August 8, 2012


I feel like a victor when I wake up hopeful.

There was such a warm companionableness driving back to Ipoh from Penang today - I was glad for the days we spent in plentiful happiness. (Days are lovely when there is water, sky, laughter, and too much to enjoy to allow yourself to spend much time online.) Tuesday, we had planned out where we would go and where we would eat the evening previous, so it was much less stressful making decisions than usually it is for me. For lunch, we were planning to eat at a restaurant back at the condo called Secret Recipe. It's a Malaysian-owned chain that sells pastries, Asian dishes, "Western food," smoothies, coffee. . . I just gawk over their entire menu.

Yeh-yeh and I were planning on going there to get a curry chicken cornish, a more elaborate version of the Malaysian curry puff. But we were out past 1pm sightseeing, and on the spur of the moment, decided to stop for chendol - another item on my hope-to-eat list. Chendol is composed of coconut milk sweetened with Malaysian sugar (gula), ice, and often red beans as well. But the crucial ingredient is the chendol noodles themselves: they are thin and green. The store where we stopped is world-famous for chendol. On the walls of the store were photographs of prominent people eating the dish, from Jimmy Chu to the chief minister of Penang, along with newspaper articles praising the restaurant. So we had dessert for lunch. Later, after we had visited the house of P. Ramlee, a Malaysian singer, actor, and star, we came back to the condo, and downstairs, ordered our cornish. Like I said, I just gawk over Secret Recipe's entire menu. You don't even need their menu for your mouth to water: they display their twenty-five-or-so varieties of cakes in plain sight.

Where was I? I was talking about things that I hope for .... then got distracted writing about Penang *sigh* And why do I love it so much? The island has much different feel than Ipoh. Whereas I can never picture the streets of Ipoh in my head, Penang's roads are basically a circle all around the island. Also, Ipoh is surrounded by fields of oil palms and a few hills. In Penang, the hills are in the center, and all around is sea shore. Shore means waves, rocks, water, and significantly, space to see the sky. I just feel like I know where I am when I'm in Penang.

That's the view from my Aunt's apartment.

I've been thinking about the things I've already said I've been thinking about (future/growingup/happiness/etc). I want to find out what I really enjoy doing, and then commit to doing it. This is a revelation to me. The scary thing about adulthood is that you do have to pursue it - you need to want to learn, want to create, want to live. But what's exciting is that if you love something, you can seek it. Being motivated to brave obstacles and inconveniences for the sake of your passion is pretty wonderful.

I'm called back by loyalties that worry, how Brother Lawrence wrote (hundreds of years ago) about seeking God's presence all the time, and how I never can. I think about how insufficient I feel about how I pray, or take in God's word. I don't want my hopes to be self-salvation programs. Life must be moved by not fear, but love. I think of what someone said about freedom. Father, put your loves in my heart, and steel me to choose them. I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart...

August 4, 2012

My father is watching me

my legs can't fit into the glass case
that defines my ideal adulthood
I crush and bruise myself trying to squeeze in
if I became mush to pour inside, the mold wouldn't walk
-I must try to grow from roots up

glutted with advice, write/wait/hope/lose/want
I construct myself into a tower of babel
reaching for god, future me
but I collapse before I'm tall
outside the window, my father is watching me

his eyes in my heart are saying:
glass and stone expectations, ideals and towers
are only my people serving me
seek only me
I am your blood your muscle your mind