Now that school is on holiday, I am full time at Cheshire Home. I'm loving it and am thankful to get the chance to grow deeper in this community over the next month. I feel like I am going through another wave of newness. When I first got to KK and began my jobs, there were so many new people and experiences! Now, being at Cheshire more, I am having more new experiences all over again! When we first arrived, we were encouraged to say "Yes!" to invitations and experiences that came our way. I'm finding again, that there are so many opportunities to say "Yes!"
Want to come to a Malay wedding in 2 weeks? Absolutely.
Want to go to my kampung (village)? Yes, yes I do.
Want to go to help with ______? Happy to!
So you get the picture. Being in this place more is creating more opportunities to deepen relationships and get me more connected with culture, language, and people. A man at Cheshire has asked me a few times if I can get dinner after work. Unfortunately, each time he has asked, I have had other commitments for the night. Tonight though, I was free. After going running at the sports complex (another new habit of this month) I came back to learn that we would be going to his sister's house, that she had dinner ready for us. I was thinking just stopping to eat on the way home, but this sounded fabulous! *Another new piece to this month has been my increased use of Malay. My kindergarten is Chinese speaking, so I really have only been using some Malay 4 days a week for a few hours, not really long enough for much progress to be made. But now this month I'm around Malay all the time. Am I improving? Slowly. I have high hopes ;)* We got in the car and over the course of a 30 minute drive, I felt pretty pleased with how the conversation was going. Sure, there were holes in my Malay, both speaking and understanding, but I felt that I knew surprisingly more than I thought. We arrived to the house and were greeted by his sister and her 4 children. We sat down to eat and out of the refrigerator came.... DURIAN. I should have seen this coming. I felt a weirdly large number of people asked me today if I have had durian yet. Definitely God saying, "Get ready, sister, it's coming for you!" The box opened and the smell I have smelled countless times on the streets of KK hit my nose. "Makan durian, Sarah!" This was it, no cameras, no videos. Just me, the family, and the durian... this was real life. I took the smallest piece out of the box, and took a bite. It tasted like a creamy onion. I kept eating away at this little piece, but I finally had to say no more. Will I eat it again? Probably not. Am I glad I tried it? Absolutely.
Also on the menu was durian fish, which really wasn't bad, fish curry, vegetables, guava, and rice (of course). We talked and I was invited to come back again, and to go to their kampung sometime! That was some serious hospitality.
While I kind of feel like I'm behind the times here, just now having this experience 4 months into my year, I'm reminded that relationships take time. I wasn't going to be immediately connected overnight, or even over the first couple months. I'm thankful to be here long enough to build relationships and to continue having new experiences!
If you've ever watched Golden Girls and seen the episode where Sophia talks about not being able to eat certain foods because "they repeat on her", I think durian goes on that list. The after taste, it's something. Going to sleep with tastes and smells of durian still hanging out. Yay for trying new things!