The Always Evolving and Partially Unwritten Five-Year Plan

Living in Malaysia

One. Singular Australian Sensation.

One.

Singular sensation.

Every little step he takes.

One of Broadway’s most famous productions was coming to Singapore and we were going!

Before the show, Dad and I found yet another amazing restaurant in Singapore, called Pizzeria Mozza.

Mozza in Marina Bay Sands. Highly recommended!

We didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out that “Mozza” is an American chain out of California and had some seriously good salad, bruschetta, and pizza.  Our brushetta had squash and real bacon on it. Yes, real bacon. It sounds gross, but I assure you, it was heaven on crunchy bread. I think it had been so long since I smelled squash and bacon that I could close my eyes and be transported to the Thanksgiving table. Ah, pork and cold weather vegetables, I miss you so.

Mmmm…..I’m making these next Thanksgiving dinner!

As for the show itself….well, I thought it was a little disappointing. At first, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but now I think I can pin it on one minor flaw.

They were Australian.

Now, you know, I LOVE me some Australia! The people, the food, the country, everything. I don’t want to jeopardize my possible dual citizenship that I’m sure they are going to offer me any day now. Rest assured, I am still madly in love with Australia.

But, for a Broadway show set in New York city, those Aussies trying to do American accents weren’t quite right. Or, in the case of the sassy Puerto Rican girl, not right at all. I realized that this was my problem about half way through and checked back in the program and sure enough, it was an all Australian production! I wonder if every other nation feels that way when Americans make lame attempts at foreign accents. Before I moved overseas, I had never heard anyone “do” an American accent, so this is most likely the case. Get back to me if this is true or false.

Regardless, we got a picture to match with our Wicked one from a few months ago…(well, minus Dan) 😦

And got this gem of some kiddies posing with the sign too…

Their moms took about 50 shots of them! And who wouldn’t?!

And don’t worry Australia, I still love you and you are still invited to my birthday party.

(If you are over 25, did you used to say people weren’t invited to your birthday party when you were mad at them as a kid? My sisters and I used to do it all the time! Do kids still do this? I thought it was pretty effective as a six year old.) 

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National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still be in the church pew next to you belting out “I Stand Amazed” on Sunday. I’ll still get shivers when we sing “Greatest Commands” in a four part harmony as I awkwardly rotate between the alto and soprano part, singing neither one well. You’ll see me in Sunday school and vacation bible school and all the other gatherings involving food between. I’m from the Bible Belt ya’ll and we believe in Jesus, college football, and pearls for any occasion. Mostly in that order.

But, I had the chance to visit the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur a few weeks ago and I thought to myself, “When am I ever going to get a chance to go to a mosque in a Muslim country again?” It’s going to be a while, I’m thinking. So off we went before the visiting hours ended at 4:00, in time for the next session of prayers.

Outside the mosque

Much like the designated hitter rule in major league baseball, if you are playing in a park where the DH rule is used, you have to play by their rules. For all you non-baseball fans out there, that means that in order to go into the mosque to take off our shoes, cover up and wear the hijab or headscarf that women Muslims where to enter the mosque. Admittedly, not my best look and in case you were wondering, it is a level of hot under there that is not easily duplicated.

Oh. My. Hotness.

I don’t know if this is the look for me.

The mosque overall was big, open, white with lots of reflecting pools. It was built in the mid-60’s, only about ten years after Malaysia gained its independence. It didn’t seem all that big, but then I read somewhere that it could hold 15,000 people at a time, which seems pretty huge. The contemporary design is based upon the Grand Mosque in Mecca with 48 small domes and the main dome which has a multi fold “semi-opened blue umbrella” that is the roof. This symbolizes the 5 pillars of Islam and the 13 states of Malaysia. There was a big area that non-muslims weren’t allowed to go into and that was where people were praying.

Main hall

They had a bunch of literature outside the main hall that was really intriguing, outlining how to clean yourself before praying and even a “family tree” of sorts from Adam and Eve all the way down to the Prophet Mohammad, including several prominent players that are in the Bible. It was very interesting to see the connection between Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

The outside of the National Mosque in KL.

As we wandered around it was peaceful and interesting, but I wished aloud that we had taken a guided tour of the place in order to understand what we were looking at.  But, then another girl we were with said that her friend had been on it and had to bite her tongue several times for comments made about women by the guide. Maybe its better I didn’t go on it. 🙂

Some Malaysian school girls in the mosque.

All in all, I thought it was an interesting visit and one that found me out of my comfort zone for sure, which was one of the objectives when we moved overseas. I feel privileged to be in a position that I can try something that I would never really even think about doing at home. Today it was visiting the National Mosque. Other days it’s scuba diving, riding an elephant, eating durian, teaching Cambodian children about polar bears and dancing in a multicultural flash mob. Not all in the same day, of course, but still part of the same awesome adventure.


One Truth

As we have traveled throughout Southeast Asia, there are a few truths that we have discovered that are universal to all.

One of those truths is that parents love their children more than words could describe.

No matter how much money they have.

No matter what their skin color is.

No matter what religion they practice.

Parents love their children with a primal instinct that cannot be matched that crosses all cultures and societies.

Today, as children in Kuala Lumpur were getting ready for school and children in Atlanta, Georgia were getting ready for bed, a 12 year old boy that goes to my school was walking to school and kidnapped. Steps away from school, he was kidnapped and hasn’t been heard from since.

This evening, I was trying to edit our final post about Vietnam and I just couldn’t because it just seemed so stupid and unimportant. Things that were at the center of my world, fluttered to the ground like scraps of paper, trivial amounts of stupidness.

Because all I could think about was this boy and his family. I think about a family I’ve never even met. A family that doesn’t come from where I come from, but I know that his parents love him more than anything in the world, just like my parents love me and I will someday love my children.

So in KL tonight, we do what we can. We pass out flyers, create webpages, and hold vigils. Our community is a small, close one that is filled with friends that often substitute for family in a far away country. We all go to sleep tonight hoping and praying that when we wake up in the morning, we will hear good news and will be able to breathe again.

Tonight where ever you are in the world dear readers, hug your children a little tighter before bed and say a prayer for this little boy and his family in hopes of a safe and quick return to where he is supposed to be.