Monthly Archives: July 2013

There is a gecko in my toilet (and other tales from Penang)

If you have been following the blog, you know that I have had some “challenges” with bathrooms on our trip (see here and here).

For the past month, we’ve stayed at a condo in Penang. The place is nice enough – we actually have two bedrooms and a living room, so Karl and I haven’t had to bunk down with the kids at 9pm each night. But the bathrooms are in serious need of renovation. We’re not talking squat toilets or anything, but let’s just say a plumber has been involved (or at least he claimed to be a plumber). Continue reading

Categories: Malaysia | 2 Comments

Happy Birthday to Meskie!

Today our Divine Miss M turns 7! Oh how we adore this girl: her zest for life, her sense of humour, her deep sense of empathy; and the list goes on…

IMG_1254 (June 6)

She is without doubt one of the happiest people I have ever met. Sure, she gets annoyed and even mad sometimes (mostly at her siblings or when we put the kibosh on one of her crazy ideas), but it passes quickly, like a rain storm in Malaysia. And then the sun bursts out again.

Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | 12 Comments

The School of Hard Knocks and Other Adventures


Hey, Cate here. Just so you know, Mom and Dad have not gotten into serious debt and sent us off to be foreign child labourers. The “School of Hard Knocks” is the clever name of a workshop at Royal Selangor, a famous company that sells bowls, plates, picture frames and trinkets made out of pewter.

After a tour of the gallery, where we learned about the history of tin mining and pewter production in Malaysia, as well as how Royal Selangor was established, we entered the “school.” We were given a small, flat disc made of pewter, two wooden molds, metal letters and a mallet. Our task was to create a finished bowl. Continue reading

Categories: Kids Only, Malaysia | 7 Comments

Objects in Motion Stay in Motion…

… objects at rest stay at rest. This law of physics has stuck with me since I learned about it in a high school textbook. The ever-helpful Wikipedia adds: “Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest.”

Strikes me that inertia also applies to people, particularly in today’s go-go-go society.  We are perpetually in motion, taking on way too much, filling our schedules beyond capacity, saying yes when we should say no. And thanks to technology, the lines between work and personal time have blurred to the point of being invisible.

The thing is, being busy can become self defining and some of us (Karl would point a finger straight at  me) can be, ahem, “resistant” to change, even when it would be in our best interests.

Continue reading

Categories: Malaysia | 4 Comments

Enlightenment and Excitement

Cen and Meskie here. This week we went to the biggest Buddhist temple in South East Asia (Kek Lok Si) and a cool eco-friendly theme park called Escape.

Advice from the Escape Adventure Park

Advice from the Escape Adventure Park

Continue reading

Categories: Kids Only, Malaysia | 4 Comments

Parasailing, Dr. Fish and Monkeying Around

Hey everybody, Cate here. You probably just read the title of my post and thought “Wait, what? Has Cate lost it? Did she perhaps hit her head on that curvy green slide Mom mentioned in the last post?”


No, actually. Fish can be doctors (sort of). Continue reading

Categories: Kids Only, Malaysia | Leave a comment

A Change in Perspective

I’m typing poolside at our condo in Penang as the sun begins its descent and the breeze is starting to pick up, pushing away the stifling heat of the day and perhaps foreshadowing a rain storm tonight.


Cate, Cen and Meskie have teamed up with a posse of other kids, a mix of fellow travellers and expats (there are many of the latter here).

The pool has a long and curvy green slide, and the string of 8 or so kids are hurtling themselves down one right after another, so close that they are practically forming a train. I can’t see the end of the slide, which is probably a good thing. Continue reading

Categories: Malaysia | 8 Comments

The Circle of Life

When I was growing up, my extended family lived overseas (mostly in Italy, some in Australia). I never had the chance to develop special bonds with grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins – the kind of connections that are fostered by countless shared experiences, extended holiday visits and family traditions.

When I met Karl just over 13 years ago, what struck me almost immediately was his strong attachment to his grandparents. In fact, it was very important to him to name his son after his three grandfathers, which he managed to do with some creative spelling, using the first letter of each of their names: Cyril (C), Ernie (E), Norm (N).

In most families, though, it’s the women who are the glue that binds, and his is no different. Karl was lucky to have three wonderful grandmothers growing up: Iris (who passed away years ago), Jean and Muriel. While I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Iris, over the past decade I developed a deep affection for these two remarkable ladies, and grew to appreciate how they helped shape Karl’s childhood and influenced the person he has become. Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Observations from Cate

Hey, everybody, Cate here. Over the past however many weeks, I’ve learned a lot of things about Malaysia, so I decided, with the suggestion of my parents, to list some general observations about travel here.

  • First of all, even after a couple of days, I began to notice how smoking was much more common than in Canada. Of course, there are always places where signs advertise the fact that no smoking is allowed, although Dad says that people don’t always follow the rules.
  • Next up, the weather. Malaysia can be pretty darn hot sometimes, and of course I am not really accustomed to this type of heat, coming from rainy Vancouver. Melaka was the hottest, I think, even more so than Kuala Lumpur. But if it starts raining…….. Take cover, people! Continue reading
Categories: Kids Only, Malaysia | 2 Comments

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