26 October 2008

Fay is HERE!

We've been SO spoiled this week to have Auntie Fay here! She arrived on Tuesday evening and has been an awesome addition to our family. We just wish we could keep her!

Jack was extremely excited that she was coming, even though, honestly, we haven't ever had this much time with her before. You would hardly have known it; Jack and Jane took to her like they'd spent days and days with her before. And why wouldn't they? She's a grandma of two boys and two girls, very close to their ages, so it's safe to say, she knows kids!

We have spent our days doing fun, some touristy, and some not-so touristy things. Here's a quick run-down of some of our favorite moments during the week.

Fay starting a fire in her bathroom with her curling iron. Oops! Thanks to marble counter tops, no harm done!

The kids have been so fascinated by her reading glasses this week. Jack loved wearing them on the tip of his nose so he could see over them to read with Daddy.

We spent a morning at a Thai school for children who's parents work during the day and cannot care for them. Khun Bird invited us to celebrate his birthday by donating drinks and little pencils to the children. We didn't feel like we got to help much more than just serving them their meal, but it was an awesome experience, once again, to see these sweet children and see the good that is going on here. I didn't take a ton of pictures here like I did last year, and unfortunately, you can't see many of these cute kids, but here are a few from last time, if you're interested.

Visiting Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn), which I've been wanting to see since we got here. Usually, by the time we've seen the other temple, we're too tired to cross the river to this one, but we were smart and started with it this time. It was really different from the others, and we loved that you could climb up a good part of it, although it was a little freaky with the kids! VERY steep!

Riding the truck home... Fay was up for anything, which always makes it SUPER easy to get around. She never complains, never loses her patience, and always seems like everything is exactly what she would choose. I have a LOT to learn!

We spent a day at a Tiger zoo outside of the city. It was a new place for all of us, and we weren't disappointed! We saw a tiger show, and those tigers were gorgeous! (gotta love that lady's outfit).

This is Jack petting a baby crocodile. Very cool.

Fed a bottle to the baby tigers. You can tell Jane was a little bit hesitant, but who can blame her, not all of the cubs were calm, and if they really wanted to, I think their paws could reach through those bars! This one was already sticking through some. We were trying to stick to the lazy ones.

You could pay 150 baht to get pictures with a number of different animals, but being cheap like we are, we didn't want to pay the money. While it was raining, we were kind of stuck under an awning with a bunch of these animals. Our kids were SO excited to pet them. Jane was drawn the entire time to the little bunny, and Jack kept going back to this huge snake. The guy finally let us just take a picture with our camera, which we were grateful for since Jack loved this snake so much! No fear from this boy! I didn't feel too guilty about not paying for the picture since I think Jack hanging around with this guy was getting other people to pay for their picture.

Jack had the camera a good deal of the day. I thought this was cute! Look at all those gorgeous teeth!

Did I mention that Fay is up for anything? She is so adventurous and didn't want to miss a thing. We were impressed that she took the opportunity to get held up by the elephant. Very cool and only 50 baht!

We've fed crocodiles before, but not like this. This was an adventure for us too! At first, dangling a dead chicken from a "fishing pole" seemed a little mean, like we're teasing the crocodiles, but then I remembered... they're crocodiles! It was awesome. That croc that is jumping out at Jeff's actually got it that time, and I got an incredible video of one going after Fay's. I love that you can hear their jaws snapping shut so well. It's incredible!

We did a crocodile wrestling show, which we've seen before, but it's always fun to watch. This one has the only girl wrestler that I've ever heard of. Jack gets really intense during it, and last time, we actually just walked out. Maybe I'm a bad mom for submitting my kids to potential violence, but it's part of the culture, right? I love how Jack was holding on to Fay here; you can tell he's really into it.

Waiting for a taxi in our lobby. This is the first time in a while that I've heard any name more than "Mom!" in my house. Is it okay that I've loved that? We've heard, "Auntie FAY!" about 1,000 times a day. At least. Jack and Jane want her for everything! She's done story times, taught them how to finger crochet, read books, sung songs, drawn pictures, played computer games, board games, and tonight Jack could hardly go to sleep because he was so excited about the cards he and Fay were making together.

Yesterday, Fay and I got to go solo to the Chatuchak market, which I love. She was an awesome shopping buddy. We found lots of fun things for both of us, and were in and out in about three hours. That's about three hours shorter than my usual visit, in case you were wondering. I don't go very often, so when I do, it's to stock up. It was nice this time to focus on what she wanted, and just be along for the fun!

We also got to bring Fay to church with us today. It was fun to show her off a little bit, and to have her there to help prepare for Primary stuff! She shared a bunch of her awesome Tabernacle cards and CDs, and just was happy to let us introduce her to so many of our Bangkok family! One sweet sister even brought us lunch at church today, which was SO sweet. We got to sit and sample delicious Sri Lankan food before the meetings started. We had NOT planned well for a long day at church, so we were especially grateful for all the effort that went into that meal. I feel like people just keep giving and giving and I have NO way to repay them for their thoughtfulness and service.

I know this is brief, and we have SO many more fun pictures, so maybe Fay will share some on her blog. Since Fay is going home tomorrow, I'm ready for our last night of visiting. We have LOVED having her here. She has been such a help with the kids, housework, and she just has an overall positive glow about her. I have always loved my Aunt Fay, but I have never been able to spend this much time with her! I feel SO blessed to have had this chance to get to know her on a whole different level. As we visit, it's fun to see little bits of my Mom come out in her. Or Grandma, or her twin, Gaye. In a way, I feel like I've had more than just Fay here, since we've talked about all of our family so much! It's nice to get the first hand update on everyone and feel so much closer to so many. I know our time does need to come to a close, and I know for a fact she is missing her husband and kids. Thanks to everyone for sharing your wife, sister, Aunt, mother, and Grammy Fay with us!

19 October 2008

And now for something completely different.

In the last month, there have been some moments where I was happy I had my camera. Somehow, these photos have gotten pushed aside for one reason or another, but I definitely wanted to document these memories, and especially the people, as we are saying goodbye to so many right now!

For Anutra's birthday, she wanted to donate items to monks at a local temple. She invited Jane and I to join her and her neighbor this year to donate the items, serve lunch to the monks, and eat afterward. I'm always excited about doing new things, and I am always up for a good cultural experience, so I was happy to go!

When we arrived, Anutra was preparing the lotus blooms, which always seem to play a role in Buddhist worship or making offerings. (Please someone correct me if I'm wrong!) I'd seen this done before, but it was fun to have her teach me how to do it properly, although I was much slower than she was!

She donated bags of hygiene products to the monks; you can kind of see some of the sacks off to the side. The monk you see in this picture performed some kind of ceremony as Anutra lit candles and paid respect to the monk and the shrine. I know I don't get everything, but it was interesting, and I was happy that Jane was in the mood to be respectful.

We served the monks lunch, which is one of two meals they eat each day. As we put the food on the table, because women are not allowed to directly hand things to monks, we put it on an orange cloth, which they then received, and so on and so on. Very interesting.

Before they actually started eating, they all recited something in unison (kind of at the same time that we would have said a blessing on the food). Curious, I asked Anutra what they were saying. She summarized it as reminding themselves not to think of the taste of the food, but just to think of the good it is doing for their body. I thought that was clever. Do you think I could convince my family to think of each meal like that too? My life would be a LOT easier!

What's wrong with Jane's head? Absolutely nothing. She just likes bandaids right there.

Another part of the temple had this big image that Anutra says is quite famous. I thought this was a fun picture of the three of them together. Jane has no idea what she's doing, but in general, she's just a really good sport about everything. I don't know if Jack as a three year old would have been this easy to tow around so much!

Jane and her little friend, Brandon. Even if their older brother and sister don't go to the same school, these two still find a way to be together! It is a little tough now that Brandon is in school each day, but we still really try to find time to get together to let them play.

Jack learned to make pancakes and was SO proud of himself! I guess he likes them BIG.

There's a big wave of people leaving our ward this month. This is Benjamin. He's smiling because he's on his way to Canada! He's from Sri Lanka. Many of our friends are refugees here because, for one reason or another, it is unsafe for them to return to their home country. They are just waiting for a country to accept them and help them start their life over. Canada is a big one for many of our friends, and we are SO grateful to this wonderful country for giving our friends a new start! Yay, Canada! (The kids were a little bit distracted. Hopefully his picture turned out better than ours!)

This is the Tamang family. I really don't know the parents very well, but have fallen in love with their two youngest daughters through working in the primary. Ramita (in the pink plaid) has grown so much since I first met her. She's really started to come out of her shell, and her English has improved immensely. It's fun to be teaching Sharing time because now she can participate because she knows the answers! And she sings more than ever before. It's been amazing to watch her mature so much in such a short amount of time. I'm going to miss her.

Their youngest daughter, Sachina, looks like she doesn't like Jane, but really, they've become great friends. This little girl I've seen grow a lot too. She never used to even crack a smile when I was her nursery leader. She wouldn't speak, or sing, but would just sit quietly and semi-join in on whatever activity we were doing at the time. Now I've seen some life in her! She will run around with Jane, holding hands throughout the building, act like a dog (one of Jane's favorite things to do these days), and laugh and smile. Although she's still reserved, it's been fun to see her personality really begin to show. We are thrilled for the Tamangs to be on their way to Ontario, Canada this week!

Our biggest goodbye will definitely be to our favorite Sri Lankan brothers that we have written so much about. Ashly and Vibushen have become a part of the family, and we will feel a HUGE absence with them gone. These are completely selfish feelings, because we know that them going to Canada will be the BEST thing that has happened to them in a long time. They have been through a lot, and have waited for a long time for this move, so we are extremely happy for them! We know that they will have a good life there, they will be safe, and hopefully they will be able to welcome the rest of their family there soon! These pictures are from a night at their room where they cooked delicious Sri Lankan food for us. Jeff always loves Ashly's fish balls, so I made him let me help this time, so maybe I could repeat the process.

I still cannot comprehend how they can make a more amazing meal with their one little burner, than I can with my big, glorious kitchen! They never fail to amaze me!

Jane and Ashly are such good friends, and he always has taken such good care of her. She always looked forward to seeing him, and he has always spoiled her with love (and treats). We love visiting with these guys. We always learn a lot, laugh even more, and leave feeling uplifted with absolutely full hearts.

We had a great picture of Vibushen playing Jack's violin (which he insisted on bringing for entertainment), but Vibushen specifically told me I wasn't allowed to put it on the blog! So, Vibushen, since we love you, we will just keep that one all to ourselves!

A few things I'll miss about them the most: 1) Ashly calling on the phone and when I say, "hello?", he answers, "HELLO! I am Ashly!". 2) Them calling Jeff and I "Uncle" and "Auntie". 3) Watching them pass the sacrament, then afterward when they excuse them to sit with their families, they sit by us. 4) Knowing I can always plan on Ashly to help me with Jane when Jeff and I have extra meetings. 5) Their HUGE smiles and beautiful teeth.

Before Ashly, Vibushen, Benjamin, and the Tamangs leave Thailand, they are required to spend one week in the Immigration Detention Center (IDC). We have visited IDC quite often to visit a family from the ward who's been there for over a year. We usually go (in a rotation with other members of the ward), visit, and take them water, food, and other items they are in need of. It is always a little hard to leave after visiting this other family, the Dhakals, because we just don't know when they'll get out. It was a completely different experience going to visit Ashly and Vibushen in there. They were still just their usual, glowing selves. They said their room was "good". I said, "did you say your room is GOOD?" (remember this place is like a jail). They laughed and laughed and confirmed I had heard them correctly. (This is all through two gates, with a 3 foot gap between them). They were SO positive, happy, and made sure that we would tell everyone on Sunday that they are happy and fine and not to worry! It was completely different visiting them in that dreary place, because they have so much to look forward to! I will be praying especially hard this week for the Dhakal family for some hope that they will soon be accepted by New Zealand, which will be their last chance.

We are excited to see Ashly, Vibushen, and Benjamin off this Tuesday morning (4am!) at the airport. We'll miss them, but definitely wouldn't have it any other way. We've learned so much from these sweet brothers and hopefully it will be easier to see them off, knowing that we will only be a 12 hour drive away, once we move back to Utah. (First things first though - buying a car!)

We had a really fun visit with a couple from Scotland we met at church, Laura and Stuart. They are touring the world for one year of their lives, and only have a couple of months left! It's probably pretty selfish to invite them over so we can hear about all their adventures, but how could I pass up the opportunity? Will we ever tour the world together? Probably not, but I am a dreamer, and up to this point, it's hard for me to believe how many dreams have actually become a reality! So, you never know!

Yet another couch picture. This week, we had Jeff's friend, Yod, and his wife, Mookie, over for dinner. Jeff has talked a lot about Yod, as they get along really well and Yod's always a great source for asking questions about Thai, since his English is so good! Jack especially warmed right up to Yod when he discovered his watch that turns into a compass. Very cool. Jack rarely left his side after discovering this treasure. He had LOTS of questions! We really enjoyed their company and are hoping to get together near their place next time at a place famous for their Pad Thai, one of my favorites!

Last weekend, we enjoyed a very non-traditional conference weekend. Because of the time difference from Salt Lake City, we watch it one week later, and we specifically made it a point to be in town for this weekend, as we missed it last time traveling to Utah to be with family. Knowing how little time we have left here, I didn't want to miss our last opportunity to watch conference this way, and also to just be with our ward family.

We were amazed at how well the kids did. We enjoyed both Saturday sessions AND both Sunday sessions at the church, which we hardly dared expect! Jeff also was able to stay and watch the Priesthood session with many of the brethren. We were thankful for a nice family who sat by us, who allowed our kids to play together quietly while we tried to get as much out of the meetings as possible! Plus, Ashly was a HUGE help, as always.

Between sessions on Saturday, we were starving, so we rushed off to find a food shop nearby (we only had one hour between sessions), and we were lucky to find one with delicious food! When we first walked up, we were looking for a free table, and everyone just sat staring at us like we were dinosaurs or something. I don't think it's very common for white-folk, all dressed up, to eat at a place like this. One guy finally figured out that we really did want to eat, and pointed to a table in the back. I ordered my favorite thing lately, stir-fried veggies on rice. Simple, but oh, so good. And for some reason, it tasted extra good from this place.

I thought this was a good picture because you can see the "kitchen" in the background. I think that lady had 3 teeth and such a great smile. (I love Thailand). They cooked everything right up in under 10 minutes. Awesome. The guy who was running things kept coming back and trying to talk to Jane. She wasn't in the mood really, but for some reason, he still thought she was so sweet. We asked if they had sticky rice for her, and he pointed across the street to where they had it. Since we were kind of fenced into this shop, we laughed and I just assumed we'd get it on the way back to the church. This guy suddenly set off to go and buy her some from the neighbor shop. What service!

This conference weekend was awesome. I loved being there with everyone, listening to our leaders teach us all together. Between sessions on Sunday, we had a fantastic pot-luck lunch, that was planned very last minute, but it was amazing to see how people contributed! We even had people send food who couldn't make it! Now, that's taking care of each other! I wished I would have gotten pictures of everyone during the lunch, but I was a little busy serving up the chicken and potatoes, which was the best spot since, I got to see everyone come through the line. I love our ward.

As a mother, nothing is more rewarding than seeing my kids together. Jack is reading so much lately, and Jane has shown an incredible interest in books as well. Both of them will randomly wander into their bedrooms at times just to sit and look through books. My favorite is when they do it together.

Jack can just read and read now, and it is music to my ears!

This is such a random blog, but has so many good memories included. How could I let even ONE thing go by from our experience here? It's just coming to an end all too fast.

12 October 2008


We took a 5 hour bus ride to Kuala Lumpur, from Singapore, and it was the BEST bus we've ever seen! It felt like first class, and was actually not too expensive, considering the comfort level. We regretted not getting any pictures, because it was a really fun way to travel. We actually wished that, instead of flying back, we could have taken the bus instead. The bus attendant was a young guy who brought water, food (although it was a little different than our usual meals!), and even got the kids some hot chocolate while everyone else was drinking their coffee and tea. The seats reclined far and had a foot rest, and they showed a movie that the kids could enjoy. Jeff watched Jane for a lot of it while Jack and I rested, and he had a very informative conversation with a nice Muslim man from Indonesia who was on holiday with his family. We had been very curious about all the women in veils in Singapore, and found it to be even more dominant in Malaysia. It was nice to get a little insight into their culture.

When we hopped off the bus, it was pouring rain. Awesome. We had NO idea where our hotel was, or how we were going to get there. (This is my incredible planning at play. Like I've said before, I did NOT plan this trip as well as I would have liked. This is one thing I would have liked to know before hand.) We stood around on the side of the road until taxi drivers actually started approaching us. Our faces must have spelled out, "WE HAVE NO PLAN!". In Malaysia, at least in KL, very few of the taxis use their meter. From what we could tell, the meter is so cheap, and the rates haven't been raised in over 12 years, so no one uses them anymore. So that meant we had to haggle with the driver about a price to a place an unknown distance away. I'll tell you right now, this was our least favorite part of our time in KL. Anyway, we found a driver that was reasonably priced and he turned out to be a really nice man. In the pooring rain, we got to our hotel quickly for about $5 U.S. Not too bad, but it's probably about twice what we would have paid with the meter. We tried to train ourselves not to think of it that way!

We immediately loved our hotel. The staff was absolutely fantastic, there was a nice, big lobby, and although the room was pretty modest, it was a good size for us and Jack had no problem sleeping on the floor. Everyone was SO smily, chatty, and helpful. We almost felt like we were back in Thailand, except everyone spoke English. It felt really good. It didn't hurt that this nice, big hotel was actually a LOT cheaper than our tiny hotel in Singapore. I try to convince myself that the place you stay doesn't effect the trip, but sometimes, it really makes a difference. I have to say, the friendly staff is what really made us enjoy ourselves here.

Since it was pooring rain, we decided to try and find something indoors where the kids could get their travel wiggles out. We felt lucky to find a mall with a huge indoor amusement park. Jack ran from ride to ride, while Jane tried to recover from her short nap on the train on the way over, poor girl. She was exhausted.

It was called Cosmo's World, and was themed all around a HUGE garden. It was really well done, and they had rides for kids and adults alike. We would have been spending our time in a different area if it was just Jeff and me, but we still loved going on the kiddy rides with them.

I did finally convince Jeff to leave me with the kids and to go on the big rollercoaster at least. We both LOVE rollercoasters, but not feeling well, I didn't think I wanted to attempt it. I was glad he did though, and he said it was really impressive! (You can kind of see the orange tracks winding throughout. It looked awesome!)

Jane perked up by the end and enjoyed a few of the rides, as well as the huge indoor playground. She and Jack found two brothers their age that they played and played with. It was a perfect way to spend a rainy evening out after a day of traveling!

From the train, we had to walk through China Town to get to our Hotel. I love China Towns. We didn't get to go in Singapore, so I was thrilled that our hotel was right next to it so we could walk through it easily. Since Jack had a good nap that day, I thought it would be fun to do something new, just the two of us. Have you ever heard of a Fish Spa?

While we were in Singapore, I saw the Fish Spa concept for the first time and thought (and probably said), "that is the dumbest thing anyone could ever think of". Especially when I saw the price, I couldn't believe what people were paying for a 15 minute session of dipping your feet in water with fish. Okay, so as we were walking through China Town, people were advertising their spas, of course! Just like in Thailand. I'm a sucker for a good massage, and will admit that I love when Jeff sends me off for a good foot massage after a long day. It's a great way to relax, enjoy the quiet, read a book, and feel very pampered for about $6. Who can beat that? I'm enjoying it while I can.

So, after seeing that the prices for this "new" fish spa in KL were pretty reasonable, I decided it would be fun to try. (I'm also a sucker to try something I've never done before.) I thought it would be much more fun to do this if Jack came with me, because he's always asking if he can get a massage like we see people doing all the time. I really don't want other women touching him, that's just weird, so of course, I've always said no. Plus, he giggles before I even make contact with him to wash his feet. It just wouldn't work. But, I thought this would be a good chance to do something like that together. Was I glad I did it? I think it was the highlight of my entire trip!

We went in, and I asked if we could do the 30 minute session just for 15 minutes so I could have my son do it too. They just laughed and said that it was a 30 minute fish spa with a 15 minute neck and shoulder rub, and the "baby" was free. We put our things in a locker, then they took us in to wash our feet. Jack was giggling like crazy as she was scrubbing his feet. She even carried him over to the fish pond because they didn't have flip-flops that would fit him. He sat down and stuck his feet in without hesitation. While she was washing my feet about 10 feet away, I could hear him giggling and laughing like I've never heard. I couldn't help but laugh and try to keep him quiet at the same time, so as not to disturb the other people during their massages. I sat down with him and experienced something I've never felt before! All the fish immediately start sucking on your feet almost in a rhythm. The big ones were a little much for me. It was really interesting and weird all at the same time. I had no idea that it would feel so different while it was happening, I guess I assumed I would feel a difference in the texture of my feet after or something. I didn't know, I just wanted to try something new. Jack didn't keep his feet still for long enough to really get too many fish on him at once, but he kept his feet in the entire time, which surprised me!

You can't see it in the picture, but as soon as we sat down, a lady came and brought us both water, and a huge candy dish for Jack to snack on. He was in heaven! She then gave me my shoulder rub, which would have felt much better if I wouldn't have gotten a little too much sun at the beach the day before! The highlight of course, was sitting there with Jack just laughing, talking, and imagining what Jane and Jeff's reactions to this would be. It was a moment I don't want to forget. I always enjoy doing something new, but doing it with Jack was way more fun than it would have been alone. I was thrilled he was so excited about doing the "fish thing", which to most kids would not have sounded that enticing!

Our first full day in KL, we were so excited to do a canopy tour that we'd read and heard so much about, that was just outside the city. We found a nice driver to stick with us for a few hours, while we walked 90 ft. up in the air over little bridges between trees. Sounds awesome, right? I'm sure it would have been, if it wasn't under maintenence for another 3 weeks! We were totally disappointed, but quickly realized there were other possibilities. We ended up going to the Batu Cave that was not too far away, and something I'd read about but thought we wouldn't have time for. This is a place where over 1 million Hindus come as a pilgrimage each year in January and February. It was at this point that we realized our camera battery was dying. Good timing. We did get a few good ones though.

Jack hiked up the 272 steps, watching for monkeys the entire way. They were everywhere!

One monkey even tried to snatch Jack's ice cream cone on the way back down. It was a little bit traumatizing. It is a little nerve-racking to be around wild animals that have no hesitation around people. They're completely unpredictable.

This was the inside of the main cave, with several shrines in different crevices all around. It was pretty impressive.

At the top, these guys had this snake and were letting people take pictures with it. I could tell Jack wanted to do it, but he wanted me to do it first. I felt like I couldn't not do it at that point, because then he'd think I wasn't doing it because I was scared, and he just needed that extra little bump of encouragement. Maybe putting some random snake on myself and then my five year old wasn't such a good choice, but at the time, I just didn't want Jack to back away from something he really wanted to do because he was too nervous. Anyway, I held it, then passed it on to Jack and he was SO excited!

Of course, right after, this the guy came up and asked for 10 ringgits each (about $6 total). Jeff looked at him laughing and said, "no". To keep the peace, I said, "I have 9 ringgits in my pocket" (which I did), and he seemed satisfied. Obviously, that whole thing happened pretty fast because I wasn't really even thinking about how much they would charge me! What's happening to me?

So, besides the fish spa, our favorite part of KL was going to church. We found the building pretty easily, thanks to the awesome church website, and felt SO at home there! As soon as we hopped out of our taxi, we met two young met from Nigeria and Malaysia who immediately took the kids hands and helped them across the street with us while we were getting our things situated. It felt so nice to be with other Latter-Day Saints. We walked in and were touched by the warmth we felt there. This small branch was extremely diverse with people from the U.S., China, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, and many more countries. We felt right at home! We enjoyed a full block of meetings, where Jack and Jane happily attended their own classes and Jeff and I got to actually sit together in Sunday school. It was awesome. We stayed after and visited with several of the members and let Jack and Jane play with the kids of the branch president. Jack was SO sad he wouldn't see Janella next week! She had a little brother that was almost exactly Jane's age. I wanted to take them all home with us!

We were so happy to have had such an awesome Sunday in KL. It felt so good to be able to attend (in English!) even when we were away from home! This is the kids showing their muscles in front of the church.

Our last day, we went to see the famouse Petronas Towers in the middle of the city. They used to be the tallest buildings in the world until they were passed up in 2006. They are 88 stories high, and just a little bit taller than the Empire State building.

We didn't feel like getting up early to get the tickets to get into the observation deck (you can see it connecting the two towers), so we mainly just spent our time in the park right by them. If we would have had more batteries, we would have shown you how incredible this park was. It was gorgeous, and the play area was bigger than any other I've ever seen. I think it had at least 15 seperate and unique playgrounds all put together in one HUGE area. We were all SO happy to have found it, as it was a perfect way to relax and enjoy our last morning in Malaysia. Here's the last picture on the camera, of Jack in one of the play structures.

We were starving after a while, so we went in the huge shopping mall to find a place to eat. Guess what we found? Chili's! You probably don't know this about me, but I am NOT a fan of Chili's and Applebee's. They're fine, but with as infrequently as Jeff and I ever went out before we moved here, I always wanted to find a place that was unique. Preferably somehwere we'd never been before. But, you know what? Jeff and I hardly had to discuss where we were going to eat after seeing they had one. We don't have them in Thailand, so I guess it was unique in that way, right? I ordered a big chicken salad and it was SO delicious! Salads in Asia are usually a few leaves of lettuce with carrot sticks, celery, and maybe some beans and corn. I wish I was exaggerating. So, to get a huge, American looking salad, I almost wanted to cry. The kids ate free, (so impressive) and Jeff got a delicious sandwich. It's been a long time since all of us loved our meals at the same time. It probably sounds so silly, but we all just felt so at HOME!

I used to hate when I heard of people eating at McDonalds or Burger King when they were in a foreign country. Now, as much as I still think you should try to experience the native foods and culture, I understand more than ever how comforting it can be to just eat something that is familiar. I will judge no more!

So, my concluding thoughts about Malaysia, if you're still with me are these: We loved the people. Everyone was friendly and smiley. We felt right at home with the street vendors, markets, and prices. It was not clean, the sidewalks weren't good (if you're wondering why we notice this so much, try navigating a stroller over huge missing tiles on the walkways!), and it was really smokey, which was not my favorite. The people were great! I tell you, that makes all the difference in the world to us. The taxi drivers, although we had to haggle prices, were always nice and helpful and true to their word. The vendors were fair and decent and I never felt like I was getting ripped off when I was desperate for fruit in China Town.

One afternoon after visiting a planetarium, it was pooring rain. We were stranded in this park far away from a road with no taxis in sight. Suddenly one pulled up and said he'd take us to our hotel. He could have asked for any price and we would have had to pay it. He didn't. He was actually the only driver who ever turned on his meter, and we didn't even have to ask him. He was completely willing to help our poor little family in a very tight spot, instead of taking complete advantage of us, like I worry some would have! People definitely make a difference! Malaysia wasn't perfect, but we loved what we saw, and if given the chance, we'd go back and see more of that beautiful country.

Thank you Kuala Lumpur for smiling. Thank you for loving our children. Thank you for your beautiful greenery. Thank you for your unique architecture. Thank you for having so much to do in such a short amount of time. We hope to be back someday!

Here's a few more pictures from Singapore I left out on accident. Oops!

We loved this cool fountain in one of the shopping malls.

My boys being goofs on the tower at the tip of mainland asia.

Jane with one of our favorite treats: a Slurpee. Something else that is from "home" that we've found all over the place. Thank you, 7-11!