Another stretch the comfort zone
Never did I think this past week of a holiday in Malaysia would bring such far-reaching change, and here we are #oneweekon.
Our long awaited reunion with Mimi at Kuala Lumpur airport was magnificent. Our 3 months apart melted away as we debriefed our travels on the long journey from airport to Traders Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Traders is a fabulous. It is well priced and with interconnecting rooms facing out to the Petronas Towers we were in for a good stay. Traders is located across from KLCC, a well known sprawling shopping mall in the centre of the city, with manicured grounds, play area, splash pools, running track and electric buggy to transport you between hotel and mall. We had spent New Year overlooking the Petronas Towers @Traders en route out to NZ only a few years prior.
Having stayed healthy through the duration of our stay in Cambodia, this was the one trip I was looking forward to connecting with family and friends and feeling myself again. Miserably, J and I were knocked down with a Cambodian-caught sickness and struggled to achieve much with depleted energy levels. What better way to kill an infection than mixing a potion or two from Mimi/Legge #travelbar, and a spot of long lost lego for the boys.
We drifted between hotel, play park and the ever glamorous Suria KLCC shopping mall, the latter feeling initially loathsome in its unadulterated display of fashion labels and fast food. The lights, the people, the noise a delightful addition to my already debilitating nausea. Nevertheless we succeeded in discovering the fantastic Petrosains Science Discovery Centre telling the story of the science and technology of the petroleum industry through a variety of interactive exhibits which kept the kids entertained for hours whilst I completed long awaited chores from broken camera, to haircut & kids shoes.
Kuala Lumpur is a vast and sprawling city, and many believe there to be few tourist attractions worth visiting. Casting heat and health aside, we ventured beyond the confines of the Petronas Towers complex to visit the KL City Gallery home to the spectacular city model show, and the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia where the boys took delight in studying the various blades and barrels of Islamic arms.
Now you never expect to meet someone you know on a far-flung, unplanned tourist trail, but as it happens we did. We literally bumped into our most beloved friend Mel all the way from New Zealand and on a last minute visit to meet her parents and surprise Team Legge. Seeing Mel in KL felt so normal, and in another so completely out there and peculiar so much so it took a while to accept the exceptional and drag her back to #travelbar. People make Places and such an incredible treat to be amongst nearest and dearest.
4 days in KL and time for the next wave of our mini break with Mum to Penang, a logical choice having all visited there together only a few years ago and only a short 45 minute or so flight direct from KL. Penang is an island off the west coast of Malaysia, connected to the mainland by a 9 mile bridge, and 100km or so south of Langkawi and the Thai border.
Our visit to Penang was intended to be a time for relaxation and reflection, and a chance to observe the island ahead of our planned arrival later in the year.
Over recent weeks we had found ourselves debating when and where the boys would be ready to re-enter the school system. With long waiting lists and school fees for a western education in Penang, we were in the midst of preparing our Plan B for Sunflower School. Having done my digital junky bit sizing up all our options in Penang, we stalked St Christopher’s International Primary School (SCIPS) and arranged a tour. We were stunned as to the quality of the school and before we knew it were offered a half-day trial for the boys. The boys were excited and scampered into school for the morning whilst the adults, left alone, could be found taking Dim Sum and Chinese tea with the locals in historic Georgetown.
We are still reeling in the aftermath of the boys half day. Unexpectedly the boys were offered a place and unanimously have expressed a wish to go.
There are consequences. Team Legge have been absent from all our priorities of work and blogs, and have been deep in consultation. My dearest Oscar. So suddenly sure of himself in his desire to return to school. “I want to go to St Christopher’s”, Zachary furiously agreeing.
It is all too early in this process and I can’t figure out the why for now. I am sure their motives and rationale will become clear in time, but for Oscar I guess he was ready to stop fluidity and instability. To re-establish structure, routine, and education in a more classical way. I have not accepted this lightly, and have tried to catch them, and particularly Oscar, out as to why they with to remain here in Malaysia. In our few days here we have still been recovering. We have not visited a beach, we have not stayed anywhere glamorous, we don’t know anyone. This has come from the heart.
I thought this time together on our journey had taught me so much more about Oscar. I thought I really understood and knew him now, but this blows all that out of the water. Never can you truly know and understand another individual, even your own child! One more life lesson on sunflowerjourney, expect the unexpected.
It has been one of those life defining moments when you realise that decisions can sometimes be out of your hands, and that you need to let others lead the journey. I have never let my kids lead the journey, I have made choices and decisions. In my heart I knew I had to let them take the lead despite my own sensitivities and concerns. There are concerns. Many. Financial, social, relationship. Propelling our lives back into the “system”calls for income, structure, routine, homework! Am I ready? I don’t think so. I am not ready. But are the kids ready? Yes. They are ready.
Team Legge consultation concluded that we should let our boys take the lead. It was too late to change our plans to return to Cambodia and with only hours to spare until our flight ex Penang, I had completed lunch forms, raided the second hand uniform cupboard and booked hotels and flights for myself and the boys back to Malaysia.
I absolutely know now that people do make places and we clung to Mimi as she left to return to the UK. Our time together always so precious with constant chatter over tea and martinis to mark the beginning and end of each day. Rather a melancholy sight, Team Legge returned to Cambodia to the delightful Villa Langka in Phnom Penh for a weekend of relaxation and preplanned work meetings. V enturing to Kids City once again, we also took time to take a massage and cruise galleries and cafes.
It is time to get a little more serious and responsible. What few dollars we had left have truly gone now and I must take ownership for this and be a grown-up again. Oscar, Zachary and myself have not returned to Battambang. Our belongings still throughout the flat, we have returned to Penang, Malaysia alone for now. 6 flights in a matter of days and hopefully Air Asia have their eye on my loyalty points. There is no longer a physical sickness, but certainly an emotional sickness with no closure to our life in Battambang, and parting with our adored J for now.
How do I feel? Excited. Daunted. Terrified. Humbled. Totally out there. #onanotherplanet and #survivalmode. I am alone and feel alone. I am here in Malaysia. J is there in Cambodia. We are betwixt two lives and two lands. But, there is that familiar rumble of butterflies, of that excited feeling that once again you are discovering something new, somewhere exotic. I only hope that my philosophy of people make places can be realised here in Malaysia, sooner rather than later. This is absolutely the next phase of Sunflower Journey. Sunflower School has taken a left turn, and Sunflower Journey a right. Time will tell, and be sure that this funny old comfort zone of mine will be stretched all that bit further still.