Malaysia: Work Hard, Play Hard, Eat More

Selamat datang teman... translation from Bahasa=welcome friend!  HELLOOOoOOooo from hot & sticky Malaysia! I've been sOoooOooo frikin lazy so apologies for the delay in updating.. but yeah.... i'm now in ASIA... sweating even more profusely than i imagined from places i did not even know could be sweatyyyyy!!  (sorry TMI but i know you know that i love to overshare and i know you know that i know you love when i do it!!!) 

So yeahh.. my journey to this side of the world was pretty unexpected... i was very content in spending a few more months in Brazil but after some thinking & some conversations with some surfer dudes out in Pipa/Itacare who really encouraged me to visit Indonesia and learn more about my culture and heritage.. I booked a ticket & here i am., in Malaysia.. just a hop and a skip away from Indonesia, which I will eventually be getting to, with the hope of understanding the country, the history, and improving my language skills  (it's abysmal at the moment!)... i stopped by NYC to see some family/friends and pack up my stuff for my move to Australia where I will make my inevitable return to the corporate(?!?!) or at least ehrm.. the working world, as i am running out of $$$$$$$ :( it's been a good run though, so i cannot complain (and even if i did, no one would give a fuCkKk/i would be a brat so...)  and since i'm trying to make the funds last a bit more,  i was volunteering in Kuala Lumpur for the past few weeks... until i and got kicked out with other folks for breaking curfew (i know.. what.. am i 15?) because we were trying to help someone who was really drunk get back safely.. OHWELL. no good deed goes unpunished and overall, i had a decent experience and met some amazingly awesome people... PLUS i learned the cockroach danceEe!! 

i was volunteering at was called Yellow House, in a town called Ampang, which is about 20 minutes away from the city center. It's like a homestay/hostel where we'd volunteer in the morning and have some free time/help out with some chores like cooking and cleaning in the afternoon/night...  We worked with different local organizations every day of the week, which kept things interesting, though it was super disorganized at times. but i digress.... Since Malaysia is doing fairly well economically, they've taken in a lot of refugees, especially those facing religious persecution. i ended up teaching a class full of Afghani refugees, which was a pretty overwhelming experience because the kids were running wild and the people who were in charge of the school seem to be completely apathetic. plus the state of the school was in complete shambles.... we also helped cook for a school full of Burmese Christian refugees, whilst also teaching them how to do the macarana and cha-cha slide cus UHMERICAAAA!! what better way to spread peace, love and US hegemony through dance/pop culture phenomenons?! we all had a great time dancing and giggling..  I also got to play with some stray pups at the SPCA, which was really fun, as well as help out in a special needs school, where i we worked with students 1 on 1 with their classwork and swimming lessons... 

It's been pretty rainy here so i was unfortunately unable to help out with the street salon and street cooking since we couldnt use the electricity to power the stove and the clippers during the torrential downpour, unless we all wanted to kill ourselves and sacrifice our bodies for the greater good (Savior Barbie y'all).. wompwomp. I'm a bit gutted, but eh.... you win some and you lose some. It was a rewarding experience overall, despite some frustrations. the lady running the place had good intentions and cared about the community, but treated her volunteers really unprofessionally... she could be extremely rude, and not in the, "asians are more straightforward" type of way, but abusive and belittling. things were often disorganized and there was a lot of miscommunication and unmet expectations.. there were days that we had no idea what time we needed to wake up, where we were going, how long we would be there.. plus the house was a bit of a mess..  but... at the end of the day, helping out superseded all the petty bullshit and inconveniences, which i felt like i did to some degree (i mean in reality.. how much change can you really create in 2 weeks?) 

i did feel helpless at times... i nearly bursted into tears when the children at the Burmese school started singing for us and praying for our well being because they said "that's all they could offer us." not to be a cliche/basic bitch.. but i felt really grateful at that point because i know i've been granted a rare opportunity to the life i lead.. not only because i can afford to travel, but because i can be a strong, independent person and that i've always been encouraged to speak out and explore.. i'm super thankful for even most basic things like being able to walk outside without having any real worries about my safety or going to my faucet and drinking the tap water (though maybe not in Flint, Michigan) .it seems unfair that others can't experience these things, not because they don't want to be, but because of other extenuating circumstances that inhibit them from doing so.. there's an injustice and at the same time, i realize i have to fight against it but also take advantage of the opportunities because it would be a disservice to the other billions of people in the world who could only dream of such things .. if my main problem is hurt feelings because someone was rude.. BOOhOohOo.. it's completely minuscule on the whole grand scale of fucked up shit in this world. 

anywhOse, i don't want to portray myself as some sort of saintly figure who suffered immensely (wangSAINTnataA... SnOOooOOOoOZe) because i actually had a ton of fun outside of the volunteering stuff with the rest of the Yellow House creww... maybe it was because we "experienced" (suffered) together, but it created a strong bond.. plus i think the people who are attracted to the general idea of the organization are good people in general... there was an amazing, amazing English couple, Kat and James; another fellow American, Heather; a South African, Tarryn; a bunch of Frenchies, Juan, Rafael, Marinhou, and Yves (Juan is the funniest guy on the entire planet); and another Canadian couple, Pascal and Suzanne. It's been refreshing to meet like minded people who were both socially conscious but also didn't take themselves TOO seriously, especially since most people i've ran into in SEA tend to be younger and looking to partaaaaaayyyyy.. which is absolutely their own prerogative, but not exactly what im trying to do at the moment.. or some new age hippy, spiritual yogi. Not to say that we weren't boring and didn't stay home watching documentaries (we did) but we also went out for laaaadies night on Wednesday which is all you can drink, top shelf liquor FOR FREE (as long as you have a vagina.. which i guess is fair cus women in the US make $.70 to every dollar a man makes) there were some fun adventures which i cannot describe in detail to save everyone from the embarrassment, but some people ended up with black eyes, hickies, bruises from jumping off a motorcycle, bruises from jumping over a fence, complete incapacitation, and a 100MYR cab ride after getting completely lost and driving the opposite way to the airport instead of coming home... CRAZAYYYY TIMES in Malaysiaaaaaaaaaa.. And for some weird coincidence.. a bunch of friends from from have been coming through KL so it's been awesome to see them too (hi Johnny, hi Jackie, hi saada)

outside of the volunteering and the partayinggg, i've been eating a tooonnnnn.. for those who don't know, Malaysian food is my absolute favorite.. the best way to describe the cuisine is if Indian and Chinese food had sex and created an amazingly flavorful, spicy, and greasyyyyy babyyyyyy that packs a fucking kick in your mouth (me in a nutshell!)...  there's lots of noodles and rice and curry and spices... ive eaten a a ton of roti, chow kueh teow (stir fry rice cake strips), mee goreng (fried noodles), Haianese chicken (boiled chicken but so delicious), laksa (noodles... both asam, which is sour, and curry, which is.. well curry) clay pot rice, satay (meat on a stick with peanut sauce), etc. its SoOOooooO delicioussSSSsSsSssSs. and REALLY FUCKING CHEAP (again, to reiterate.. JUST LIKE ME HAHAHAHAHA)... and since there's also a growing arab community here since the local government is trying to encourage them to move here and increase the Muslim population, i've been able to find falafel and hummus and shawarma as well... nOmnOmNom

Malaysia is an incredibly cultural diverse country.. it's been colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, with a large and visible Chinese, Indian and Malay community that seem to live pretty harmoniously.. it's pretty cool to walk around town and see a mosque, a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple, and a Christian church all within a few blocks of each other. SEEEE.. it IS possible for everyone to get along!!!!!!!! :) 

of course after gorging on all that food, i've been feeling a bit puffy so i've FINALLY hit the gym... after months and months of sitting on my ass.. i feel REALLY out of shape, but i've been pushing thru since i hate feeling so sluggish and uGhhhh.. it's interesting to see how "beauty" is a subjective, cultural standard because while I was complimented in Brazil for having a curvier figure and tan skin, I've been handed flyers for diet pills and whitening creams in Malaysia.. LE SIGH. i've learned to just accept my body for the way it is, and as long as i feel good, then it doesn't matter because its impossible to conform to other people's definition of beauty.. but anywhose, its was nice to have a routine again, even though it was a huge adjustment at first... but i guess it's time i start having a bit more discipline in my life to slowly ease me back into the 9-5 world... 

anywhose.. i'm heading to Langkawi and then to Penang to see some family & friends! it'll be nice to sit on a beach since i've been in a city for wayyy tooo longggg.... my tan is almost goneEeee.. then i fly off to Myanmar to see my mama and disconnect for a bit since the WiFi is apparently not so great there.. but i can't wait!!!!!!!