2018 ended as soon as it started. As I sit here, already in the second month of 2019, I sometimes like to look back at my old photos from last year and relive memorable moments. I travelled a lot, I thought, but that wasn’t unexpected.
As I scroll down more and more, I come to realise something. This year was the year I’ve travelled with my family the most, which is surprising because we have never travelled as a whole family. Instead, a few of us would plan and meet up somewhere around the globe. The others would occasionally look on with jealousy, but deep down we’re all happy we’re still connected in a way, even though we’re not part of the trips, and that’s what matters the most. But then again, it’s easy for me to say that given that I was involved in most of the excursions eheh. In fact, I have travelled with each family member (all 7 of them!) somewhere outside of Malaysia at some point in the whole of 2018, consolidating us as a truly global family.
London, Southampton, Portsmouth – ft. Mama and Mae – June
Let’s start off with London, which is cheating because, uh, I sort of live here for the time being? But yeah, Mama came over to give me moral support for my excruciatingly long exam period. My brother who’s studying in France, Nukman (Mae) joined us as well. Mae loves coming to London (though he would vehemently deny it!) because, let’s face it, it’s the best city in the world. From geeking out to the blue police box in Earl’s Court, to enjoying the experience of attending lower league matches on the outskirts of London, he’s actually a closet Anglophile.
I dragged them to Tottenham to witness the work-in-progress of soon-to-be the best stadium in London (which, unfortunately, is still under construction as of today)
A few days later, we did a day trip to Southampton and Portsmouth in search of more Summer goodness and a whiff of the sea breeze.
Nagoya, Japan – ft. Mama and Kak Nuni (+ Bok and Amelea) – September
After interning for ~8 weeks over the Summer break, it’s time for some deserved vacation for me, just before returning to London. Coincidentally, my sister, Nuraini (Kak Nuni), was graduating from Nagoya University, so my mum and I used this as an excuse to travel to beautiful Japan, a favourite destination of ours. Dad(Abah) and Mama basically travel to Japan annually.
We managed to squeeze in some tourist actions with Kak Nuni, making it the first time us ladies of the family had a chance to enjoy a bonding (international) trip together without the boys. But then again, my brother Nubli (Abg Bok) did make an exhausting journey south from Tokyo to meet us for a mini reunion, though only for a day.
Abg Bok and Kak Nuni are my two eldest siblings but even with our combined age of 88, we still managed to release our inner child when we visited various toy shops dotted around Nagoya, particularly the toy section of BIC Camera and the ever so charming Pokemon Center.
Northern Germany – ft. Pih and Liyana – October
Barely 3 days after I returned home from Japan, it’s already time for me to fly back to London. My brother and his wife were already on their Northern Germany trip, so I figured why not join them since they’re already so near? People who know my wanderlust self knows I would never pass up an opportunity to travel!
We spent most of our time on the road, admiring the Northern Germany landscape as we passed by wind turbine after wind turbine. It got boring pretty quickly, but the mission was to cover as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible (so that we can brag to Abah), so it was pretty rewarding in the end. Let’s be honest here, we love it when we’ve been to places Abah has never been to, bonus points if they’re UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As the ‘master’ of travels and the man who is largely responsible for our travelling mania DNA, Abah has been to almost all the places we’ve only started to discover now as rookie travellers, so it’s always good fun to ‘win’ against the master.
Thank you Pih and Liyana for letting me join in the Northern Germany trip! Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the three of us, but I do have some photos of them. 🙂
Seattle, USA – ft. Abg Yi – December
As a competent engineer of his company, Abg Yi was required to travel to the other side of the world for work, even if it meant leaving his family behind temporarily. Living alone for a month with mostly takeout food, he was understandably feeling down. I joked about going to Seattle to visit him and tour around the hipster city, but it somehow turned out to be a reality when I realised that United Airlines were having a sale over the Christmas period (thank you Pih for finding the tickets in the first place!)
Though I had to make the long and tiring journey that stretches London -> Amsterdam -> Chicago -> Seattle and then Seattle -> Houston -> Amsterdam -> London for the return trip, it was worth it if it meant cheering up my brother just a little bit. Also, I’ve always wanted to visit the US given that, a) I already possess a 10-year US visa which is still valid until 2023 and b) being in London, I am already half-way there from Malaysia anyway.
Also, he had a car for work, so I had a rare opportunity to go anywhere I wanted in and around Seattle, without having to worry about transportation. Thank you Abg Yi for driving me around Seattle and even all the way down to Portland!
Copenhagen, Denmark – ft. Mama, Abah, Mae, Abg Bok and Amelea
This trip was originally planned by Abg Bok who wanted to visit Copenhagen, a city he holds dearly in his heart, again to spend New Year with his youngest sister and brother, me and Mae (who are studying in Europe). But Abah got jealous and wanted to join in as well, so here we are.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in central Copenhagen with all the free-for-all fireworks was definitely surreal and a bit mental and it’s one of those things where I’m glad I did it but I’d probably never, ever want to experience again.
Aaaaand that’s the end of it!
Admittedly, I have conflicting feelings about this. On one hand, it had been fun travelling around the world, in a quest to visit my oh so distant family members and experiencing new culture and cities along the way. On the other, I can’t deny that I envy those who have the luxury to spend time with their family members whenever they like. Whenever I see people complaining about not having a ‘complete’ family during Eid celebrations, all I can do is chuckle, because in my case, I haven’t had a full family reunion for almost 8 years, let alone during Eid.
But then again, I came to realise that, just like everything in life (and in circuit designing), there are always trade offs. There’s no such thing as a perfect solution, and there definitely is no such thing as a perfect family. And, as a closing to this actually-not-meant-to-be-long long post about my family, let me end it with a cliche statement: Although we may be far apart, family is always close at heart.
**작가님 오늘도 수고하셨어요! 피곤하고 잠도 못 자는데 이렇게 완벽한 블로그를 쓸 수 있었어서 너무 잘했다! 자자 ㅎㅎㅎ**