Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pictures And Explanations

I've been pretty incapable of uploading pictures, but instead of catching up, I'm just going to start somewhere, give you dates and situations and hope that context aids comprehension.

A Delicious Wedding with Ibu and Zana (when she was still in Malaysia, sometime in November...

Putra Jaya by night, the suspension bridge is all lit up with these changing neon-flourescent things, I caught it in between purple and blue, so it's all alien in this picture.

KL by day- the towers are a big part of living in KL, I use them to judge where I am and the little girl scout finds her way home :)

The SSEAYP kids came and left on this HUGE ship, and we got to wave them off from the dock with a tour.

A beautiful little Chinese temple a few days before the New Year- the prayers were mysterious and smoky, the processions were auspicious-seeming and everything was fantastic!

Ibu's royal kampung at Negeri Sembilan- a very large house, we gave ourselves a tour and saw the absence of nails (haha)

That same day at Ibu's uncle's house, he's got a rambutan orchard! Yellom and red and so delicious

With my Chinese New Year host family, the first day, preparing the light lunch so we could eat a huge dinner. That's a cousin and an auntie and an uncle and long grain rice and spring rolls :)

Mmmmmm. Something familiar making me drool, though it was served with shark fin soup.

With my Chinese New Year host parents- the Tan family was kind enough to take me in an around- this is us in Penang at a university I am seriously considering to do more research on :)

A gigantic, gorgeous temple in Penang, all decked out for the New Year, complete with lanterns flooding the place with flattering red light!
An awkward picture of me performing at my school's fundraiser dinner, completely capturing the awkward situation. I played 'Rasa Sayang', a traditional Malay song, and 'I'm Yours' by Jason Mraz because it was popular and the band that was there could back me up.

This is a snapshot of a wedding I attended today, themed in flowers which were tastefully everywhere. It was so beautiful, and everyone is always so happy at weddings I couldn't have NOT had fun if I tried.

The wedding set before everyone came in, the stage all set and ready to recieve all the well-wishers.

Easily the most incredible Silat performance I have ever witnessed. Silat is a traditional martial art resembling a dance in which partners spar and flip over eachother in a very rhythmic, artful fashion. And this one had a 7-year-old kid with his own routine. The performers are from a troop and dressed in the fighter's uniform. 

Well, that's all for now, all caught up until today. Whew. So much has gone on since November that I wasn't able to capture on my camera, I'll steal these photos from a friend with a professional camera before I return to the states. I hope these pictures are a decent representation of what-the-heck I'm doing way over here. This past Wednesday I dropped off 25 letters to fly to my home country, hopefully they arrive sooner rather than later.
See You Soon,

Friday, February 3, 2012

Oh, How It's Been So Long!

And so much has happened! Well, my apologies, you dedicated readers. I'll type real fast, 'kay? I've only got a few minutes, here.

Since Christmas! Holy Cow! Quite literally, because I spend my nativity week with my Hindu Deepavali family. They were kind enough to have us, meaning myself, another American student and a Belgian student, in Penang and show us around that beautiful island. We visited temples of all shapes and sizes and spent Christmas Day on the beach. Pictures to follow when my netbook starts working. It's a feisty little machine that doesn't like to accept the fact that I do, in fact, have other things to do. Visiting Perak and Penang was my first non-AFS traveling excursion and caused me to realize that as young adults we are almost capable of organizing ourselves into things, especially with a certain American (not me) taking charge. Perak was just as filled with discoveries, including a historic castle and a cavernous cave. Is that redundant?
New Years! Happy 2012! I have the fantastic luck of being in the capitol city for this celebration, so I followed a few out-of-state students to the Petronas Towers to count out the last few moments. We saw some sights around KL, what with the festivities in Merdeka Square and the surrounding area, and then spent an extended period of time at a mumak stall (an outdoor restaurant selling food cheaply and quickly) waiting for a taxi. As you could imagine, that took a while at 2 am New Years Day. We the nproceeded to greet the new year with sleep.
Just waking up, school began! I'm attending the same school as the last part of last year, SMK Wangsa Melawati. I'm in the arts stream, so I take a collection of lower-level classes for those students who plan on focusing on the arts in their careers and lives after school. All of the subjects are taught in Malay, except English. The notes for Science class are given in English, but the experiments and discussions are in Bahasa Melayu, further encouraging me to brush up on my linguistic skills. I've recently been taking advantage of the school library and in reviewing the books on subjects I've already taken I realize how much I've forgotten. Now I can spend the majority of the classes that I won't be tested on studying Chemistry and Hinduism, Biology and Buddhism. Oh yes, and I've taken a liking to philosophy, but that's nothing new. What is new to me is the Co-curricular activities my school has organized. They're affectionately referred to as "co-cos", and I attend the Orchestra (pitifully picking at my peculiar... pachederm? No, that's an elephant. I'm playing my ukulele) and English Drama, both of which are turning out to be exciting and challenging and fun. Another big hulla-balloo that's coming up in the next few months is the Sport Day, when all the students form into teams (I'm Saphire, there's also topaz and ruby and emerald) and compete in physical activities. I get to run again! There's a fundraiser dinner organized by the school that I performed at this weekend, again playing my ukulele, but the song 'Rasa Sayang', which is a traditional Malay folk song. It's really cute, translating to "I feel love, hey! I feel love, feel love, hey! Hey look at that girl over there! I feel love, I feel love, hey!". Then, nursery rhymes are paired with the music and everyone seems to know them already. A lot of emphasis has been put on this series of 'pantun', and I feel as though it's kind of cheating to write poetry in this language because most words end with the same syllable. At least rapping in English is a challenge, you need to be fluent in that language to make things up, but Malay has proven itself useful in this medium. I also sang "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz at this dinner, encountering a few techinical difficulties but only embarassing myself a little.

More later, much love, gotta run! (I PROMISE the next one will be better and more involved and smarter and biger words and pictures. Maybe not pictures, but you get me)