I have realized that I am faltering in my goal for bi-weekly updates. This is the reason: it is winter. I have found it difficult to be able to write when my fingers are too cold to move across the keyboard. There is no indoor heating or any kind of insulation in the houses and with the gas shortage going on it is difficult to warm up. Between the cold and lack of electricity I just want to jump in my bed at night and cuddle my hot water bladder. Today we just received a new load shedding schedule and power is off 13 hours a day. The reality is that we have 3 usable hours of power a day and I find myself very thankful for that. My kids recently asked if the Netherlands (where the University is located) had power 24 hours a day, they were so excited that it does. They are getting an education living here!
I did want to share about the second half of our Malaysia trip. We were able to rent a car and leave KL for 5 days. We headed north to Penang which is an island off the coast of the country close to Thailand. We were fairly unprepared and did not know it was the country's school holiday so the island was packed! We did find an Air BnB place to rent last minute, but it was a bit sketchy. The beaches were picturesque and we enjoyed some of the people we met there, but overall it was really packed and busy. We did enjoy the night market, the swimming pools and getting our toenails painted! Here are some pictures from Penang.
After we bought some essential supplies (i.e. real chocolate chips) at Tesco, we headed to the highlands. Some of you may know that I have a huge affection for tea. I love all kinds and this winter I have probably drank too much of it (but it keeps my hands warm, so whatev) Malaysia was a British colony up until the middle of the 20th century. The British loved the highlands as it is a more favorable climate and they could grow tea. So my family obliged and visited the Cameron Highlands. It was a very comfortable climate and we really enjoyed seeing all the agriculture they grew. I loved seeing the tea plantations and all strawberries they can grow. I really enjoyed the highlands and would have enjoyed staying there longer.
After the highlands we headed back to KL to catch our plane. The only problem was our plane was changed to the next day! We headed back to the city and found a very cool Air BnB place and enjoyed one more night in the city.
We did really enjoy our time in Malaysia and it was just the retreat that we needed. The winter has been cold here, but we have had visitors this past month! More about that later.