Christmas is a whole other world in many ways in tropical Asia when the weather feels more like July and we are usually the only Caucasian faces in a sea of people. Christmas shopping at the malls here is a bit surreal as they are bigger than the ones in Silicon Valley, the decorations are slightly odd and I had the feeling that we were the only ones who grew up with and really understood the carols being played.
Christmas is not really celebrated much by the three cultures that make up Malaysia ( Chinese, Malay, and Indian so mostly Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism dominate).That said, it's been very festive and fun. Even I, who usually hates malls with a passion, finds them mostly sweet in Penang, as we tend to go weekly for the super cheap movies. I have even fallen for those odd cheap massage chairs that they love here in Asia.
There are some Christians also of course and we had no problem finding a Christmas tree, decorations, lights and a Christmas stocking. It can all be packed back into a small box so we can leave them with neighbors for next year when we leave in May. You can see Mozart posing by our tree in her brand new Mandarin school PE uniform with Chinese characters on the side. She has her 40 books now for her Mandarin school and has been fitted for her regular uniforms & it's being embroidered with her Chinese name (they had nothing in her size because she is the youngest and smallest in the high school since she just turned 10 and still wears a kids size 6).
The school year starts here on January third, so we will get her uniforms when we go to orientation on December 31st. We are thrilled that the school bus van will pick her up and bring her home directly to and from our door. We are working hard now on immersing her as much as possible daily, via both a private tutor & after school program, so that she will get a good start when school begins. She proudly initiated her first conversation yesterday with a Mandarin-only speaking playmate & has been plowing through books by writing characters repeatedly.
I spent the last week writing a very long and detailed post all about wintering in Malaysia and our home here, but it was lost by some weird glitch in Typepad, so I will have to redo it again soon, probably after the new year now. I wanted to at least wish you all a Happy Holiday season and share a little bit about how we are doing it this year.
Since we are into our 5th year of non-stop travel, we've written quite a bit about Christmas abroad and wanted to share a few of those with you as well, in case you missed them.
We've been use to warm, sunny Med Decembers in both Spain and California, but this tropical one is new to us and we love the tranquil, cool sea breezes, the sunrise and sunsets here and temperatures always in the 75 to 85 F range. It feels odd to read about all the crazy weather back home in California or Europe. I find it hard to focus on the reality that it is December, but Mozart has been perfectly happy to eat her chocolate advent calendar and count down the days totally oblivious to the weather.
We had fun putting up our little tree together whilst playing Christmas carols on our laptops and the twinking lights at night makes us smile and remember the season.
"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other" Burton Hills
We love Christmas where ever we are. We are grateful to have each other, we are grateful to have amazing family that we can keep in touch with no matter where we are. ( I loved talking to my mom in California and neice and her 5 year old son in Miami this morning over free webcam calls). We are really grateful that my mother will come to stay with us for a while in January. We are grateful for wonderful old friends and new friends and all of you amazing folks from around the world who come along with us on our journey through our blog. Thank you!
"Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." Dale Evans
Whatever and how ever you celebrate, we wish you a Merry Christmas in the biggest sense of that word. Let's make it a magical Christmas Day every day in our hearts, celebrating the magnificent love and beauty all around us.