It's 4/20 in the American mode of numerical date formats. April 20th, the date of my wedding anniversary (1989 Fethiye, Turkey) and would have been my 20th wedding anniversary today if I was still married. It is also Hilter's birthday (1889) and the anniversary of the Columbine school shootings in Colorado (1999). I lived in Colorado when that happened and had a physician friend in Vail whose sister was a teacher at the school. After teaching for over 30 years, she left teaching after that and retired to an island off the coast of South Carolina. I remember distinctly when it happened. We left for El Salvador shortly after it happened and even in the most rural and remote areas of El Salvador, everyone had heard about it. Bad news travels fast.
You also may know of another fairly amusing use of 420 to describe a certain activity...wink wink.
I've been in Malaysia over a year. A truly amazing experience and one that has been exactly as it was supposed to be. I will cherish the memories of the call to prayer from the majhids before sunrise, the distinct scent of frangipani amidst a busy city street, the beauty of the morning chants and smell of incense from the Buddhist temple I walked past on my way to work. The colourful display of a Hindu ceremony with the rainbow of colours. Of course, I could go on and on, and then, there is the FOOD!!! This is certainly one of the best parts of all as it is so diverse and delicious.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind with time flying by. I moved out of my apartment on Friday. I've lost track of all my moves and have become almost numb to the process. As always, each time I move is an opportunity to get rid of more stuff. One of the best parts of my exit from the apartment was giving things away. The cleaning ladies had come twice during the move process were the recipients of a lot of stuff. It was moving to see the joy on their faces for the most simple of items. Mrs L arranged the cleaning for me and shared some of her personal experiences with me in the process. She has been through some very tough times and is currently caring for a husband who is very ill. Mrs L is an extremely petite woman of Chinese decent who has lived in Malaysia her entire life. Her name means "yellow carnation" in Chinese and I would try to put it in pinyun or characters but would likely not get it exactly right so will refrain. She was so grateful for all the stuff I gave to her and her workers that she asked if she could come back the next morning when I was leaving. I descended into a puddle of tears when she arrived at my door on Friday morning and proceeded to pull a small red velvet box out of her bag. Inside was a gorgeous white jade necklace and medallion. She explained how you can tell the jade is real as it always feels cool to the touch and on the skin. She told me the necklace had been with her a long time but she never wears it anymore and wanted me to have it. What a lovely lady.
I have been watching a Bhaminy Kite from the window of my apartment for weeks. As they are birds of prey (also called the red sea eagle) and normally found near large bodies of water, I found it quite interesting that he was hanging out in KL. Of course, Bukit Nanas, the only designated rainforest within in the confines of a city, is a pretty nice place to hang out and no doubt has plenty of things to eat. Each morning at first light I saw him soaring around the tree tops and venturing out into the open sky. He seems to spend a lot of time at the level of my apartment, the fifteenth floor. What a great treat to watch him soaring about oblivious to the chaos of the city below.
A couple of weeks ago, I was doing my morning pool hangout thing on the weekend and oddly decided to use the jacuzzi tub. I had been lying around reading and noticed that a couple birds were very loud right above me, almost as if they were trying to tell me something. I rarely get into the jacuzzi as it is too hot out to want to get in warm water. It was a great morning with a cool breeze and I was fighting a sore hip and thought the jacuzzi would feel good. I turned on the jets and got in. These jacuzzi tubs are huge and fully tiled, really a small swimming pool with jets. Once I settled into the tub, I notice a big glob of something in one of the water level drains. I immediately thought it was something like trash or plant debris but as I got closer, I realised it was a little bird stuck in the drain. I scooped him up and set him under a bush in a huge planter next to the pool. I sat and watched him for a long time concerned that perhaps he was injured. He seemed to be a young bird and stood quite strong so I was hopeful. I watched as his downy feathers began to dry and he kept puffing his chest up as if to help the drying. After about 20 minutes, I reached towards him one more time and off he went, flying into the sky as if nothing had happened. Almost immediately I noticed three or four other birds of similar size and type in the area. Perhaps they were waiting for him. It was a heartwarming moment and another memory to keep close to my heart.
Next week will be the end of my assignment in Malaysia. On 2MAY, my dear friends arrive from the US and we will be off on an exciting adventure around peninsular Malaysia, arranged by a great local travel agent...ME!!! I know it will be a great trip.
Peace and light.