Truly, though, I do have a few good excuses as to my cyber absence. The easy answer is, it's just been a really busy few weeks. The harder answer is, I've been incredibly preoccupied with things that I do to preoccupy myself getting out of hand.
For those of you who know me, you are familiar with the plastic-bag to plastic-bag thing I do. Well, my host mother has her heart set on selling these little things off, and who am I to discourage Ibu? I am the student who insisted that we not cheat people with the price and not use the "I'm a student and I don't get a monthly allowance from my parents" story I use at open markets. Honestly, I say (translated) "Older brother/sister, expensive! Not cheap! I student, have no money!" Then, I do a little head math and offer half the price of what he/she has told me the item costs. That's usually about what it's worth to them and to me. So I've been convinced into making these bags, and now they're being taken to the AFS Volunteer Congress meeting for all the Chapter Presidents and Volunteers and people-who-they-like. There, Ibu will attempt to sell them to poor, innocent volunteers. Haha, I kid.
In an attempt to get myself talking again, I have started singing. In an attempt to get myself singing again, I have started playing my ukulele fairly often. I'm getting much better at the Ukulele, now mastering things like "American Pie" (which I sang to myself on Thanksgiving, more on that later), and all the Cat Stevens songs I can get my hands on. Also, I bought myself a book of sheet music to various songs by Fleetwood Mac, which I am both proud and ashamed of. My range has really gone down since coming to Malaysia because I didn't see it as appropriate to belt out in song when washing dishes or in the shower like I would in the States. It was just uncomfortable. But now, in controlled amounts, I am venting emotions and distracting myself from homesickness with music, made by me :)
So, a combination of learning the language (which takes up a lot of time and frustration), making "art" and "music", and eating my way through the wheat bread I just discovered they actually have (but nobody born in Malaysia eats), there has been little time to blog. Which I am discontent about. Let me promise something, as much to myself as to anyone who vaguely follows this, even if just for the pictures. Once I move into the new house in January, I will being blogging on a regular basis. Whew. Now that it's out for the internet to see, I am forced to actually do it. This will be further enabled my the fact that I'm receiving a small netbook, courtesy of my favourite father. Thank you, Dad.
So, now that I feel I have sufficiently apologised for the absence of blog, let's address the problem directly.
Last week I attended a wedding that was different than the ones I have seen so far. This featured the joining of two older hands in marriage- one widower and one divorcee. I helped to pass out the little gifts and took some of the really delicious meal and yummy tarts. I also attended a wedding themed in green, which looked really beautiful even as the weather changed to hurricane-grade rain as it does every other day. Don't worry though, laundry still gets dry because it's about 90 farenheight for the hours between 8 and 2, when the clouds come out and it gets very wet very fast.
I went with my host mother to visit her sister, who would also like me to make as many plastic bags as my heart desires, and swam in her condo's pool, which was really fun! It was about 9 at night and we stayed in the water, myself and a Japanese student (who is ADORABLE) until around 10:30. Very enjoyable, and we slept on really comfortable beds. But I suppose beds seem really comfortable when you've just swam laps for an hour and a half. Being at Umi's house (translates to rumah Umi, say that and feel how nice it is to say) reminds me that although many people live in poverty in this developing country, there are also many who live in condos with pools and water you can drink from the tap. Not very many, but enough to make the roads seem funny, with the juxtaposition of BMWs and filthy 20-year-old motor scooters with an entire family sitting on them. The average family here has around 4 kids and a grandmother.
This brings me to Thanksgiving! I began the day by wishing the surrounding people a pleasant Thanksgiving Day and telling them that I am thankful for them. The sentiment was lost in simplification. Coming home, I would have liked to do as I had originally planned and make a nice dinner, but with a large Volunteer meeting the next day so students arriving intermittently threw it off. I had a bowl of Easy Mac instead and thanked God (formally, in prayer) for things like fake cheese sauce and foreign friends and microwaves. The loving support of my family and friends was implied. I got a little emotional, and played it out with all of the verses of American Pie (it's Pumpkin, dig in!) in my room, only messing up twice through all the 10 choruses. I did not, however, do the solo, because that is difficult to transcribe to the Ukulele.
So, I've been doing a dangerous amount of thinking lately. That's all I have to say about that.
Perhaps pictures to come later, but don't count on it- the thunderstorms mean that we can't use unessential electrical devices like laptops, and there are an abundance of thunderstorms. More later? For sure.
Things I'm Thankful For: The List in My Journal
My Family and Friends (like I said, implied)
Microwaves, Refrigerators, Washers and Washing Machines (all of which are scarce and scetchy, here)
Ketchup, not Catsup or Kicap
Cream Crackers- don't worry, I'll send a box back :)
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader (they play it here and it makes our kids look smart so I can say, look, see how we are improving our education and look at how intelligent our youngsters are)
Tourists (everybody needs somebody to scoff at)
The similarity of the relationships between Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia and The US, Canada and Mexico. It's eerily similar, and comfortingly similar, all in the same nutshell.
Puns and other Word Humor (because I feel like such a hipster when nobody else understands)
Belts (Peggy's pants are falling down, falling down, falling down...)
Cats (including street cats)
That's all for now, have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!