Family Time and a Trip to Oz

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After a great visit with my aunts, we met up with my brother and his fiancee who are traveling in SE Asia for 3 months, in Penang for a weekend.  It was fun for us to show them around our second home, Penang and the kids of course enjoyed all the extra attention.  Steve & Audrey are backpacking and the weekend was a nice respite for them from budget guesthouses and street food.  It was also a chance for them to experience the chaos of traveling with young children. We will meet up with them again in Thailand in December, and Ipoh towards Christmas.   We stayed at a really quaint boutique hotel in the colonial district of Penang, Hotel Penaga.  Our kids are no strangers to hotel rooms and we have developed quite a routine for how we fit 5 of us into a hotel room.  We bring a fold out cot for Ella, request a crib for Gavin and Miles gets to share the bed with us.  There are challenges and opportunities of these many weekends away.  Napping can be difficult, but the kids always enjoy the bath tub, something we don’t have at our Ipoh house.

From Penang Miles and I flew out to Australia to visit my good friends Corrie & Mo, who are living in Sydney.  This was my second trip to Australia (first one was before kids in 2005) and it marked Miles’ third continent visited in 3 months (impressive I have to say!) It was really sad leaving the kids, especially Gavin who didn’t really understand what was going on.  But I was looking forward to a relaxing week with just one child.  Luckily I had arranged to have Nini watch the kids during the day and Paul would be home in the evenings.  The weather wasn’t so great in Sydney at the beginning of the week…cloudy and rainy.  Miles even had to wear a touque!  But Corrie and I enjoyed spending lots of time together and of course shopping (it was raining!)  Later in the week the weather improved and we were able to get out for some nice walks along the ocean, yummy lunches and our daily coffee shop visit.

Lessons learned:

  • watch out for sea gulls when eating fish’n’chips by the sea.  I had fish snatched right out of my hand by a ballsy sea gull, leaving me traumatized.  But if that wasn’t enough, as we were running away I had them dive bomb me for my chips too.  With my fish gone, my chips scattered on the floor we made a quick escape.  For the rest of the week, I was the only tourist ducting whenever a gull came anywhere close to me.  Although, the next time we went to the beach, I did see the same event unfold with other tourists and I felt a kinship with them.
  • Aussies don’t like to wear shoes.  It wasn’t uncommon to see an adult or child strolling down the street sans shoes?!?
  • Aussies believe strongly in reuse.  If you don’t want something, you put it out in the middle of your lawn and perhaps it will find a new home.  At the beginning of the week we walked by a lawn with multiple pairs of shoes discarded and as the week went on, a few would disappear.
  • Australians make great coffee.  If you’ve been there you know they don’t do brewed coffee, they do flat whites.  Not being a coffee drinker, I developed a hot chocolate a day habit (doesn’t help that baby weight come off).
  • You can fit 200+ diapers in your luggage.  Malaysian diapers are just not the same as Pampers, so I used the opportunity to stock up.
  • They call babies ‘bubs’ there
It was a sweet reunion with the kids as I missed them (and Paul) a lot.  I was thrown back into the crazy chaotic life we live (no more time for those leisurely hot chocolates and walks by the beach).  We are now looking forward to Paul’s parents arriving on Saturday.
In other news, as the sequel to Paul’s earlier passport drama, we now have more passport woes.  Somehow his went through the washing machine (we think Gavin might have something to do with it) which resulted in yet another call to his friend at the Canadian embassy in KL.  Yes, they are on a first name basis.
The kids are all doing really well.  Ella is really enjoying school this year.  Gavin is definitely in the terrible 2s, although he can be sweet as pie at time too.  Miles is growing up so quickly and starting giggling last week.

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