Tag Archives: Winter

29 Days

There are 29 school days between now and Christmas break and all the expats are making travel plans. 29 school days is actually a lot, but if we talk about it often enough maybe it will feel closer. Some of my coworkers booked their flights home as soon as the calendar was finalized in September. Others, such as myself, waited.

Waited for what, you ask? Thanks for asking, but I’m not sure.

My original plan was to travel around Australia and New Zealand because I’m so much closer than I ever would be from just about anywhere else. A little bit of research about a month ago told me that the flights were way more expensive than I’d anticipated. Maybe that would not have been the case had I looked into it earlier, but I didn’t.

Then there was the plan of my parents and brother coming to visit me, but Mum wasn’t exactly keen. I have not provided her with a complimentary description of Malaysia, and while we would travel rather than stay in Seremban, of course, Malaysia is really far away from America’s East Coast. It’s just not worth a 10-day trip because at least 4 days are eaten up by travel.

My sister is working as an au pair in Spain until the end of June and Mum and Dad decided it would be much easier to visit Spain over Christmas. (And Mum likes creature comforts and hygiene more than anyone I’ve ever met, so she probably wouldn’t do terribly well in Malaysia.) The family Bri is working for has given her the whole school break off, too! It’s convenient that my siblings and I, currently in three different countries, have the same school break. After discussion and a look at flight options, I decided that Christmas in Spain was the way to go.

Last night I booked my flights so I’m officially going to Spain with my family for Christmas! I am so excited to see them and spend time with them, but also a little nervous. I think it’s going to be extremely difficult to say goodbye and come back to Seremban, especially considering I wouldn’t call myself happy here.

Ironically enough, I’d been talking about going to Australia for Christmas before I even arrived in Malaysia and it’s summer there now, as it is here all the time. What don’t I have with me? Winter clothes. Back home, three-quarters of my wardrobe was winter things and I have exactly zero of them. I don’t even have a pair of closed-toe shoes! Or a long-sleeved shirt! Everything I left at home is in boxes in Mum and Dad’s basement, so one day Mum and I will go through my things via FaceTime and she’ll pack a bag for me. I’ll do some quick shopping here to obtain warm things to get me through travel and one day because I land about 8 hours earlier than my family.

Never thought that lack of winter clothes would be a problem for this Montreal-born, upstate-New-York-raised girl. Goes to show you what I know! Note to self: Next trip around the world, squeeze in a pair of flats and a sweatshirt.

When Winter Meets Summer

As I’ve mentioned, Malaysia is hot and humid all the time. Indoors is always air conditioned, though, so you actually do need to walk around with a sweater (or just be okay being cold). I didn’t expect to move to a tropical climate and miss my cardigans, but that’s what’s happened.

Because Malaysia is a tropical climate, it has some really beautiful beaches. Yesterday the primary staff went on an outing to Port Dickson after work, which is about a 30 minute drive through palm oil plantations from Seremban.

Port Dickson
Port Dickson
I live in a place with palm trees!
I live in a place with palm trees!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a really lovely time walking in the water because it’s so warm! The sand was warm and soft, too. And, of course, being around saltwater means that appetites wake up. Since the palm trees are so plentiful, the cure for that is to literally eat from nature’s fruits.

IMG_0424

 

The sun starts to set much earlier here than it does at home because we’re so much closer to the equator. It’s dark by about 7:30. We left the beach shortly after 6 and the late afternoon/early evening sun was really beautiful.

Sunset

 

In complete contrast to summer, people in Malaysia have to actually think about other types of weather because there are certain items of clothing they don’t need in their regular lives. Mitch and I could not stop laughing when we spotted a store called Winter Time in the mall where our hotel is located.

My first comment what, "Do people really think it's cold here?"
My first comment what, “Do people really think it’s cold here?”

Of course we had to go take a look around. A closer examination of the store revealed complete sets of outdoor winter attire – coats, boots, scarves, mitts, gloves, etc. – and luggage. And that’s when we figured out, “Oh, people must travel to places where it’s winter.” My second thought was, “Why?” but people like to go on vacations that are different from their real lives and winter is different from real life here.

If finance doesn't work out, Mitch can always consider a career as a model for Winter Time
If finance doesn’t work out, Mitch can always consider a career as a model for Winter Time

Wherever you are, whatever your weather – here’s to travel and adventure!

Musings While Shoveling Snow

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about time. There are only a few months until I move for my new job and there are so many things I want to do before I leave! Five months is definitely not enough time to do all of them, but I’ll be back. This is home, after all.

There’s also a lot that I’m going to miss when I’m gone. I don’t really know what I’m walking into all the way around the world (honestly, why couldn’t I just get a job halfway around the world?) but I do know that it’s nothing like what I have here. It’s probably easier if I make a list of what I won’t miss:

Things I Will Not Miss When I Move
-Shoveling snow (the act of which led me to brainstorm and write this post)
-Bitter cold winds
-Weather that goes from beautiful (yesterday) to trapped inside because of a blizzard (today)

I honestly think I’m going to miss everything else. Someone remind me, why am I going?

To teach at an international school. Right. Got it.

Things I Will Miss When I Move
Anything not on the first list including, but not limited to, the following:
-My books
-Having a roommate (Shay, Mary, Emilia, it’s been pretty great)
-Shabbat dinners with my family
-My family
-Living in a 1920s house with stained glass windows (at which I am currently staring), a window seat (on which I am currently sitting), and a front porch (on which I wish I were sitting)
-All four seasons (though not the windy, shoveling parts)
-Wegmans
-Being anywhere in town in 20 minutes or less
-The Genesee River and Erie Canal
-My current jobs
-Friends who are close by
-Friends who are not close by but will be even farther away once I move
-Cute winter clothes and boots

I could go on, but I think you get the point. I don’t know yet what I’m going to have or have access to abroad, so I guess I shouldn’t pontificate about what I’ll miss; for all I know, there are more similarities than differences.

Something tells me I’m wrong about that. But I also know that I’m going on an adventure. No one says I have to stay forever. I’ll be gone two years and four months, and then I’ll either come home or go somewhere else. I’m 24 years old, my family is grudgingly supportive, and my boyfriend is actively job seeking. A friend mentioned that stars don’t align by accident.

I really hope she’s right.