It is currently school vacation due to the end of Ramadan, so I have a lot more time to write. Especially about the little things, which after all, are the interesting things that make the country unique! (Quick note: We are currently redoing our house and we are ALMOST done, so when we finish in a couple days I will put up a video tour of my house!)
1. Malaysia's disorder
I have mentioned this before, but I think it is time to talk about it in more detail, I believe there is no pattern or consistency to anything in Malaysia, what-so-ever. This makes it extremely difficult to adjust to the rules or Malaysians life style. Here are some examples:
1. School. Sometime school starts on time, sometime it doesn't. Sometimes it ends at 12.10, sometimes at 2.40. The class schedule is constantly changing, and the classes almost never start or end on time, and there are times when the class on the schedule isn't actually the one we are going to attend.
2. House decor. A house is almost never painted the same color all the way around. For example, the front of my house is tan and the back is lime green. This pattern continues on the inside of the house, carpet/tiles will randomly stop in the middle of the room and a completely different carpet/tile will start. Or there will be a blue wall, and a random red blotch in the middle. My theory is that when a family has to remodel or fix a part of the house, they don't make an effort to make the new addition the same as the original. It gives most houses and very interesting look.
3. Telephone numbers. There does not appear to be a constant number of digits in both cell phone and land line numbers. Nor are there specific area codes.
4. Plans. This one is the hardest ad most confusing to me. If someone tells you they are going to do something, there is about a 15% chance that it is actually what you are going to do. For example, my mom will tell me on Thursday that we are going to KL on Sunday to eat dinner. Then on Friday my sister will ask me if I am excited to go to shopping in KL tomorrow. Then on Saturday morning I will ask when we are leaving and my sister will say 4. Then at 1.30 my mom comes rushing in telling us that we are leaving in ten minutes. Then I find out, after we get there, that we are actually going to another city where my mom's family lives to help with a wedding. And we never end up going anywhere on Sunday. This is typical in Malaysia, and so I stopped trying to keep up long ago. It is also extremely common for big plans to be made at the last minute, and we have 20 minutes to prepare for an all day shopping in KL, or an overnight trip.
5. Rules. This is also a hard one, because following family rules is very important in Malaysia. My family will say that it is my host sister's turn to do the dishes, but then will approach me a few hours later and ask me why I didn't do the dishes. Or they will tell me I must wash my laundry every 2 days, but they only wash their clothes once a week. So I never know what it is that I am supposed to be doing.
The disorder can frustrating at times, but it always keeps things interesting.
2. Paleness....or lack of.
In Malaysia a lot of teenage girls do all that they can to become whiter. They use all these facial creams and special soaps to make themselves appear more pale. I even know a couple girls that put baby powder on their face when they leave the house. And I have to admit it works-they do look whiter. Well, their faces anyway. This concept always makes me laugh because I think back to how hard the girls in the US work to become tanner. From tanning beds to spray on tan to make-up. It seems to me that no matter where you go, people always think the grass in greener on the other side. I wish girls would stop using dangerous chemicals and giving themselves cancer in tanning beds and learn to accept what they have and feel beautiful in their own skin. :)
3. BUGS. I HATE the bugs in Malaysia.
I knew that Malaysia was a tropical country and that there were going to be a lot of big bugs, but I didn't prepare myself for the amount of little bugs. There are ants, little tiny ants (only about 2mm) everywhere, all the time. If you leave food on the table, you only have two minutes until it is crawling with bugs. I walked in my room the other day and there was a trail from one end to the other of hundreds of ants. HUNDREDS. Even on the wall you can see a trail of ants. Laying in bed reading you will find them all over the sheets, on your arms, hands, on the book, everywhere. To top it off, the ants can bite you and leave itchy blotches all over you. In addition to the ants there are of course big bugs, but they are much less common. There are (2 inch) cockroaches in the house sometimes, and I am grateful for the cats that like to catch them. There are also really big flying bugs that come out at night, and when you see them in the street lights you can't tell if they are the birds on insects. Lastly, there are huge moths that come out at night, at reach from 3 to 6 inches long. I don't mind these, but I know some people that would hate them. (mom) :)