December 21, 2009

I’ve been reading I Capture the Castle because it’s hard to bring the computer in the car to read Micah’s novel. I wondered if perhaps I should journal like Cassandra Mortmain, that is, record my daily experiences. Not that they are quite novel-worthy. I wonder (and see, here’s another place we are different – Cassandra doesn’t wonder the same way I do.) . . . But now I’ve forgotten what I wondered.

Right now I am on the porch of a darling little chalet on the East Coast of Malaysia. This is not to be confused with East Malaysia, a section almost as big, or bigger than the mainland (peninsula). East Malaysia contains the states of Sabah and Sarawak, and is connected to a large island. But we’re not there, we’re here. I’m here, at the chalet. Strangely enough, this resort is run by a Dutch immigrant. It was so peculiar to drive into the gated-in area where we’re staying, with about seven chalets in it, and see people with white skin and blonde hair. I caught a tiny glimpse of why so many people stare at us. Not because they’re trying to be rude, but simply because we stand out.

I suppose I should explain what I mean by chalet, but it’s rather boring. Brown, wooden, carved, one room, like a hotel room but a house unto itself. It has air conditioning (oh joy!) and even better, a Western-style toilet. (:laughs:)

Someone – maybe a shopkeeper – yesterday commented that I look like a Malay. Oh, I remember who it was now – the man at the counter to the Handcrafts museum. I like thinking I look Malay, only if I really want to fit in I ought to buy a whole bunch of headscarves. B-)

It’s lovely hearing my Dad make conversation with a bunch of people and following half of what they’re saying. It gives me such pleasure to go to a shopkeeper and ask, “Berapa harga ini?” (How much is the price of this?) When I heard someone ask if “adik anda cakap Melayu” (your children speak Malay) I was already thinking of how I would reply. All I could think of was kecil, which means small, but later when I asked Dad he told me I should say “sedikit,” a little.

This language stuff is only mildly useful and a little bit of the excitement about it is self-aggrandizing, so I suppose I’ll stop. What else. . .

Oh! The sky is beautiful right now, dawn is breaking. I want to step off the porch to see. Roosters have been crowing for the past ten minutes.

I can’t see the sun yet, but oh, it’s wonderful. The sky is a purply-lavender color, mostly, or rather, the large clouds are, and the sky is a very light shad of a glowing pink, almost white.

I love seeing palm trees all around. This kind of journaling rather seems like the first part of a letter. I like to tell people where I am and what I just did. Then I move on to what I’m thinking about, or responding to what they said. Right now, I’m not thinking very much - I could go back to the house and pull out my notebook and write about something there, but I really don’t want to. I want to prolong this time here, before everyone is up and it’s time for breakfast.

I just thought about when I’ll have the chance to type this up and it made me think about how differently we write when there’s an audience. Because sure, I’m journaling – feel a tad bit like a reporter – but all of this is clearly to you. Like a letter, as I said earlier.

I just must say that I like Malaysia. Even love it. The weather, the scenery, the language.

One day I think I should capture a very different side of Malaysia, tell you what it’s like to wander through the smelly wet market, or pas food stalls, trying to figure out what to order. Yes, the food certainly deserves to be written about. But I’m afraid I ought to go inside and get ready for breakfast. Today we’re boating on a creek/river. Yesterday we made batik. I shall have to show you my scarf. I keep writing because I can’t think of a way to sign off. I’ll use the sign off of the NaNoWriMo pep talk lady who wrote by hand.

Best! Love!

(at least I think that’s what it was. Wouldn’t it spoil it if I misremembered?)

3 comments:

Hayley said...

:I Capture the Castle related glee:

Yes, do, write about the food!

Echoes in Ink said...

I feel with you. Malaysia sounds amazing. Have a lovely time, and, yes, write about the food (and make me jealous : ))

Love always,
Catey

Joanna said...

insanely jealous, wow, have fun!!