We arrived mid-January and immediately felt at home in the city. I couldn’t get enough of the heat; Tyler surprisingly acclimated. Tyler couldn’t get enough of the food; I found some favorites myself. And both of us were immediately smitten with our two new animal charges. These pups were adorable and just as snuggly as I was anticipating. Our homeowner graciously took us around town in the week before she departed, showing us all her favorite malls, restaurants, and cafés. She also introduced us to an ecological nonprofit where we ended up volunteering weekly, getting our hands dirty in soil and community.
We stayed for a total of three months, a shocking quarter of our year abroad. We felt both at rest and in constant motion. I soaked up the heat radiating off the streets, driveway, houses, like a chameleon sunning myself on a giant rock. But I also took in a lot of the city from behind tinted windows, in a blessed cloud of air conditioning, as we were chaffered in the back of countless Ubers. And as we rode along, I studied the streets we zipped through.
I liked the stained cement walls, the dilapidated fences, the crumbling sidewalks. And I especially liked how the jungle seemed to be fighting back against the encroaching civilization of its land. Green fingers stretching and creeping over any corner of construction they could claim. Kuala Lumpur was a place in which I felt deeply at home, despite the many daily occurrences that reminded me there was so much foreign here.
But what made the wildness of the place even more perfect was the stark contrast of development and prestige everywhere we went. I can’t deny it: a high-end mall, with all its glitz and glamour, is exactly where I want to stroll on a bored Tuesday afternoon. We may have held off on almost all frivolous purchases this year, but the consumerism of my first-world, materialistic home country has me trained for routine window shopping.
We also decided to plow our way back into Christianity by committing to regular church attendance. While stepping away from that world for several months made many things clear to us, it was time for us to find our people again. The things that didn’t sit right or didn’t add up, still existed in our minds, but we were able to confirm what we have always known. There is a special kind of community that can be found in a church. We hit gold on our third try and ended up attending the same place for about two and half months. Over the ten weeks of small group and ten-plus weeks of Sunday services, we found an outlet for our lonely souls. Many meals shared and adventures had with these new friends.
After getting away for a few days to a town on the coast, we spent one last wonderful weekend in Kuala Lumpur before flying out the first week of April. We were ready to re-embark on our trip after having been in one house for so long, but we were sad to go. Malaysia will always hold court in a secret corner of my sunshine-loving, banana-leaf-eating, snazzy-mall-shopping heart.
Pups- the center of our KL universe
Food- the best part of life in KL
^^^ pretty much sums it up
^^^ banana leaf
^^^ iced chocolates became my favorite drink
^^^ a birthday treat
Nature- in our neighborhood, outside the city, at the nursery
Community- adventures with friends and family
^^^ my cousin, husband, and son came through while we were there
^^^ small group
^^^ meeting a blogger friend IRL (in real life)!!