26 December- 1 January
This was the last week of our 5-and-a-half week school holiday, and it ended with the start of 2017!
Some of the family was still here at the beginning of the week, following the 16 day prayers.
Tuesday, I went with my host aunt’s family from Shah Alam to their home.
We visited the TV studio where my host uncle works, a famous national channel known as TV3.
There was an Islamic talk show program being recorded, and we were allowed to go into the studio to watch! Afterwards, we took pictures with the hosts. Seeing the inside of a TV studio— in action— was very exciting.
I spent a few days with the family— my host aunt and uncle and their two daughters. I went jogging at a nearby park with the cousins twice, which was great! They had a hockey stick, so I practiced field hockey! I was so excited since I hadn’t been able to touch a hockey stick in almost six months.
We also played badminton and the Baltimore-opoly game (Baltimore-themed Monopoly) I brought from the US.
We went to the state library, a really nice, HUGE library. There were a ton of people (and books) and there’s even a gym and a fancy outdoor seating area! I was surprised to find books that were even on American conspiracy theories.
The whole family was still vegetarian (due to the uncle’s death) so we went to a fancy Chinese vegetarian restaurant.
Friday, Ibe and I planned to go to Kuala Lumpur. She took the train from Tapah Road and met me in KL Sentral. The Shah Alam family came with me and stayed with us all day, until Ibe and I took the train home to Tapah together. It was a very nice day! Ibe and I had really wanted to see more of KL for a long time. We saw some of Little India, KL City Centre, Central Market, and KL Sentral train station/mall.
Saturday was New Year’s Eve! I spent the evening at home with some of the family, since they couldn’t do anything to celebrate due to their brother’s death (families can’t celebrate any holidays for one year after the death of a relative).
I saw some fireworks from our house, put on by distant neighbors, but the Gregorian calendar new year isn’t a particularly big deal in Malaysia outside of the big tourist cities. Each ethnicity has their own New Year—Chinese New Year, Awal Muharram for the Islamic New Year, and the Hindu calendar new year.
My 2017 began 13 hours before Baltimore, so I get an extra-long 2017! I hope that it will be another year blessed with love, happiness, adventure, health, peace, and prosperity for everyone in my life— and for the entire world!