Kuala Lumpur. How are we really going?
I mentioned in a FB post about how the last four days hasn’t been all “happy happy joy joy.”
What do I mean by that?
Before we left Australia, Gerhard and I would sit around and talk about what it would be like. “It will be so much fun” “the kids will learn so much” “we can’t wait to be a family and spend time together.”
But when things don’t go to plan and you have all these expectations, it can be quite the challenge.
Challenge 1: Accommodation
With an 8 year old boy who has Sensory Processing Disorder, the small room we had didn’t do any wonders for him. Firstly it had no window, just a room with two double beds and a toilet, which is fine but not for Mattaeus. We didn’t even think twice about how the small space would effect him. We have just come from a large four bedroom home with a rumpus room, massive backyard and three bathrooms. The kid loves to move and run and being in the middle of the city, you don’t know the difference between the road and footpath. The nearest open space for the kids to run was three train stops away.
Challenge 2: Unwanted Attention
With two super duper good looking kids (yes I can say that) it brings a lot of stares, whispering, pointing and the occasion cheek squeeze followed by “hello boy”. I spoke to a good friend about this and she said no matter what people are going to stare and there is nothing you can do. Westerner’s stick out like a sore thumb. Can’t do much about it.
Also my 16 year old buzz cut isn’t helping either. I think people are a little confused. Maybe they think Gerhard has three sons. At times I have felt uncomfortable and wanted to just hide for a bit but that achieves nothing. In Samoan culture (which is what Gerhard is) staring can mean a sign of confrontation so you can imagine walking a few hundred meters down the street. Good times.
Being in a country that is predominantly Muslim dress code is something to be aware of. We have had experience in Thailand and Cambodia and modesty was something to be aware of but nothing to be too concerned about. We want to be able to respect the country we are in and like they say “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
Challenge 3: Food
Gerhard: Eats everything and anything. Literally.
Mattaeus: Hates veges and chili. He’s a meat kinda kid.
Me: Eat anything, but with bowels that are clogged up I had to really watch what I eat
Markus: Would eat all bloody day if he could but he is anaphylaxis to eggs and nuts. It’s almost in everything they cook here.
So you can imagine what breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like. As parents we are ready to stab someone by the end of each meal, at times each other. The constant “excuse me is there egg or nuts in here” “yes yes taste good” “no, no egg or nuts. He die” “ooohhhhh. You still want?” and also reading every label.
What we do love is the amount of fresh fruit already cut up, fresh fruit juice, super cheap meals that taste better than any fancy shmancy restaurant and paying no more than $10aus for four people. If we see lots of locals eating there we were usually not far behind. You can learn a lot from food. You can observe how they interact, how they eat, how they communicate by sitting and watching. It was fun to watch workers grabbing breakfast before work.
Challenge 4: Anxiety
They say opposites attract. I have a big bloody mouth and I am happy to talk to any Tom, Dick and Harry. Gerhard on the other hand not so much. He’s is an introvert and we need more introverts!. With a city so crowded, people staring, kids running off and a constant change of plans can takes its toll. The constant need to communicate under pressure in uncomfortable situations can be hard. The man’s stepped up his game haha. For some reason he is really good at speaking to people who don’t speak English. He is patient and avoids confrontation at all cost where as I struggle with it and talk to them like they are deaf. Its something we are working on 🙂
With that said this is what this whole trip about is really. Being uncomfortable. When we are uncomfortable there is a real opportunity for us to learn about each other, but most of all our selves. At no point did we think this was going to be a breeze but what has surprised us the most is how much we have learnt about each other. Being confined to a small space you have no choice but to learn to work with each other or else shit falls apart. Aint nobody got time for that!!
Without sounding like we have first world problems we wake up each morning grateful as hell to be where we are and also grateful we can share it with you.
Feel free to leave us a comment below we would love to hear from you 🙂
Much Love xx