so i’m home… it’s actually been about a week, but for what may be the first time ever, i’ve been experiencing pretty hefty jetlag.. i think it was seriously aggravated by me taking ‘naps’ at 4pm (i don’t take short naps… catnaps? yea, doesn’t happen for me… i usually lay down for what’s meant to be a 20-40 minute rest, and i wake up 2-3 hours later) and waking up at 3-5am and getting breakfast and starting my day then.
and four airplanes (Penang to Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo to Los Angeles to Washington D.C.) in the span of a day and a half (is that right? well it’s thereabout..) is thoroughly unfun. i liked airplanes so much more when i was little. i didn’t require nearly as much space, and it was far more novel at the age of 4, running up and down the aisles, grinning at random passengers. i also used to sleep much more easily in planes and in cars.
but i made it home safe and well with my family, and i think all of us are just about recuperated from the trip/travel.
i hear the Bush W. got inaugurated while we were out. how could you people let that happen!? blah. i watched the footage while we were in Malaysia. no one i came across there is happy about it.
anyway, there was a good ~7+ inches of snow on the ground when we got here.. which was an interestingly far cry from the sweltering heat over there, particularly the last day or so..
i don’t think i ate nearly as many of the fruits i wanted to, but i did get a reasonable dose of langsat/dukong (they named the fruit and the manatee the same thing.. ...they don’t really look that much alike.. do they?), and mangosteen and guava..
i got to see my Thai sister, Tang, the last day while we were there… she’d made a last-minute drive down from Hat-Yai with her father, and found us despite thoroughly-screwed-up-attempted-email-correspondence.
i’m sorry to miss Thaipusam and Chinese New Year.. but i’m glad i was there to help put my grandfather at rest and the christmas dinner at Uncle Kheong’s and casual New Year’s dinner at Gottlieb were very pleasant.
i miss the cousins who were not there, and very much hope to see them sooner than later, but i’m glad for the time i had with the cousins who were there. of course, everyone grows up so so fast..and of course it’s especially apparent when you don’t live with them… but it’s still a bit shocking and sad and wonderful to realize it each time..
there are hundreds and hundreds of photographs from the past month+, and i’ve managed to get an online gallery up and running and the photos are all there now.. the url is available upon request.
i’ve noticed that a lot of things happen back at home when i leave the country… people suddenly buy new houses, or trade my bedroom for their office, or decide to move to China. some of those things i think definitely would not have happened, had i been around. some of those things most certainly should, regardless of me. :-/ dunno what else to say about that, for now.
i did get onto the text* forums… i started to very methodically try to catch up (skimmingly) on everything i’ve missed in the past few months…. and gave up after 10-20 threads. it’s just way too much. i do have to get back into the Resources site and see what needs work there, and what i can help with on the Textbook project… but it’s all a lil overwhelming.. i’ll soak in bit by bit, tho…
i already miss Penang food.. but i’m happy to be catching up on some of the television shows (some old, some new…damn it.. i do not need more tv shows taking up my time…) and to be cozy in my room and bed and blankets… oh! and it’s nice to be back at my computer. i’d almost forgotten just how adapted to me this baby is. still gotta pick up linux though.
sincere appreciation, again, to everyone who was concerned about me/my family during the tsunaminess. we were very fortunate.. we were crossing into Penang, from KL, when the tsunami struck, and the cove where the bridge and ferry are (Penang is an island) is reasonably protected by natural design. Had we gone straight to Penang, instead of spending the first few days with other famiily members in KL, it is very possible that we might have been eating at one of the seaside restaurants when the wave hit.
but also, i hear there was a particular Penang fisherman at sea that morning… he noticed strange behavior from the fish, and rather than being greedy and gathering up all the fish that were being unusually easy to catch, he decided, “something’s not right” and immediately headed for shore. he furthermore urged all the other fishermen to go inland, and shooed the tourists from the beach… they were pretty upset to be forced to leave the beach… but so many lives were saved later that day, as there were few people left in the water and beach when the wave hit. i think the death toll in Penang was about 50+... a very small piece of the enormous casualty total. new year’s eve parties all over Malaysia (and i’m sure all over Asia) were cancelled out of respect to the tsunami tragedy. i’m sure it’s still the main focus of the media there, even now.
if anyone’s interested in donating towards the tsunami relief cause, i recommend the Tzu Chi Foundation. Tzu Chi is a Buddhist organization; their name means “Love and Mercy”. as an example of their competence and dedication: rather than importing rice and clothing to the disaster areas, they are deliberately buying goods locally to stimulate the damaged economies and employing hundreds of victims (carpenters, engineers, laborers) to help build thousands of new houses in the affected areas. all of their manpower, including administrative, technical, and medical personnel, are volunteered; ALL contributions go directly to relief efforts. if you’ve been wanting to help, but you’ve been worried about your donation being misused, either corruptively or ineffectively, then please consider Tzu Chi.