Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Relationship Ajustments in a foreign country

I have never left Malaysia more than one month at a time. I have never studied overseas or stayed far from my parents since the day I was born. Unlike my husband, Ivan, who grew up overseas most of his teenage life, apart from his family. So, when he received a posting to Bangkok, Thailand, I did not know the full extend of the adjustment.

Adventurous and easygoing by nature, I embarked on the move as a challenge. The arrangements of renting out our apartment, selling both the cars, sourcing for a mover, saying goodbyes, etc, etc. was very tedious. Not to mention that I had to handle a major event at my workplace just before leaving. All the stress was crazy!

From a buzzing busy life in Malaysia, suddenly thrown into a country that speaks very little English and majority of the time, NO English, traffic jam everywhere, big metropolitan city, congestion and homebound. It was a real challenge alright!

April 16, 2006 is my birthday, Easter and the day I left Malaysia to relocate to Thailand. Three in one? I did not know that leaving my family, especially my Mother would be that difficult. There was a deep sense of loss.

I am the 3rd child in a family with 3 other siblings. The middle child syndrome, they say. My elder sister is residing in Australia and my youngest brother in Singapore. My eldest brother is in Malaysia but very caught up with his business. So, that leaves all the attention to me. Mom baby sat my eldest son Joel for 2 years, so, that relationship was close.

Homesickness rose within me when I was at the airport, leaving from KLIA to Don Mueang Airport, Bangkok, Thailand. A strange feeling which I have not felt before. It was difficult to describe the emotions.

Rock climbing

Initially upon arrival in Bangkok, we bumped into a group of rock climbing enthusiast. This group, under the company of Proclimbers has groomed a few gold medalist in Asia for the 10 years old category. When Joel (my elder son) had been very interested in this sport since his first encounter in Awana Genting Highlands. So, he decided to pick up the sport. He seriously started training in March 07.

Bangkok is a huge city. From one end of the city to another, its takes hours. Sometimes not inclusive of traffic jam. Coming from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, it is uncommon for us to travel far. In Malaysia, we were 5 min from Giant Supermarket, 7 min from local banks, 10 mins from church, 15 mins from One Utama shopping mall, etc. Now, we had to travel an average of 30-45 mins to the nearest indoor rock climbing gym in Lad Phrao, Big C. It is a weekly affair. During competition training, like now, we have to go for an average of twice a week. This really takes a lot of adjustment.

Rock climbing is not a popular sport amongst children in Thailand, according to Majid, the rock climbing Coach. Majid is an Iranian who has married a local Thai woman. He has been in Thailand for 6 years. The Thai children, especially boys, prefers to play internet games, electronic games e.g. gameboy, PSP rather than sweat it out.

Majid is very dedicated. He makes a lot of effort to train the children and I am impressed with his commitment.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Indian Food (Southern Indian style)

I grew up eating Indian food. I recalled the day my father left his packed Nasi Kandar at home. He intended it for his lunch at work that day, unfortunately... I was only 9 years old but I devoured the whole pack and left some chicken bones! It was "finger linking good" (KFC?). When he returned home, he asked if he had left his Nasi Kandar behind. I just licked my lips and rubbed my tummy!

Initially, when we arrived in Thailand, April 2006, my children and I had withdrawal symptoms. No, not from drugs. Yes, from Indian food. We would sit around the dinner table discussing our favorite Indian dishes. In Malaysia, it has never been a problem accessing Indian food. Everywhere we go, there are heaps and heaps of Indian restaurants serving delicious Indian cuisines and extremely cheap too. An average meal at our favorite stall would cost RM5.50 (B55). Topped with rice, mutton, vegetables and steaming hot curries.

One of our favorite stall is located at SS3 - Medan Selera, Petaling Jaya. It only serves at lunch time. We have to reach by 12pm if we want the good stuff. He serves between 6-8 types of vegetable or vegetarian dishes. In huge pots. We help ourselves to those, a generous helping most of the time. Unlike many of the other restaurants, their dishes are still very hot. Deep fried fish, mutton curry, chicken curry, prawns, etc. are some of the varieties of meat dishes. Eating with your fingers can be a tricky thing but extremely satisfying. If you eat Indian dishes, you just have to do it the Indian cum KFC style - "Finger licking good".

Eating with fingers is an acquired skill. I have been "practicing" it since I was a young girl. Most Chinese girls don't eat with their fingers. They either use chopsticks or forks and spoons. My sons has now taken after me. Joel who is 11 years old, has acquired the skill. Ethaniel who is 5+ tries to imitate both of us but he gets more rice on the table and floor than his mouth. The rice is all over the palm of his hands! Daddy already finds that the Mom is weird enough and now the sons are taking after her! What next?

Examples of some of my favorites Indian cuisines:

Roti canai
Its a type of pancake made from flour. Its is usually eaten with chicken, fish or dhall curry gravy.

Banana Leave rice
Rice are placed on fresh banana leaves. Its kind of a "all-you-can-eat". You can eat as much rice, vegetables, 'papadum' and pickle as you want. As for meat dishes, you need to purchase it separately.

Its also another version of the pancake but made from grinded rice. My elder son, Joel's favorite is "paper dosei". It is made so thin that its crispy. It is also eaten with dhall, fish, chicken curry or chutney.

Nun (Garlic, Cheese flavor)
This dish is a Northern Indian dish. I love those filled with hot melted cheese, just like the pizzas. You can eat it with a variety of curries e.g. dhall, chicken or fish curry, peppermint and condense milk.

Just 3 days ago, 26 Oct 07, was a memorable day. I am proud to announce that I managed to cook mutton curry, successfully! Thanks to Sheeba for her recipe, Mala Arunagiri for her inspiration and "delicious" encouragements. Mala's mutton curry is the only ones we have tasted whilst in Bangkok. All prepared in her very own kitchen. The rest were the ones we purchased and frozen from Malaysia. She cooks the most delicious vegetarian mung bean curry I have ever tasted!


I have seen many of my friends blogging. I thought it is an interesting thing. Writing your thoughts and allowing it to be read publicly (almost). I am sure its a therapy of some sort to write your thoughts down... I do that too but many things were private, so, it was more of a "journal" or "diary" rather than blogging.

I am not sure what caused the change of mind. Suddenly, I felt like blogging! Its probably a new season for me. Allowing changes to come into my life. To blog it might be a good idea. Who knows? Maybe, this might be kept for future for my children to see. To look back to the past, something about their Mommy. Maybe for myself too. How I have grown.... older? ha ha

Since I was pretty young, that would be easily a million years ago... Not, literally but it feels like it. I loved to write. So, does Lee Lian, my older (and wiser) sister. She did share with me her desire to write a book. So, I guess, most bloggers, like me are embarking into some sort of writing but in a less pressuring, cheaper and no expectations kind of way.

So, this is the beginning of my journey into "blogging hood".