After three years, two months and a few more weeks, how do you say goodbye to the most unforgettable days of your life? How do you say goodbye to the country who welcomed you with open arms, despite you’re initially clueless about her, except for the image of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers? How do you say goodbye to the state who embraced you and gave you so much opportunities to work, travel, eat, learn and experience her culture? How do you say goodbye to the few people who expressed selfless and priceless concern, love and generosity particularly in your lowest moments and trying times?
I don’t know.
As my son’s already in the Philippines now, continuing his studies with his mom, I try my best not to dwell in sadness, while I bid farewell to a lot of things that matter to me, including the three years of my life in Malaysia. In spite and despite of my family problems that I opted not to disclose publicly (Don’t ask unless you’re one of those pathetic gossipers and hypocrites I know, who thrive in divulging private issues of others, that made them to me, much like receptacles of feces. Rectum personified. Are you?), I chose to celebrate my last days in Penang, the humble state that I considered my second home, by touring my mom (she’s back in Penang!) and her only sister, my aunty who’s currently enjoying her very first vacation abroad. After all, it’s so much better to be positive and happy on my last weeks in Malaysia, rather than to just abandon everything and everyone who made our stay in Butterworth worthwhile.
After I officially tendered my resignation from work, I’m savoring my last days in Penang at work with my current students during weekdays and revisiting the places I loved with my mom and aunt every weekends.
My Mom and Aunt in Malaysia
We arrived in Kuala Lumpur via LCCT. And if you’ve been following this blog, you probably remember that my mom has been to Malaysia last year, but as for her one and only sister, who happens to be my godparent as well, we needed to introduce to her the country that has been so good to us by only the best ways we know how. So first priority after arrival at the terminal : EAT MALAYSIAN FOOD!
Then came the unexpected travel-blooper of my aunt’s luggage that she only borrowed from one of her daughters. Just before we boarded our KUL-PEN flight, my mom noticed that its stitching collapsed that pushed me to buy packing tape from the airport’s bookstore. The next photo exhibits the result of our effort to bind her luggage back! Hehehe!
We arrived in Penang on a Saturday late afternoon, almost dead tired of the whole day flight-and-waiting-at-the-airports, so having dinner at the cafe in front of our apartment was really called for! We’re tired but never fatigued to smile!
Sunday morning, my aunt went with me to the pasar (public market) via hopping in the Rapid Penang Bus few minutes after 6AM. If you must know, I am one of those rare breed of family-men who take efforts to go to public market to shop for the week’s food supplies, wash dishes, (I also know how to cook!), do laundry, iron clothes, carry gallons of water from the water dispenser from the mini-mart to the apartment on top of working for a living. All that I experience in being an Overseas Filipino Worker that gave me deeper meaning to the song’s lyrics, “I did my best, but my best wasn’t good enough!”
We wasted no time after breakfast and rode the bus and ferry and trooped to George Town…
We had lunch at one of my favorites, Restoran Kapitan, Pitt Street, Little India, Lebuh Chulia…
Must have photo-ops with Penang’s remarkable symbols and touristy spots. From trishaws, clan houses, temples and mosques, I believed my mom and aunt were happy strolling and touring the heritage trail of George Town.
The next weekend, I brought them to Kek Lok Si Temple.
KEK LOK SI TEMPLE in Air Itam
We ended the day by having dinner at one of the most affordable eat-all-you-want restaurants in the globe! At only RM 52 (more or less PhP 700) for the total charge for the 3 of us (the two got discounts as senior citizens!), we enjoyed food, food and more food complete with bottomless ice cream and other desserts!
DINNER AT TOWN STEAMBOAT BUFFET RESTAURANT in Macalister Road
The next day, Sunday – my aunt & mom prepared and cooked lunch. We stayed home the whole Sunday eating & relaxing!
The following weekend, I brought them to the Burmese & Thai Buddhist Temples in Pulau Tikus, then to Gurney Paragon Mall, G Hotel and Plaza Gurney Mall. Photos need not to be captioned. Their smiles say it all!
God is so good! When life gives you trials, the Lord makes His presence felt by sending people who care so much about you and in my case, these people aren’t only my immediate relatives but a few Malaysians who really made me experience Divine Intervention in truest sense of the word.
There are no words to sufficiently express my gratitude to those Malaysians who have been so nice to me. That includes my students! I shall never forget my days conducting lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes in Anatomy and Physiology, Basic Pathology, General Medical Microbiology, Applied Medical Microbiology, Immunology, Basic Molecular and Cellular Biology, Group Project-Case Study, Medical Parasitology, to future doctors of Malaysia!
Special thanks goes out to my students in FMS April 2013 Intake Group D who gave me a ceramic fountain as a gift (not in photo) and to my students in DMS April 2011 Intake who gave me Baju Melayu, the traditional attire of Malaysian men, complete with a very nice hand-woven songket that they bought in Perak as their gift to me. Thank you very much! With or without gifts, I really appreciate everything!
Baju Melayu, given as
farewell surprise gift from my students of DMS April 2011 Intake. Terima Kasih!
To all Malaysian colleagues, friends, fellow bloggers, students, sponsors,
Thank you very much!
In Shakespeare’s words, “Parting is such a sweet sorrow!”
There will be no goodbyes, but see you again in the future!
Terima Kasih, Malaysia!
Thank you for both GOOD and BAD TIMES!
I LOVE PENANG!
I LOVE MALAYSIA!
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~ Melody Beattie