Week 9

25 September- 2 October

An exciting week filled with the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and an amazing tour of Hindu temples in Seremban.

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival/ Moon Festival! This harvest festival celebrates the moon and involves making offerings, playing with lanterns, and eating mooncakes.  More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Autumn_Festival

I remember learning about this in my US Chinese class, so I was very excited to experience this in person.

Unfortunately, however, there were no moon cakes at this function. I think my biggest exchnage year regret will be that I didn’t eat enough moon cakes while they were available.(Since they take a great deal of effort and complicated ingredients, they are only made around the Moon Festival time.)

We played with lanterns in the street and had a very fun time. The event had a Lucky Draw raffle contest, and I won a mobile phone!

Views from my running field in Tapah town

After arriving at school to meet the bus at 3 am, we attended a school awards ceremony in a Kuala Lumpur restaurant, where we had some delicious food and took a lot of pictures (as usual.) Apparently the teachers were choosing a sort of Prom Queen and King/ beauty pageant winner equivalent for the event, and I was named Floral Fatnasy Princess! I was very surprised when my name was suddenly called onstage– with the announcement in languge I didn’t understand–  to recieve the title and the prize, a gift of picture frames.

With some of our classmates
A really cool food truck- type thing I visited with Ilaria and some members of our extended host family. The truck holds a display of fish/ meat/ vegetables on skewers, which we placed in boiling water or oil to cook in basins attached to the cart.

We said goodbye to Ilaria on Saturday.

On Sunday, Amma, two host aunts, and many friends of hers joined an all-day tour of Hindu temples in Seremban. We met the bus at 1 am and then drove to the nearby state, where our group of 40 people visited three temples during the day. Hindu temples are only open in the mornings and evenings, so in between, we visted an exciting Textile Walk where market stalls sold all sorts of Malay clothing, rugs, and other household goods. We reached the first temple after a long walk up a jungle hill, greeted by playing monkeys all along the road! 

I prayed at each of these temples (as I do at all the temples I visit) participating in Hindu rituals but also praying in my own way, since the God I believe in has no preference as to where I pray—but locations as beautiful as this are definitely a positive!

The next temple was also extrememly beautiful, but in a different way—  The statues were amazing, and the temple was decorated with all sorts of lavish offerings for the gods. We weren’t permitted to take pictures here,  but even if I had taken dozens of photos,  it wouldn’t have captured the beauty of any of these temples.

Next, we went to the textile walk, where hawkers eagerly tried to sell me a lot of things. I loved seeing all the color in the market from all the Malay-style clothes.

The third temple was– guess what!– also extrememly beautiful. Again, pictures were not permitted inside the temple, but this temple was one with beauty that photos definitely could never capture anyway. I felt like it wasn’t even worth trying to take pictures and that every person I know should come here to experience it for themselves. The energy of the temple filled me with so much gratitude for everything in my life— since quite honestly, everything in my life right now is such an incredible gift.

I felt so much appreciation for the fact that people came together to build this unquestionably, purely beautiful environment. It made me really appreciate any manmade beauty in the world– because how could people coming together to make such beauty be anything but good? I can’t adequately describe the feeling this temple left me with other than by saying that I was so filled with so much gratitude, contentment, joy, and love after being here. I felt so peaceful and connected in this temple, and it was one of my most awe-inspiring experiences so far. 

The inside of the temple was the most beautiful part (the part where we couldn’t take pictures). But even hundreds of pictures could never capture the golden, glowing, peaceful energy of the temple, which was what made it beautiful.

(Still, I discretely captured a couple of images.)

Following our temple visits, we went to I-City, where we walked around and took pictures. 
I had an amazing time on the temple tour, where my prayers left me with an amazing feeling of peace and gratitude, and I’m sure I’ll never forget this day.

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