The Six Month Survey-The 1.5 years edition

Yes, 1.5 years. The time has just flown by living here in Kuala Lumpur. I blame the heat. Oh, and all the fun we are having! First, here are the links to our previous editions of the survey:

And of course, for those of you who are good at reading a calendar, this is a little bit late. We were on a lot of adventures of traveling and laziness. Also, we changed one question. It is a bit late to ask questions about the campaign in America, so instead we will ask a question about President Asshat. (yeah fair warning, we think Donald Trump is bad for children and other living things) We will be changing a few more questions for our 2 year survey this summer.

First up, Iris!

1.       What is one thing (or things) you brought that you now realize you do not need?

 At this point, it’s hard to remember what I brought and what I’ve acquired. Thinking about what’s in the bottom of my closet…there isn’t much I haven’t used. Maybe makeup, I wear less makeup here. And jewelry, I wear less jewelry. I may have brought too many scarves, it’s usually too hot to wear them, even fashion-wise. On the plus side, I did finally make use of my rain jacket on our recent trip to Vietnam.

2.       What is something you wished you had brought with you?

A couple more swimsuits. Its not easy to find ones I like here, and one of the ones I brought has already bit the dust, so I only have one I really like left. I’ll have to get a new one in August. I’ve spent less time in the pool recently. I guess I’m assimilating to the culture over here because I am increasingly fearing being out in the sun, and it’s damage to my skin…ALL THE SPF PLEASE! Also, I finally ran out of the huge bottle of face wash I brought. I had two but ended up only bringing one because of weight…I could use it now. I mean they have all the same products here, but now I have to go through the whole process of deciding what the right choice for my skin is, blah, blah, blah…
(EDITOR NOTE: I think Iris is beautiful and her skin looks amazing!)

3.       What has been your favorite part about living in Malaysia?

 That’s difficult. I love the ease of travel from here. I love that it’s warm all year. I love that the people here are so nice. And my job. I really love my job. I think I used to say the food, but now that I’m getting fat living over here the food is more of a troublemaker in my life these days (jk, the food is awesome). I really enjoyed having Dad and Shirley and Kevin’s parents come and visit so we could show them some of the things we enjoy about living here. Oh, and also the super nice movie theater that’s cheaper than a regular movie back home. Oh and sheet masks, I’m into sheet masks and skin care way more now.

4.       What has been your least favorite part about living in Malaysia?

My answer to this will always be: the fact that my friends and family are so far away. Technology makes it easier, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to making it easy. That part sucks for sure.

5.       Name something that reminds you of home.

 Christmas, Christmas time reminded me of home this year. I’m not sure what it was…the candy canes, or Kevin dressing up as Santa, or just the decorations in general. Now that I finally hung up lots of my pictures of everyone back home I smile every time I look at the fridge/ computer area. Oh, and the craft beer festival we went to for Kevin’s birthday reminded me of home…but with WAAAAAYYYY shorter lines.

6.       Share your favorite experience from this adventure so far.

This one is so hard to choose. I don’t think I can choose a single experience. Sunsets in Bagan, weddings in India, cruising in the Halong Bay, going inside the Sultan of Brunei’s residence (only open one time a year), seeing Orangutan in their natural habitat,  watching a huge incense  dragon dance in Hong Kong, staying in the coolest night market in Taipei with awesome friends, tossing yee sang with amazing friends here at CNY, we’ve been so lucky to have some truly amazing experiences during our time here, and I couldn’t choose one.

7.       Is there anything you miss about America?

Right now, with the political situation the way it is, sometimes it’s hard to remember what I miss about being there. For a split second. And then a video of my nephew dancing with my brother in the kitchen comes on my facebook feed and it kills me that I’m missing that. Mostly I just miss being there for the people that would like to have me around back home. I can’t believe that I won’t meet my sister’s fiance until just before he becomes her husband. But, thanks to technology I can still throw myself right into the middle of the planning extravaganza! I also really missed not being able to go to the Women’s March. I’m so happy Susie sent me texts all through her experience from getting ready, to travelling up there, to the march and back. It made me feel more connected, but I was still bummed to miss a bit of history.

8.       How excited are you to not be in America given that a reality TV star got elected?

Honestly, I don’t know that being here makes it any easier. I feel like every day I have to answer for the strange choices of Americans. I have to figure out ways to stay active and involved without being physically present. However that makes me more conscious of what is going on, and working to keep an active roll in supporting important issues and causes makes me feel more involved than I probably would at home. We see the effects on the world stage in a way that Americans at home are often clueless about. We know people who are actually effected by immigration executive orders. They aren’t news stories to us, they are Kevin’s students and my co-workers. We see first hand the effects of climate change and what the tone of  US’s lack of action sets on the world stage when we see dry river beds in India even when the monsoon period ended not that long ago,  and rain patterns slowly changing their predictability here.
(EDITOR NOTE: Here is a picture of my students and another teacher watching the election results come in)
Watching the election results with some students. They were as sad as I was…

9. What’s been you favorite food and/or favorite meal so far?

Let’s see, let me just limit it to the past 6 months or so. The meal in Vietnam that we got crazy overcharged for was amazing. I forget what it was called, but it was really good. Actually most the food in Vietnam was delicious, because I could eat bahn mi’s all day everyday. I just realized how much I must miss good sandwiches.  The food in Taipei was also incredible. Din Tai Fung soup dumplings were delicious, as was the street chicken. Though I did manage to find a not totally the same but similarly delicious street food fried chicken at the night market here the other night, so I’m pretty happy about that. What else delicious have we had…the roast goose in Hong Kong was amazing too. We’re about to go have a stand up chicken dinner…like the chicken is cooked and served to you standing up so I’ll have to let you know how that goes. I used to rank Italian food, Mexican food, and delicious sandwiches above most Asian fare when listing my favorite types of cuisine, but we’ve had the best food since living here. I mean really, really good food.
10. What’s what thing you’ve been surprised by here in KL?
Oh KL, what surprises me about you these days? Oh, that the MRT line finally opened. I wasn’t expecting it to open anywhere close to this soon, now if the rest of the line actually opens in June I will be truly pleasantly surprised by you KL.  And I’m surprised the KLCC New Year’s fireworks aren’t higher. I wish they were higher, then we could see them better from our house. I mean we still see like 6 other fireworks displays from our bedroom window, but I’m just saying…Taipei 101 shoots them off from the whole building…couldn’t you at least get them as high as the bridge?


And now my answers:

1.      What is one thing (or things) you brought that you now realize you do not need?

The first thing that always comes to mind is shorts. I brought so many pairs of shorts that I simple do not wear. The other big thing is books. I just finally read Anna Karenina (over rate imo) which is the first book I brought from home that I have read in over a year. There are a lot of great book stores here and having these books stops me from buying new books!

2.       What is something you wished you had brought with you?

Sophie, our dog. I still think she would have had a hard time making the flight here, but I think she would have done okay in Malaysia. The heat is bad, but she is old and doesn’t really like the whole walking thing that much anyways. I can just see her lying on our bed all day, watching the traffic out of our big bedroom window. I worry that she will not be with us when we return in 2019 (Trump dependent of course). My mom seemed to be laying that ground work when they came to visit this past December. We recognized she might be dead when we return, which is what made that goodbye so hard. I hope she is not obviously, but we are ready for that possibility-as much as we can be!

3.       What has been your favorite part about living in Malaysia?

What I want to write is the same thing I write every time we does this post: The thing I love the most is just living in a foreign country, not just visiting. But let’s try to think of something else. Oh the best thing is cheap flights to other countries! There are so many different places and cultures that are a short 3-5 hour flight away that is seems hard to see it all. I feel like we have to pick and choose, which is not really true, but is a testament to how much there is around here. I don’t think we have really touched on all there is to do in Malaysia too. We are going to try to work on that this year I think.

Yes, that’s a baby/ This giant naked baby and the great city it lives in is only an hour away

4.       What has been your least favorite part about living in Malaysia?

My answer is and will always be the heat. I am used to it, and on some days I enjoy it actually. It was nice on December 31st to sit by the pool and read all day. But the heat affects everything. It has changed my running habits, my dressing habits, everything!

5.       Name something that reminds you of home.

Well, I skype with my parents every week so certainly that reminds me of home. Doing the crossword puzzle over brunch every Sunday is a good reminder of home too

6.       Share your favorite experience from this adventure so far.

So Thaipusam in Ipoh might still be number one but….I think seeing the fire dragon in Hong Kong might be near the top too. That was just such an amazing combination of event and place that I know I will not experience again. I am going to try to link to that blog here…if I can remember too! (EDITOR NOTE: I did remember to link it! Here it is:

Not seen: Two “pearls” that the dragon was chasing.

7.       Is there anything you miss about America?

Well my parents left a month ago but I still kind of miss them. Their visit made me more homesick than I have ever been. To be fair, i have not really been homesick, but having to say goodbye to them again was very hard. To be truthful, that is part of why I do not think I will return to America until we move back home there. My wife and I disagree on this point for sure. She will be visiting America for the second time since we left.


8.       How excited are you to not be in America given that a reality TV star got elected?

So excited. Honestly, it feels good to already be out of country just in case things go terrible and we can stay away from the pending dumpster fire that will be the Trump Administration. But part of me also wants to go back and fight.

9. What’s been you favorite food and/or favorite meal so far?

There was a meal we ate in Vietnam that pops to the top of my mind these days. It was pork noodles with deep fried spring rolls and tofu. They overcharged us for it, but it was just amazing! The rice we had in India was just unbelievable too, in part because of the location and the people we ere with. There was a dish of roast pork and goose in Hong Kong that was worth writing home about as well. Oh, the soup dumplings in Taiwan! How could I forget them! They were amazing!

The dumplings are all made by hand
10. What’s what thing you’ve been surprised by here in KL?
The driving still surprises me. The other day at work we were talking about what happens when you get pulled over by a police offer. EVERYONE said you just give them 50 RM and that’s that. So essentially you bribe them. That surprised me too. I knew that there are bribes (Malaysian Boleh) but I was surprised by how easy and how quickly EVERYONE did it regardless of where they were from or what they were pulled over for.
That’s all for now.
Jumpa Lagi!

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