A Travellerspoint blog

Desaru

A fun weekend

sunny 90 °F

Ostrich Egg

Ostrich Egg

Interesting creatures

Interesting creatures

Ostriches

Ostriches

Ostrich Eggs

Ostrich Eggs

Ostrich eggs

Ostrich eggs

Ostrich Burger

Ostrich Burger

Feeding time

Feeding time

Desaru Beach

Desaru Beach

Desaru Beach

Desaru Beach

Desaru Beach

Desaru Beach

The beach at the Lotus Hotel

The beach at the Lotus Hotel

Lotus Hotel

Lotus Hotel

Bananas

Bananas

Fruit farm

Fruit farm

IMG_4040

IMG_4040

IMG_4041

IMG_4041

Only about an hours drive from my apartment is a beautiful beach resort. We had a 3 day weekend and I've been wanting to get away to see this area. I traveled with a teacher from school, Tuyen. Great traveling companion.

Driving here is really scary, but that is another post. With my new car I thought it would try the drive. It was a beautiful drive with green palm trees on either side. We crossed a really cool bridge at one point. The traffic wasn't too bad, although I don't think that there are any traffic rules followed.

We stopped at an ostrich farm. I was able to stand on ostrich eggs to show how strong they are. An ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs. Ostrich eggs are much lower in cholesterol than chicken eggs, and a little lower in saturated fat, making them a healthier choice. Just a couple of facts. I found it rather gross that the birds would peck each other until they were mostly naked.

I tried a ostrich burger, and it was tender and tasty. Then it was on to the Lotus Resort.

The Lotus was huge. So big that they have shuttles taking you from one side to the other. We checked in and went to the waterpark. We slid down the slides and swam in the pool. I was the only "white" person there. And I stuck out! I was the least dressed person there. So many women wearing burkas, and most the men wore shirts. My swimming suit was modest, according to most suits. But, wow did I get some stares.

We ate dinner that night at a buffet. We spent the night in a nice hotel room, think Motel 6. But air conditioning, and a good bed. In fact it was the first night I actually slept since I arrived in Malaysia. I don't know why. I don't understand why, cause when I got back to my apartment Saturday night, I was back to not sleeping.

The next day we had a buffet breakfast, not much different than the dinner. LOL The asian way.....same food all the time.
We walked on the beach, I had a wonderful massage at the spa, and then we had lunch. Tuyen tried parasailing. I had done that in Cancun and that was enough for me.

On the way back home, we stopped at a fruit farm for a tour and some tastes of fruits. I'm trying to be positive, but I have only found mangos here to be tasty. I cover most the other fruit with peanut butter to kill the taste. I bought a bunch of pears and had to cook them up with brown sugar to make them taste decent.

On the drive home the air conditioning in the car went out...and that wasn't pleasant. When we passed through the toll booth my card wouldn't work and the cars were backed up, and I lost it. Cried a lot, and luckily Tuyen understood, as she had a cry last week. The stress at school is incredible and it was nice to have a break from it this weekend.

Posted by dianeski4 04:09 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Singapore revisited!

Western Fix!

sunny 85 °F

It is like being in a totally different world when you cross over into Singapore. A whole new world!

It is totally amazing that Singapore is only about 12 miles away, but it can take so long to get there. Today I caught a ride with Carol and Frank, new friends that live in the neighborhood. They are from England. Carol has very graciously come to our school to volunteer in the classrooms. I couldn't do without her! She has done so much to help me, and it's so appreciated. They have been here for 2 years and have one left. Frank is a doctor and is teaching here. Lovely couple. Anyway, they were going into Singapore and invited me to ride along. I want to learn how to drive it myself, so this was a perfect opportunity to watch it.

To get to the border is only about 10 minutes, but the actually crossing over and getting passports stamped is what takes the time. Driving is much quicker than taking public transportation that is for sure. But it also depends on the time. We were lucky there wasn't much traffic. The lines coming from Singapore to Malaysia were backed way up, and would have taken a couple of hours in the car.

We stopped at IKEA!!!! And I found some treasures. Singapore is known as a super expensive city, but I found the prices to be reasonable. I loaded up a cart and Carol and Frank will bring it to me after they stay in Singapore for the weekend. We even had a hot dog, drink and ice-cream there.

We went downtown after to the riverfront area and walked around for a bit. They told me to a good bookstore, and a mall with some western food. We split up and I found a block of cheddar cheese and a jar of pickles, both rather expensive, but I'm going to enjoy them. I even had a yummy crepe.

Then is was time for the adventure home. I found the MRT, (rail system), bought card that is good for 3 years, (LOL, not staying that long), and found the correct route. MRT to the border, and then on a bus for 15 minutes to the Singapore crossing, lined up for the passport check, then on another bus to the Malaysian checkpoint, and another line to get the passport stamped again. Finally onto another bus that dropped me near my house at East LaDang, and a short walk home.

People here do not line up well. They cut in line, and I'm not very patient with it. In fact when a lady did it while waiting for the bus, I cut back in front of her. I think I'm a little short tempered when I'm tired. I talked to her in line while waiting and understood why. She crosses everyday and it takes her at least 2-3 hours each way. She works her 8 hour job and then comes home to her children. Why is it so hard for so many. I constantly want to remember to be grateful for the many blessings I have.

It was a good day, and so nice to have my western fix!
Just me

Just me

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

River Walk

River Walk

Hotel

Hotel

Fast Food!

Fast Food!

IMG_3790

IMG_3790

Posted by dianeski4 06:09 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Sunday

My spiritual uplift for the week!

overcast 81 °F

IMG_3517.jpgIMG_3516.jpg90_IMG_3515.jpg

I have already fallen in love with my Branch in Malaysia. I love my ward at home, but I really wasn't needed there. Here I have been welcomed in and was given a calling in the primary the second week. And I was asked to teach Relief Society and play the piano in Relief Society. We are small with only about 30-40 attending, but the spirit is strong. We have 2 sets of young Elders, and a missionary couple just came two weeks ago. He told how he and his wife have wanted to serve a mission, but things kept happening. They finally put in their papers at age 70 and figured they would be called to a easy place. But they got the 2 year call to Malaysia. She said she didn't even know where it was. LOL Join the club. They are excited to be here, and I already love them.

Elder Alvin F. Meredith III, Sixth Quorum of the Seventy came to our meeting. I didn't even know we had these callings. http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/62265/New-Area-Seventies.html
He spoke of our branch being pioneers here in JB. And he believes that someday there will be wards and stakes here. Lot's of work to get there, but I hope that it happens.

There is also another American attending the branch. He is working nearby, and isn't with his family. He teaches the English Gospel Doctrine class. The rest are Malaysian and Chinese. Wonderful people.

Church is in several languages. They have headphones and when it's a language someone doesn't understand they can put on the headphones and the elders translate.

Father forgive me when I whine. I have so much to be thankful for. Today I took a sister to church who needed a ride. She lives close to me. Her name is Venus. She is 39. And I will take her twice a month. She is a maid, nanny, housekeeper, cook. She is from the Philippines. She has 4 children ranging in ages 13-4 and a husband. Things are so desperate there she has taken a job here for a Chinese family. She works everyday and they are being generous to give her 2 Sunday's off a month to attend church. She shares a room with the 86 year old grandma which she also cares for along with a 7 and one year old. She saw her family in February and her contract ends in July. She is trying to save money so she can go home and start a business. 450$ a month for working full time everyday. No day off. My heart aches for her and for all those in this same situation. When we complain about our lives, remember Venus.

I enjoyed the church meeting today. It was fast and testimony meeting. I bore my testimony and started by saying that I get up everyday and want to go home. (And I do feel that way morning, noon, and night) But I made the commitment to be here in Malaysia and I need to be happy and strong. I said I also want to go home someday to Heavenly Father, and to do that I need to be like the scripture in Mosiah 5:15 “Therefore I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, The Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all.” I am trying to be happy and serve others. I am trying to be strong here, and find a way to help others. Sometimes it's just one hour at a time....and I will remember Venus.

Posted by dianeski4 01:26 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Malaysia

Trying to adjust!

sunny

After 24+ hours of traveling I finally made it to Malaysia. I have to say, it's been an adjustment and huge learning curve every since. After turning down a job in Turkey because of safety concerns, I took the job here hoping to have adventures and meet new friends. I've had some of both, and yet, there has been some very difficult days.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to just head to the airport and leave it all behind, no matter what I spent to get here. It’s a brand new school. There are no resources. Very few books in the classroom and I have to create everything. It’s like totally starting over. I’m not prepared for this. Then there is trying to settle in to the apartment and having to buy everything for that. And the grocery stores are horrible. I’m about to the point that I will just eat out everyday. Today I went to the store and couldn’t get a shopping cart without having to put in a coin, and they sent me to get a rewards card that took getting my passport out. I finally told them forget it. I don’t want a card. I did figure out the grocery cart thing, and picked up some items. Where is Costco?

Ran to the apartment and put in a wash, at least I have a washing machine and tried to make the bed with the new sheet the owners got, only to find it didn’t fit the bed. They don’t have top sheets here. I waited for the clothes to wash and hung them to dry and came back to the hotel. I'm staying the whole week they gave me because I won't have internet at the apartment for several days.

It’s hot. I’m covered in mosquito bites that look like they are getting infected. I didn’t have lunch cause I could’t stand the thought of what they cooked....and the hygiene.

The principal came in and saw me crying, said to take it easy because I have just gone thru tons of high stressors in life. Leaving family and friends, moving to a new and strange country. new apartment, new food, new car, new money system, weather, new job, totally new environment.
Hmmmmm! It's his first year here too! So I'm sure he is having a rough time of it also. He kept coming in and checking on me during the day. Bet he wishes he didn’t hire me. I wish he didn’t. Then the other day when signing my contract I found out about the 28% tax. That’s 1/4 of my salary gone. And I’m not sleeping. IMG_3508

IMG_3508

IMG_3503

IMG_3503

IMG_3502

IMG_3502

IMG_3423

IMG_3423

IMG_3405

IMG_3405

Ok, that was a few days ago, and things are somewhat better. I know I have to be patient and give it time...I made it through the first week of school. I have had to really come down on the kids because they are really energetic. I've got 16 kids with 8 different nationalities. 5 girls and the rest are boys. No wonder there is behavior! Geez!

I tried to go to church and my google maps was all messed up. Drove around for 1.5 hours and my phone battery was dying so I had to get home before it died or I would have been totally lost. I called the branch president's wife and she said they were meeting again in the afternoon so I tried again. Made it this time. Only 10 people in attendance. It was just and hour and half meeting. But it was good to make it. I already got a calling. LOL 1st counselor in the primary. LOL There aren’t many kids because school is on Sunday so the kids have to miss most of church. I’m not in Utah anymore, where you aren't really needed. I’m needed here. I hope that I can make a difference.

We had a staff party on Friday night at the principal's house. It was really nice to talk to everyone from the school and get to know people without talking shop. We have teachers from the UK, New Zealand, the US, China, Malaysia. One couple that teaches art and science have been living on a boat for 3 years and traveling the world. They are taking a break and teaching for a bit. Interesting stories.

It's been cooler today. It started raining with lots of thunder and lightning and cooled things down. The storms here are really something. The other night I thought a war had started because it sounded like bombs going off, but it was just the storm.

Posted by dianeski4 05:04 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Cochabamba Weekend

I should have traveled here more often!

sunny 80 °F

I don’t know why I didn’t travel to Cochabamba more frequently while living in Bolivia. It’s a wonderful city, with mountains that remind me of Utah, wonderful weather without the heat and humidity of Santa Cruz, cheap prices and cheap taxis. And most importantly the only LDS Temple in Bolivia.

This is the hometown of the Choquevillca family. Felix, Teresa, Mauro and Elias. One other son is on a mission and will be home in December. We have been wanting to go there together for a while, and it finally happened. They built a beautiful second home there. It’s finished but not furnished yet. It’s actually in El Carmen which is a small city next to Coch. They were to pick me up at 6 on Saturday morning, but didn’t show up until 6:45. With a drive time to the airport of 30 minutes and the flight was at 7:30, needless to say, we didn’t make the flight. There wasn’t any anger. They just booked another flight a couple of hours later.

Right when we got into Coch, we caught a taxi and headed to the LDS Temple. We had to rush as there was a session beginning 15 minutes after we got there. We barely made it in. It was so wonderful to be there. This temple is set on a hill overlooking the city and is so peaceful and beautiful. I so loved being there. I should have been making the effort to go more often. It might have made a difference in how I felt about staying in Bolivia. Anyway. It was wonderful being there.

After we headed to a restaurant for yummy traditional Bolivian food. Charqe is a traditional dish where they take beef and dry it like jerky and serve it with corn, eggs, and potatoes. I chose instead to have another dish with chunks of beef, eggs, freeze dried potatoes.

We caught another taxi and headed for El Carmen, about 20 minutes away. The house they built is very beautiful 3 floors. 6 bedrooms, several bathrooms. Empty. The missionaries were living there for a while, but it stands empty now. Teresa’s mom lives nearby and keeps an eye on it, and they told me the town is pretty safe, that if people break in, they are killed. That’s what they say. Mauro said don’t go breaking into any houses there. LOL

We hung out at the house for a bit. Mauro’s cousin Felipe came over. They carried some beds upstairs for us to sleep on. We then took a taxi back into town and went to a huge market to go shopping. Tons of little shops selling everything. They got some jackets. And then it was more food! Street food. Fried chicken with fries and rice. I couldn’t believe we were eating again. But, the chicken looked so good. I gave the rice and fries to a mother sitting across from me who was feeding herself and the baby from one plate. After thinking we would finally head home for some rest we headed over to Felix’s brothers house for late night visiting.
His brother is a mechanic, therefore they put the motorcycles that he’s working on in the living room. There are 3 adult children, the mom and dad and the 95 year old grandpa living in a one story house with 3 bedrooms and one bathroom. They also have a Tienda, a small 7-11 type store that they run out of the garage.

Sunday church started at 10 am. They were late….again, so I left with Mauro and we ended up missing the sacrament. However, his cousin, one that we saw the night before spoke. And of course, Mauro, the good kid he is translated. The ward was huge. There were over 100 people there. And there are 2 wards that meet in the building. The church is strong here. And they had a piano and a piano player.
After church we headed for the plaza where we had more traditional food. Teresa and Felix had the sausage dinner and Mauro and I had pork soup with Chuno, freeze dried potatoes. Followed by ice cream, and then we had to try this yummy looking thing that looked like whipped cream on top of jello. It was actually whipped egg whites with lemon on Jello. I decided after a couple of bites that eating raw eggs was probably not the best idea. LOL
We headed back to his brother’s house where they fed us dinner. Yes, more food. Needless to say, I couldn’t eat another bite. Well….I had to eat a little to be polite.

We spent several hours there and then headed for the airport. When we got there Teresa realized that she lost her wallet somewhere. They were able to print out a copy of her passport so she could travel. So sad that this happened. She had all her ID in there. We made it home after a wonderful trip.

I want to mention a few feelings I have about the Choquevillca family, who have become my dearest friends. I have written about them before, but here are some feelings I have today.

During the last 10 days, while waiting to leave Boliva, I have been able to spend more time with them. Cooking, going to parties, and traveling this weekend to Cochabamba, where Feliz and Teresa grew up, met, fell in love, married and lived for many years. Here are a couple of examples of the love and respect they have for each other. Several months ago Teresa was carrying several thousand dollars in cash for their business. She set it down while using the bathroom and it was stolen. No anger from Felix. The other day Teresa and I were going to pick up Elias after school and she forgot to open the garage door. She backed up into it. Luckily, no harm was done. Because of a really horrible marriage where every time I made a mistake, or an accident happened, I was treated with anger and hatred that went on for hours, days, or even months. I paid dearly for spilling paint or not painting perfectly, getting pregnant, punch tipping over in the car, small accidents where the car got scratched, the kids playing on the grass and “wearing it out”, you name it, and on and on. I was expecting at least some anger or frustration from Felix, her husband. Not a speck of anger was shown. In fact he was loving and kind. In the airport tonight while checking in, Teresa realized she had lost her wallet with everything in it. All her ID, green card, credit cards, etc. And did Felix show any kind of anger? Nope! Not one bit. No frustration or unkindness. And the boys were also kind to her. Mauro went upstairs and was able to print out a copy of her passport so she could get on the plane. On the plane Felix put his arm around her to comfort her, and although I don’t speak Spanish and don’t understand what was said, there was no raised voices or anger. I thought about this experience on the way home and cried tears of sadness that for 35 years I was so afraid to make a mistake, and that I paid so deeply for being human. That if something happened my first thought was that my ex would be angry and I would pay for it. I was worried every night when he came home from work, wondering what kind of mood he was in, and what I would be in trouble for. If I have a next relationship and marriage, this is the kind of man I will be looking for. I have worked hard myself, not to get angry over small things. I’m not perfect, and I do get frustrated over things, but I’m working on it. Life is too short to live in anger.

IMG_8782.jpgIMG_8779.jpgIMG_8776.jpgIMG_8768.jpgIMG_8784.jpgIMG_8786.jpgIMG_8789.jpgIMG_8795.jpgIMG_8796.jpgIMG_8797.jpgIMG_8799.jpgIMG_8814.jpgIMG_8815.jpgIMG_8818.jpgIMG_8825.jpgIMG_8833.jpg

Posted by dianeski4 12:17 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

(Entries 41 - 45 of 121) « Page .. 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 12 13 14 .. »