to tell me I looked way different than I did in the pictures. When we got back to the house, my aunt talked with me about everything, my life in the states, what I planned on doing, what I wanted to be. Each morning I’d wake up to find my relatives offering me something to eat or asking me if there was anything I needed. I felt terrible about doubting these people before.

We were on the docks with the sun blazing against us, accompanied by the noisy shouts of my little brother and his cousins. We got on a boat for a bumpy ride to the other island. The water was as clear as ice, and you could see every thing swimming around in it. I can’t remember how long I sat on that beach, but it’s a good thing I didn’t get sun burned. Our whole family ended up playing banana boat, you sit on this inflatable yellow thing and the boat pulls you around the bay to try to get you to fall off. It’s great when you’re on the balloon but once you fall off you’re submersed in this salty mess and you float back up thinking “I want to puke.” Besides that though, this was my paradise.

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