Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Well, I’m finally home. “Home” home even, not the in-The-States-with-my-parents-but-inhabiting-some-leaky-Florida-condo kind of home. I had a really great vacation, but I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to step on North Carolina soil and taste air that is fresh and clean and that is , most importantly, somewhat distinguishable from soup. I really didn’t realize I missed it so much. I read a book last semester that said something like, “Everyone has to leave home sometime so they can come back and fall in love with it all over again, for whole new reasons” and I think that’s probably true. I’ve never been so happy to just lie in bed and listen to the night.   

I’ve done a bit of visiting in the last few days I’ve been home and most everyone has asked me if I miss Asia and Honestly, I don’t (well, beside the food anyway). I am so, so, so happy I went, it was a really good life decision, but I’m felt like I got enough out of the experience to move on to whatever is next in my life. A book I finished last week called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years spoke in ‘story’ terms, so this is inevitably the perspective my highly impressionable blob of grey matter has adopted for the time being. He had written a small autobiography and had a movie offer, so he was helping to adapt the book for the big screen. He had to learn a lot about just the difference between literature and movies, and said one of the things that made Star Wars so good was that it could be freeze-framed at any given point and you were able to pick out anyone on screen and know exactly what they wanted, what their overall goal was. So anyway, he was basically having to edit his life, pick through all these random memories and occurrences (as well as make up a good deal of them) in order to give “his story” an clear plot fit for presentation to a larger audience. Talk about a humbling experience. I don’t know what my story is about yet. I mean, we’re half an hour in at this point and the main character (protagonist?) is still wandering about with her head in the clouds. And though I don’t think this trip has given me any neon signs to point me in the right direction, no neat story line or conclusions, I think it was definitely a “positive turn”, something that changed the internal me enough that hopefully the change will come out later on and be conducive to whatever the heck I decide to do in the future. I don’t have things very ‘together’ at this point, nor have I ever, but I know at least quite a number of things I don’t want my story to be about. Like Miller says, no one ever cried at the end of a story about a guy who wanted a Volvo.

Well, here are the last of my pictures. Hope you enjoy them. I guess I’m going to go deal with the current crisis in my life: finalizing (aka creating) next semester’s schedule. Happy trails.
After dinner with the Ongs. That's Lydia, Clark, Abs, Andre, and your's truly.

My last Singaporean meal. Garlic naan with chicken curry, eggplant, some spicy bean concoction, a mango-watermelon smoothie, and the ever-present rice.

I can' think of a better place for a butterfly garden than an airport..
Over Afghanistan.

The edge of Greenland's ice sheet.
First sighting of North America!
(L) Flying into Texas. (R) Moonrise over Alabama.
And some "old" pictures:


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Malaka & KL Photos

Here are photos from Malaka & KL. Enjoy!

Also, I just relistened to part of yesterday's post. Ugh. Kudos to anyone who can come up with a cool replacement phrase for "It was really interesting!" or prevent my annoying sentence fillers. Oh well.

This restaurant's version of vegetarian food was chopped potatoes and ketchup, haha. The fish was really good though.
Most questionable dish of the night by far.
Cendol! [Chin-dull] A dessert with cocnut milk, shaved ice, green jelly things, and red beans to name a few. Tastes like Christmas.
Sight where Malaysia gained their independence from Britain in the 50's, now commemorated with a McDonald's.
'A Famosa.'
Dutch graveyard.
One in every crowd.


The statue of Francis Xavier outside of St. Paul Church in Malaka. Actually, there's a pretty cool story behind it. He was a missionary and once he died, his body was sent to Malaka. After a year, it was decided the body needed to be moved for whatever reason. It didn’t show much decay which eventually led to the decision to make him a saint. When the Catholic church decided to sever his arm as a relic and it still dripped blood. Pretty cool I guess. But once the night after this particular statue was built, a tree is said to have fallen on it and snap the arm off. So now this miraculous statue stands and poses with all sorts of ridiculous tourists all day. The end.
The exterior of the church.

Around Malaka.

A tomb found in the middle of Malaka. Dr. Emmanuel said there were a lot of myths revolving around this tomb, but the most popular one began by saying that a warrior once was rumored to have had an affair with one of the Sultan's girls. The Sultan, of course, wasn't too happy about this and sent the best friend of the 'criminal' to execute him (they all had names of course, and of course I can't remember them). The friend refused and this pissed the Sultan off even more, so he ordered the criminal to kill the friend, which he did because the criminal said that his loyalty to his king came before all other things. The message was supposed to be how strong of ties one should have to their ruler, but all I got was 'nice guys finish last.'

Notice how narrow the shop entrances are? The buildings actually extended really far back. Prof Emmanuel told us that this was because the Dutch taxed based on how wide a building was for some reason.

'Lotus shoes.' This is near the street historically known as Jonker Street, basically Chinatown.

At the popular religon temple. I quite enjoyed this fellows multi-tasking.

Shop across the street that built cars, houses, cardboard prada/gucci bads, phones, practically anything you would ever want. It's Chinese tradition to burn these things so they will go to one's ancestors.
Mosque down the street.

Okay, off to K.L. now:

Indian food night number 1! Mine was called something like "Egg Brusali" and was extremely spicy/delicious.

Petronas Towers: the only way we ever managed to find our hotel.

We spent about 2 hours in this shop trying on tacky dresses. It sold ridiculous outfits that we could never afford, not even with Ringget.
So close, but so far.

Women in Malaysia...
I thought the sunglasses were necessary for this picture. Also, I don't know that Malaysia has anything to do with space exploration, but okay.
National momument created to commemorate soilders who died during WWII. Yes, it was modeled after the Iwo Jima memorial.
The indentions in the knife are from where young Malay men would press down onto the knife with each of their fingers while the metal was still glowing with heat, sort of as a rite of passage. Sounds like some boys I know.
Traditional Malay spirit masks that are used to appease the gods and convince them to restore things to their natural order. This one was used by husbands to get their wives to return to the kitchen. Wouldn't it just be easier to do it themselves?

Visit to the Petronas Towers.
The back said that this was a traditional medicine used to treat "body heatiness."
More Indian food! I got random things off of the buffet and an amazing garlic naan. Plus, free dessert!

These are pictures from our visit to a historical Malay home:

A child's sling that hung from the ceiling.
A female's cooking tools.
Shelby holding a man's cooking tool and the bowl it was used with. We were told they usually just threw cow parts in and boiled them.
Jeanna holding a really creepy cat piggy bank we found. I don't know what was up with Kenny.

Our trip to Putrajaya, ak(by SEAS)a "That Deserted City."
Government building. Obviously, they don't think much of the seperation of church and state.

Abby is so cool.