Sometimes, random moments happen that you wish you could freeze and savor them longer, before they become a beautiful memory.
On my last hours in Penang (prior heading to Kuala Lumpur for 3 days, then finally off to Manila after living and working in Malaysia as a Medical Lecturer for 3 years), I am very grateful to be with not one, but two Malaysian families, who unbelievably did so much for us. Call me sentimental fool or anything, but I was literally moved to tears with their gestures until the very last minute I spent in Butterworth.
Despite I humbly denied and simply thanked them for their offer to help us haul more than 100 kilos of luggages and whatnot, they even personally volunteered to drive us (my mom, maternal aunt and I) to the bus station that night.
My apartment-owner, Mr. Loh with his wife and mother-in-law arrived after 9PM of October 16th. He came not only to collect the keys to his apartment that served as my second home for 2 years (I lived in another on my first year in Malaysia), but he generously helped me carry loads to the other block, where one of the few of my closest friends and Filipino colleague, Dr. Jane stays.
I requested Dr. Jane to kindly facilitate the pick-up of some of our things, as we underestimated what needs to be sent home via LBC courier (Weeks before that, we already sent 2 biggest LBC boxes home, and the 32″ LCD TV, but we needed to unload further, hence, we left our things for another LBC box to my colleague that night for pick up from Penang, and we had to pay and send another huge LBC box to Manila via LBC-Kuala Lumpur branch).
Mr. Loh was there to help.
He left his family at his apartment and helped us carry our loads to the two taxi cabs we rented.
As the lift went down from 10th floor to the ground, it dramatically opened to the sight of Ms. Jasmine and Sir Michael who were already standing there, waiting to go up to meet us.
Ms. Jasmine and Sir Michael were Gabby’s former school Principal and teachers in Butterworth. Words could not express my personal gratitude to them, as they did so much beyond anyone’s expectations. They were there with me all throughout my difficulties in Penang.
I told Mr. Loh that although we really appreciate his offer for him to drive us to the bus station (which Ms. Jasmine and Mr. Michael also offered), we found it better to take 2 taxi cabs instead, so they can go home early. I bid him goodbye and thanked him well. Vividly, I recall his last words were about welcoming me again in his home, if and when chance allows me to revisit Penang.
While Ms. Jasmine and Sir Michael followed our taxi cabs to the Penang Sentral bus station and stayed with us until past 12 midnight.
Yes, they stayed with us until few minutes past midnight.
When it started to rain, we told them they may want to go home, as our bus was already late to our 12:15AM Penang-KL-trip.
They brought us Coke, and even asked if we wanted some sandwiches to bring to our night trip.
More than what they provided me and my family, the couple also gave me ang pao, chocolates and tea bags to take home.
These were the things that happened as we departed Penang. But for 2 years that I’ve known them, Ms. Jasmine and Sir Michael extended support and concern, at most of the time without me asking, despite and in spite of everything. God bless them more so they can continue to be a blessing to others!
I shall never forget these people for as long as I live. They were neither hypocrites nor judgmental people. They’re my family in Malaysia.
Picture this – When our bus arrived at the station before 1AM, the rain became more intense.
I carried our bags and luggages one by one and arranged them inside the compartment. It was raining hard. In spite of the fact that my aunt held an umbrella and tried her best to assist me, I became fully soaked. I quickly found my seat inside the airconditioned bus, with my entire self dripping. Chilling.
I waited for two hours until the bus reached its stopover for passengers’ bladder break in Ipoh. It took me two hours before I get to change to dry and clean clothes. It was the longest two hours of my life.
Two days before that unforgettable night, Mr. Loh and his family fetched us from our apartment, brought us to a a local Chinese restaurant and treated us to a very modest and heartwarming dinner.
Delicious tofu dish, Crispy lemon chicken, Grouper fish dish, and a fish soup. Everything satisfying!
Mr. Loh (in black shirt), his daughter (in pink shirt), Mrs. Loh and her parents. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
A week before the dinner treat from Mr. Loh and his family, my other Malaysian family, Ms. Jasmine and Sir Michael brought us to a similar feast in one of their favorite local Chinese eatery. It was overwhelming!
There are more stories between me and my Malaysian families in Penang, that made me a better person now.
So if there’s one special reason to go back to Penang in the near future, it’s to see them again and thank them once more.