But in the past few days, I've stayed put at my Malaysian home sweet home, and I've happily settled into a bit of a groove. Here are a few snapshots and stories from this comfortable way of life.
I often wake up to a message, photo, or video sent to me from my family. Yesterday, I got a short video of my darling Ranger on a walk; today, I found this adorable shot of my black kitties sitting together on the back step.
Eight a.m. has been finding me up and busy. My host's daughter and I typically find ourselves settling in at her grandparents' nearby home, and I enjoy watching Aleesya's patient grandfather herd her through their morning routines of feeding, bathing and dressing our little missy before it's time for preschool.
Once he drops her off, Grandpa and I usually enjoy a relaxing session of TV programs spoken in a hodgepodge of English and Malay, with lots of subtitles to add to the confusion. And since we each speak only a few words of each others' language, Abah and I mostly just sit back and relax, with a few naps mixed in. Yesterday we watched a few ancient episodes of Hawaii Five-O; today, I mostly slept.
At noon, Aleesya is fetched home from school, and a few other members of the family show up for lunch: rice, chicken or fish in a curry or soy-based sauce, iced guava juice. That seems like a normal and perfectly delicious meal to me now.
^ After lunch, I go back by myself to my home away from home, and I like to start my afternoon with a refreshing swim. But today, as I was preparing to go down, it began to rain.
^ After swimming, I raided the fridge for two wafer cookies - my favorite after-swimming snack. I ate them as I reviewed a couple lessons of algebra, then recorded the videos for my students back home.
^^ My next outing was very exciting. I went out for an adventure all by myself, locking the once-strange but now-familiar doors, smiling at the framed Arabic greeting -"Peace be upon you," and glancing over the railing at the iconic KL skyline.
^ Then I marched on over to the nearby 7-11 store, and bought myself a few drinks. Paid with my local currency, the ringgit, and thanked the clerk by saying, "Terima kasih." He smiled and replied, "Sama-sama,"
As I walked to the store, I had been messaging with a friend who was eating potato chips as we talked, so I treated myself to some as well. As the bag promised, they did indeed taste just like chips from the USA. Lay's, to be exact.
^ Later on, I clarified a few English words and phrases for another friend. I'm quite often asked questions about the finer points of English synonyms and idioms, in particular, and I'm impressed by many of my friends' language skills.
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For more stories about my favorite Malaysian playmate, Aleesya, read these: