I remember that morning very well. I didn’t remember it for anything truly outstanding… but just for that one little sentence spoken by my mother: “Look where we’re going!” Then she pointed at the computer screen where there was a map open. I was still in my pajamas, half-asleep, and my heart fluttered in my chest. Where? Where were we going? I squinted at the screen trying to make sense of it. Malaysia? That couldn’t be right. Why would we go there? My smile disappeared from my face and I turned to look gravely at my mother, asking, “Why are we going there?”
The conversation that ensued was… interesting. I quickly discovered that my summer didn’t belong to me anymore and I think my heart stopped. We were going to Malaysia for three whole months, because my Dad’s company needed him there. I was also going to miss a month of school.
Yes, I will admit I didn’t want to go. I wasn’t excited. Until that morning I didn’t even know where Malaysia was or even heard of it for that matter. First of all: it’s on the other side of the world. If I wanted to talk to any of my friends I would have to be on at 8:00 at night while they were on at 8:00 in the morning. There’s a twelve hour difference between us. If my parents had said “We’re going to Florida!” or “We’re going to Hawaii” I would have been excited, but Malaysia? What did that place have to offer me?
Well, it’s been one year since we were there. I have to say it turned out quite differently from what I expected and it turned out to have a lot of things I can’t get here in America. One thing we don’t have here is a warm climate. I live in Maine. After Alaska, we’re about as cold as you can get in the United States. It’s September right now and already the ground is frosting over at night. Yes, I miss that sunny humid weather, but there are so many other things I miss too. I miss the people, believe it or not. Everywhere we went they were always so warm and welcoming. Granted, they nearly always wanted to sell us something, but the people my Dad was working with loved to take us out to dinner, teach us about their culture and entertain us. They were wonderful and hospitable.
Food is another subject I have to discuss. I hated spicy food until I lived in Malaysia. Now I’m hooked. Chicken curry is so good, even when your lips are on fire. It’s funny how now that I’m home, spicy food just isn’t very spicy to me. Americanized Asian food is nothing like the real deal. There was something about the food in Malaysia that stood out to me. The best thing I can say is that it was all very sincere: everything that was cooked for you was made fresh. Each place with a specialty, unlike restaurants in America. Hawker stands rule!
Now, I did learn something from all of this: you can never judge a book by its cover. Malaysia is just as good as any spot to visit if you get to know the place a little while. Hey, I had three months to do it! Though I didn’t miss it at first, now I know how much that trip means to me. This trip has opened up my eyes to the world and I realize: It’s not so scary.
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