Hello all,

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted due to the fact that I’ve either:

1. Been disconnected from wifi

2. Been busy

3. Been drunk

4. Been a lazy piece of sh*t

But hey, I’m in Australia relaxing and I don’t think any of you care that much anyway.

BUT now that I’ve waited so long to post, I have a lot to write about, which seems daunting and turns me into an even bigger procrastinating lazy piece of sh*t, so I will do this right now and get it done. I apologize if this is short.

I had written a draft titled “The 5 cool happenings of the past 10 days” and that was 2 weeks ago, so I’ll just continue that list (which is in order of occurrence and not level of coolness. They’re all pretty cool and I wouldn’t be able to rank them).

1. I became certified to teach English! WOOT WOOT

2. I had my first hostel experience (that was AWHILE ago now and I’ve stayed in numerous hostels since then. It’s a cool experience and such a great/easy way to meet people.) This was in Georgetown. I’m glad I had the chance to stay right in the city my last few days in Penang.

3. I relocated to KL for about a week and stayed with the loveliest woman, Cheryl. She’s a photographer & I had the chance to observe and help her prepare for her upcoming exhibit. I also had the chance to explore the city with her. I explored all over downtown, went to Chinatown, and thankfully made it out to the Batu Caves on my second last day. We also headed out to Pulau Carey, which I’ll talk about in Point 4.

4. I celebrated Ari Muyang at Kg Sungai Bumbun in Pulau Carey (ok I lied, this one was the coolest). Ari Muyang is Ancestor’s Day for the Indigenous groups: the Temuan and the Mah Meri. It’s celebrated at different times for different groups, but it’s the biggest holiday for these communities. These groups believe that their ancestors are still among them in spirit, and that they are able to communicate with them. There is much prayer and celebration. Each family sets up an altar for their ancestors outside of their homes. Private ceremonies are held at dusk, and prayers and offerings are presented to deceased family members.

The public joins later on in the morning, to observe the celebrations and prayer. This takes place at the spirit hut, which houses Muyang Gadeng, the female guardian spirit of the Sg Mata hamlet. Each family gives food offerings to her, and individuals receive and give blessings by putting bedak (a rice based solution that looks like white paint) on the face and hands. The spirits come alive through specific community members going into a trans. The spirits act through them. There are many dances and traditional music is played. It was such a great time.

The preparation that goes into this event is wild, and they make all of the decorations and outfits themselves. Part of the reason I think this was the coolest for me is because Cheryl and I went to Puala Carey a couple days before the ceremony, because she wanted to take some shots ahead of time and get acquainted. I was able to see firsthand all of the preparation, and meet some of the Indigenous people there (we didn’t understand each other but Cheryl did some translating). They are poor people who see the world completely differently than I do which was fascinating! They were curious about Canada, so they asked me about two things: the trees there, and the Indigenous groups there. Cheryl and I showed them pictures of traditional Native American dress, and they were blown away. They said it was very nice. We were also able to sit with the women while they were preparing, and observe their dance rehearsal. I didn’t feel the need to budge to the front of the crowd during the ceremony. I felt like a VIP who had already been able to see the show.

I met the nicest woman, Rosiah. She was making a cute little bird sitting on a nest and I thought to myself “I wish I had one of those to take home.” A couple minutes after, Rosiah said to Cheryl that she was making me one because her ancestors told her that she should. It’s so cute!

5. I said goodbye to Malaysia. It’s been a crazy interesting 2 months and I feel really lucky to have had the chance to experience this country. I’ve seen beautiful places and people, along with some completely new (to me) ways of living that provoked new thoughts I’ve never thought before.

6. I flew to Australia! I put the gin back in Gina and got a little belligerent. I ate a burger. I wore minimal clothing. I loved Malaysia, but after two months away, being here definitely helps with some growing homesickness. I’m only here for two weeks so I’m making the most of it. I spent a few days touring around Sydney then went down the coast to the beach! I stayed in Huskisson and Wollongong. It’s been great to spend some time by the water and out of the city. Today I came back to Sydney but I’m staying right at Bondi Beach (further from the city central), just across from the water. To me, the night life here looks better than downtown Sydney. BUT I’m sick, so I’m in bed. I go to Melbourne tomorrow and I’m pretty excited because everyone in Sydney says it’s way more fun.

I will give Sydney credit because it’s such a beautiful city! And it’s so clean. And they have lots of great little restaurants, cafes, and bars. I’ve really enjoyed my time here

7. I finished 3 whole seasons of Sons of Anarchy. This show is so good I have no words.

I’ll try to write more often but there isn’t too much to say at the moment. How about I post pictures instead, then write my next post about Singapore in 2–3 weeks? Deal.

To my family, I miss you so much and wish you could be here with me. I know you’d love it here.

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