Over the past month, we’ve had more visitors than any other time in our five years living abroad. To me, the best part about traveling and living someplace strange is when I get the chance to share this experience with my family and friends – so it’s been a good month.
My longest-serving friend of 35 years, Trevor “Schneidz” Schneider was the first to visit with his wife Kim and their two kids Leighton (7) and Adam (3). Growing up together in Regina, Sask, I can guarantee we never talked about one day meeting up in Kuala Lumpur – probably couldn’t even find it on a map. We actually didn’t make it past Moose Jaw very often or south of Dewdney Avenue.
But, fast forward a few decades and things have changed for both of us.
While I was scared about the 20-hour flight for the kids, I knew that once they landed in Malaysia it would be a sweaty, good time. And, after fighting off jet lag like champs, they were all ready for some Asian fun.
In no particular order, we laughed, drank, ate, swam, beached, got diarrhea, laughed some more, saw a monitor lizard eat a fish while fighting off crows, picked up some garbage, heckled some monkeys, got in a fender bender, rode in the back of a truck, searched for feminine hygiene products in a Muslim neighbourhood, and generally experienced some of Asia’s finest sights, smells and sounds over 14 days.
Even though I was seeing some places for the second time, it was all made fresh through their eyes, which easily made it the most memorable, meaningful experience in my time overseas. So much fun, so many stories and so happy to have had the opportunity to share this experience. I wish they could have stayed longer.
A day after the Schneidz crew departed, we welcomed a friend and former colleague of mine for a short stay. Obviously a very different type of traveler than the Schneidz’s, Kim attacked the KL attractions like no one I’ve ever seen. She hit them all and left us a list of hits and misses for future visitors. It was a treat to have her and also see Malaysia through her eyes – and somewhat delicate tastebuds and stomach. She’s a trooper with a huge heart and someone I have a ton of time for.
I hope all my old co-workers follow her lead! I’m talking to you Artie from Nor-town Bowling Alley.
Next up was meeting my parents for two weeks in Japan. Why Japan, you ask? Well, no, they don’t like sushi. No, they don’t speak Japanese. And no, they’re not secret ninjas. But what they do like is somewhat shorter plane rides to see their firstborn son and his first wife.
So, when my Mom told me her goal was met after finding me in the busy Tokyo train station, she really meant it. While her vacation expectation bar was set low (and Rob’s was even lower – I think all he wanted was to watch CNN in a different time zone?), we still managed to have a swell old time visiting Nagano, Tokyo and Kyoto.
Outstanding weather, sparkling clean spaces, polite people and gorgeous parks and temples were on order every day. Japan is a really special place and even though it has a lot of people going a lot of places at the same time – even Rob approved.
Up next is Sri Lanka in June to meet up with friends from our first years spent sweating. There will be stories. In the meantime, take care.