I first heard of Malaysia as a 12 year old girl living deep in the heart of Africa. British friends spoke about this unheard of country and the years they spent living in its capital and I never forgot.
It always makes me smile how things from one's childhood re-appear in adulthood. Here I was heading to Malaysia myself!
The church we visited in Singapore hosts a family conference each year in June. Everyone decamps to Malaysia where it is easy to get a reasonably priced facility for everyone. After a 2-hour taxi ride (which included long waits at the border) we arrived at the Le Grandeur Palm Resort. All I could think about was how similar it all looked to Uganda!
Since Michael was the speaker for the week we were upgraded to special rooms (thank you!) which included several sitting areas and an upstairs bedroom.
We arrived a day before the rest of the church so we had a chance to explore.
It turns out there were three other Singapore church groups having their family conferences the same week! How fun is that?!
I loved this more traditional building, and of course I love the palm trees. If it weren't for the ferocious heat and humidity I would have stayed outside for hours.
And the golf course! Where was Rachel when I needed her?! This is the course I want to be riding around on watching her during high school golf this fall.
The resort had plenty of pools -- and they all looked so beautiful.
More palm trees -- there are so many varieties.
The open air seating looked so inviting (again, if only the heat were not so bad).
Over and over again my mind turned to memories of a trip to Mombasa, Kenya when I was young. There were so many similarities, even with some of the food.
The food was so different and fun to experience! So many desserts I could eat! This one was made with coconut milk and tapioca "noodles".
At each meal the organizers made sure I had plenty of food I could eat. At lunch and dinner these bento boxes arrived for me.
Here's another lunch (or was it breakfast?). They both were similar.....
Another dessert based on coconut milk with black glutinous rice. Delicious! I need to make my own here sometime. On the side is a Malay dessert -- I think that one was made with coconut milk as well.
I had a few afternoons to myself throughout the week as Michael spent time preparing for his talks. It gave me the chance to paint, journal, and read.
I even managed to glean little bits and pieces for afternoon tea in my room.
Here's another bento box filled with dinner.
And another sweet dessert soup -- this one made with red beans.
Michael worked hard delivering 6 hour-long talks over the course of the week (which was really about three days).
Another round of Malay desserts -- many based on coconut milk or tapioca or glutinous rice.
This was my painting by the pool afternoon (in the oppressive heat).
And another tea time in my room.
We did have rain and that helped the heat for an hour or two. The rain was heavy and came up quickly. It was always beautiful afterwards.
It was wonderful to have the time to spend working on my painting and journaling. That doesn't happen as regularly as I'd like in "real life."
My last breakfast in Malaysia. I loved all these savory dishes for breakfast!!! If only I could have them in my fridge each morning. There was soup, and curry, and see that pile in the top righthand corner? Those are super tiny dried fish meant to add a nice flavor to your food.
The highlight of the week, of course, was being with each and everyone of the conference attendees, from the little babies (so adorable) to the older members of the congregation. Every meal provided another opportunity to make new friends and share about each other's lives and hear how God is at work on the complete opposite side of the world from where I am. This was a gift!
On Friday we headed back to Singapore in a huge bus, stood in line again at the border, and eventually arrived at the Newton Food Centre where we had plenty to choose from for lunch.
There was the famous Singapore Chicken Rice:
Or all kinds of other dishes (that included foods I shouldn't be eating):
The pancake making stall:
And my lunch! Pancakes, roasted duck, chicken rice and pork.
The fruit stall!
And the perfect way to end -- a young coconut!
So that was our adventure in Malaysia. In the next post I'll take you to a Singapore wedding!