Search

Expatriate in Kuala Lumpur – a woman's walkabout – Elizabeth Goodhue

When you leave you must remember to come back for the others. A circle, understand? You will always be Esperanza. You will always be Mango Street. You can’t erase what you know. You can’t forget who you are. – Sandra Cisneros

Month

June 2016

Talking to Monadnock


Do I sit in envy on this porch wondering why I never applied myself enough to have this? A house with a porch, a field, two cars, and barns full of equipment waiting for my next adventure. For a moment yes.

The morning breeze reminds me of the breeze off of Alford Lake at camp in Union, Maine. It used to sweep over the lake, through the balsams, and around the shiny heads glistening under the pines. It was as if it knew that it was time for church, which took place under the pines every Sunday after we washed our hair with biodegradable soap in the lake. The breeze didn’t whisper; it talked and we listened, captivated by its spirit. And this cathedral in the pines overlooking the lake that held the bright white path of the sun was god.

The wind, the light, and the balsams told us to look further than ourselves with the same strength and power with which its message weaved its way through us. It fed my spirit — a spirit on the cusp of an adolescent awareness that ruins us for a while, until we push through the questions, the tests, of ourselves, our parents, society — the why of every single thing. This was before that time when every little detail of my life had to make sense. It was before the time that I didn’t listen to the wind every day. A time before I couldn’t feel because I could only question.

Here it is again. Telling me that I was always free. I never needed to leave that bench in the woods. But I did. And whether it is on the 20th floor of an apartment in KL, a busy street in Ho Chi Minh City, a Temple in Cambodia, a scorching Tampico beach where only the fishermen go, whether it’s in a city where masked men point semi-automatics over the roof of a pickup truck becomes a matter of landscape; or in a mosque by the river, this New England wind will always remind me of the power and privilege of my freedom.

The night before the blast


Time journey

 

 

IMG_3155
Flying into dawn from Boston to Istanbul

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every time I turn the time on my Walmart watch from Mexico the winder falls out. Nevertheless, I always adjust the time forward or back the minute I get on the plane. I try to trick my body into thinking that it hasn’t lost a day during the journey from Boston to Kuala Lumpur.

Breaking Fast

IMG_3218
Breaking Fast

When I arrived in Istanbul after the first leg of my 24-hour flight, I was ready to use my 10-hour layover for a small adventure into the city. In cases such as these, my strategy is to latch onto someone who looks like she or he knows where she is going. My first two attempts ran into language barriers and Turkish brusqueness. Then I scored! The woman was German. The man was Turkish, turned German at an early age. They took me to the Blue Mosque on the tram. I arrived an hour before the breaking of fast on the first day of Ramadan. There were miles of people crammed at plastic tables in the square waiting for the sun to sink behind the mosque, and the call to prayer to bellow across the city.

But it is not Monsoon Season.

IMG_3197
Istanbul

The next morning, unbeknownst to all of us on that peaceful sunlit evening, a Kurdish Militant Group bombed an area just a few tram stops away. When I posted my near miss on Facebook, a concerned friend asked if my quest was necessary. Absolutely. I answer that without hesitation. Perhaps I put myself at risk by living in northern Mexico, venturing into Istanbul, traveling the world alone, or living in a country on the other side of the world, but I have managed to skirt the ugliness of the world, the civil unrest, the warring factions, people desperate enough to believe that a suicide bomb will solve their problems. The militant group that bombed Istanbul, explicitly told foreigners to stay away, because they are at war. Does that mean that we stay away? Last night a woman warned me to beware of the monsoon winds when I travelled by boat to Pulau Perhentian Kecil. But it is not monsoon season. Do we let ourselves be governed by fear, or do we govern it?IMG_3188

Belting out Shakespeare

In all of my years as a teacher, the students who succeeded in class were the ones who took risks. They are the ones, who despite their 25 other classmates, belted out a line of Shakespeare; they were the ones who dared to write a letter to a school board member whom they did not know. They dared to do something uncomfortable, to push the envelope. They were not the ones who snarled resentfully at a challenge, or stared idly out the window wishing they were somewhere else. They took a bite knowing that they could fail. And no matter the result, they gained knowledge about themselves and the world. IMG_3159

The voice of fear

My curiosity feeds me; it tells me to go forward. Every once in a while my fear-voice tells me that I am doing this all wrong, that I need to be in my house in Peterborough, making enough money to pay for its leaks and creaks. This voice tells me that I don’t have a plan for when I am too old to take care of myself. This is the voice that tells me to worry about a future I cannot control.

Do you have a plan?

The 11 people who died in Istanbul had no idea what would hit them the next day after they broke the Ramadan fast. Perhaps I brushed by one of them as I nosed about their beautiful city. Did they have a plan? While I am healthy, while I have the ability to move my body up a mountain, swim to Hancock from the Nelson landing on Lake Nubinuset, and the wherewithal to reach out to someone who will help me in a foreign city, I am going for it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

The Critical Skills Classroom

Within a Community Anything is Possible. Without One, Nothing Is.

Live to Write - Write to Live

We live to write and write to live ... professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

Cook the Beans

inspired by ingredients, smells and Travels, vegan & vegetarian

Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia

The Web log of Dr. Joseph Suglia

Snowflakes

Canvas, Bed Linens, Fridges and the World

Embracing Wade

Lessons learned from raising a child with Down Syndrome

Quill & Parchment

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good

thisisyouth

On the quest to live an interesting life.

Learning Port Blog

For the Ones that Matter: Teachers, Students, and Parents

TWO WRITING TEACHERS

A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

The Critical Skills Classroom

Within a Community Anything is Possible. Without One, Nothing Is.

Live to Write - Write to Live

We live to write and write to live ... professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

Cook the Beans

inspired by ingredients, smells and Travels, vegan & vegetarian

Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia

The Web log of Dr. Joseph Suglia

Snowflakes

Canvas, Bed Linens, Fridges and the World

Embracing Wade

Lessons learned from raising a child with Down Syndrome

Quill & Parchment

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good

thisisyouth

On the quest to live an interesting life.

Learning Port Blog

For the Ones that Matter: Teachers, Students, and Parents

TWO WRITING TEACHERS

A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

Dutch goes the Photo!

Focus Hocus Pocus

Aotea Media

Photography | Promotion | Social Media | Creative Concepts | Graphic Design | Slideshow | Marketing | Video production | Video Marketing

The Truth about William

Myth buster: people don't suffer from Down Syndrome.

Jules Verne Times Two

The more we travel the bigger the world gets

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Millionaire's Digest

Discover, Share & Connect Your Passion with the World!

A New Look On Books

Freelance Editing Professional and Book Blogger

the Confessions of a Wanderer

constantly searching for my next adventure

Mt. Holly Road, Katonah, NY, 10536

A story of a group of free-range kids growing up Katonah, New York

%d bloggers like this: