Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Weather, New Food, New Cultures...

We arrived late Thursday night in Malaysia, but didn’t get through customs till after midnight so it was more like Friday morning after it was all said and done.  But the days were all a blur to us as we left the U.S. Wednesday morning.   We arrived just after a nice rain shower; therefore it was a bit humid.  The Seminary in Kota Kinabalu is my first home.  I will be living here till around the end of September, then I will be moving to Sandakan. 

On day one in Sabah, we traveled up to Kundasang to do some group building. Our group building included hiking through the mountains; working together on discovering new paths and leadership, as well as hoping we were following the map correctly. Attending a Christian Chinese church service in Ranau, followed by a canopy walk; which was to help us conquer any and all fears.  The church service was a challenge as we were unable to read or understand the language, but the experience was very interesting.  The people there were very nice and welcoming.

The Seminary sits on a hill.  So each morning, I wake up about 6 am, take a cold shower (water here is heated by the sun therefore showers in the morning are a bit chilly), which you would think would not be enjoyable, but with the humid and heat throughout the night, the shower is refreshing.  The weather is mainly hot and humid and with the daily rainfall early morning or mid afternoon.  The rain is peaceful and usually creates a cool breeze. Breakfast is at 7 am and breakfast food is much different here.  So far we have had hard boiled eggs and bread, fried noodles with egg and noodles with a cabbage broth soup. To drink there is either kopi(coffee) or milo(similar to a hot chocolate milk) or filtered water. After breakfast we climb up the hill of stairs, which I would say is around 100 steps, to the main building of the seminary for our language training classes. We have all learned in the last few days here that it can be frustrating not being able to speak or understand the language. The last few days of language training have been intense and there are times that I do get a frustrated in myself, but I know I just need to give it some time and continue to keep practicing.

Yesterday was the first day of the celebration of Hari Raya Pusas, which means Ramadan has ended.  The first two days of Raya, Muslims open up their homes to everyone for food and celebration.   We were invited by friends to attend a home for a lunch celebration with other friends and family (the food was wonderful and there was enough for seconds or thirds).  We also attended the celebration at the Governor’s home.  People from all over Sabah attended his home for live music, entertainment and food.  Today, Malaysia is celebrating “National Day”, the country’s Independence Day.

During my short time here, I have already got to experience new weather, new food, new cultures and new traditions.  I’m always excited to see what tomorrow brings, so in conclusion I will leave you with a few words from the “Oriah Mountain Dreamer – The Call”.   Remember what you are, hold tenderly who you are, there is nowhere to go. What are you looking for is right here.  Open the fist clenched in wanting and see what you already hold in your hand.  There is no waiting for something to happen, no point in the future to get to.  All you have ever longed for is here in this moment right now.

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