Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Personal Goals

As many of you know, I am spending a year in Malaysia with my husband and two teenagers on a family adventure. While here, I am embracing the new in my life and trying to say yes to as many experiences as possible (within reason). Below is the list of activities that I have begun doing since moving to Malaysia in August. Perhaps a little ambitious, but I am also trying to remember that I am only human and to forgive myself if I can't do each activity as often as I'd like and I not expect myself to be perfect at each new thing I attempt. Here is my list if you are interested...

   taking lessons and becoming more accomplished at guitar
   developing calluses on my fingers so that they don’t hurt me when playing
   am currently taking lessons but my fingers still hurt :(

Bahasa Malaysia
   learning some of the Malaysian language
   am currently taking lessons, but not studying much...

   exploring places in KL, Malaysia, and SE Asia   
   around KL, have visited Chow Kit wet market, the National Science museum, the National        
   Mosque, TTDI, 
   around Malaysia, have visited Melacca, Sarawak/Borneo, Penang, Frasier's Hill
   around SE Asia, have visited Bali, Thailand; plan to go to Vietnam and Cambodia

   keeping a daily diary

   blogging regularly and be more comfortable with blogging
   have 34 blog posts since coming to Malaysia 6 months ago
   have learned how to add pictures to posts and edit more easily

   understanding this site better
   have looked at site more and tried to figure out what it’s all about-am still not
   convinced it is going to be a regular part of my life, but trying to keep an open 
   mind since my daughter and husband are on it regularly

   trying out different types of exercise to stay in shape and working on my flexibility, core
   strength, and balance
   am working out at Fitness First gym 3x/week, taking Lesmills group exercise classes 
   and running on the treadmill and swimming in the condo pool
   getting monthly massages and trying out different types of massage
   have had 6 massages so far and am right on track ; )))

   learning my way around my Mac Book better, faster, easier, and more comfortably
   this is slow going esp without a convenient apple store or classes available 
   hard drive died recently and have been having trouble getting photos and iMovie back to         
   where it was beforehand

   volunteering in some capacity
   still trying to figure this one out-maybe at the school, perhaps with refugees...

Cook local
   learning to cook some local foods  
   many places in KL offer cooking classes of local foods

   making new friends; staying in touch with old friends
   am going to coffees with different expat and international groups, meeting new people
   skyping, tweeting, blogging, and emailing friends and family regularly

   taking lots of pictures with my new Canon camera and learning more about manual 
   functions on the camera
   have been taking lots of pictures (see blogs and facebook)
   taking photography classes with the British expat group (ABWM)
   joined a Malaysian photo group (Glimpses) that posts weekly pictures with a different  
   theme each week

Mom stuff
   to keep kids interested, stimulated, healthy, and safe; to role model healthy and 
   proactive behaviors in a new environment
   getting good books at the library, serving nutritious foods, looking for in and out of 
   school opportunities for kids to grow and experience new things

 Learning more about my new country
    attended lectures on Chinese New Year, Modern Day Slavery,

     learning to play Mahjong
     playing Mahjong weekly with a group of British women

   New experiences
   to try new things (see above!)

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Malaysia is split into two parts, peninsular Malaysia (where Kuala Lumpur is located) and Borneo Malaysia. This past week our family visited Kuching in the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Borneo is the 3rd largest island in the world and is made up of 3 countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Malaysia takes up the top quarter of the island and includes the states of Sarawak and Sabah. 

Visiting Borneo was a wonderful change from the high rise landscape and hectic pace of Kuala Lumpur. Kuching means cat in Malaysian and as you can probably guess, their  city mascots are cats and you can see them everywhere. Kuching has a population of 1 million, but consists mostly of low rise buildings and lots of green outside the city. So we spent most of our time outside the city ; ).

In the week that we spent visiting Kuching, we went to Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (semenggoh wildlife rehabilitation centre), Kubah National Park (http://www.sarawakforestry.com/htm/snp-np-kubah.html), Bako National Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bako_National_Park), and Sarawak Cultural Village (http://www.scv.com.my/main.asp). At Semenggoh, we viewed wild orangs during an afternoon feeding. At Kubah, we took a walk to a waterfall through the forest (no bugs?!?). After a taxi and boat ride to Bako, we viewed all kinds of great wildlife (poisonous tree and sea snakes, wild hogs, macaques, proboscis monkeys, a kingfisher, mud hoppers, and one clawed crabs). Finally, on our last full day in Sarawak, we walked to the Sarawak Cultural Village, right next door to our beach resort. The SCV is a living history village showing some of the indigenous Borneo tribes including the Iban, the Orang Ulu, the Penan, and the Bidayuh. Amidst the hot, humid jungle walks, we ate good food, walked along the Sarawak river, enjoyed a beach (on the South China sea), played some table tennis, put-put golf, and chess (Gabe), and Madeline got an air brushed tattoo!!! All in all, a great week.

Here is the Borneo Post for the last full day we spent in Kuching (take note of the first article about cats) http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/10/25/ferocious-thief/. This article might ring a bell with all the Davisites, just replace the crocs with coyotes...The most ironic part of this was that the article immediately next to the cat article was a piece about a group releasing baby crocodiles in an attempt to repopulate the crocodile population!

Hope you enjoy the pictures...  

Kuching (Cat)

Damai Beach, South China Sea

Madeline w/new tattoo

Orangutan at Semenggoh

Orangutan at Semenggoh

Gabe on rooftop pool deck

outdoor pool shower (I want one!)

meditating in rooftop pool

praying to the air con god

Ritchie the orangutan at Semenggoh

heart in nature (for Jan)

trail at Kubah

trail at Kubah

end of waterfall trail at Kubah

Madeline and Steph at waterfall

boat to Bako

sandstone at Bako

iron rich waters at Bako

tree viper

mangrove forest in the South China sea

mangrove roots searching for air

wild hog

adolescent male proboscis monkey

proboscis monkey eating tree fungus

too hot even for the hogs!

wild hogs at the South China seas with Mount Santubong in the distance

trail at Bako

roots everywhere on the trail

dreamy macaque
poisonous sea snake sneaking up on mud hoppers
Gabe in chess heaven at Damai Beach resort
bungaolow at Damai Beach resort
put-put golf at Damai resort
Sarawak Cultural Village

inside tribal longhouse

longhouse decorations

Iban tribal woman


Penan nomadic Orang Ulu

welcome dance to the longhouse

longhouse decorations

Steph at Chinese longhouse

tribal Sarawak dances

hey, it's Madeline with the blow dart

Joe and the kids on Damai Beach on South China seas

No, Gabe didn't grow wings on his head

dinner overlooking South China sea

tribal swingset!
Orang-ulu batik and wood carvings we bought

Saturday, October 20, 2012


When weather patterns in your country vary between rainy season and monsoon season, it is a good thing if you like rain. Madeline has always loved rain in California. She especially loved walking or running in the rain. In California, the rain brings warmth, but in Malaysia, rain generally brings a welcome reduction in the humidity and temperature.

Although I love the rain, I prefer to stay inside and read a good book on a comfy couch while listening to the rain and watching the rain. In colder climates, a warm fire would also figure into this picture.

Gabe and I were enjoying an afternoon thunderstorm several days ago while having snacks at the dining table. Every once in a while, a loud crack of thunder would cause us both to raise our eyes to look at each other and grin at the incredible sound that was happening around us. Looking outside, you could barely see across the street, the rain was so heavy. We were both thrilled to have a secure, water tight home! And Madeline was happy to be able to dance in the rain and do rain angels on the pool deck;). 

Madeline, dancing in Malaysian rain