If you’ve been following along, you’ll already have known that things didn’t exactly pan out this way.
I was a little bit nervous to be alone, but it made it better that D was with me in KL for the first two weeks, so the city didn’t seem so foreign anymore. We already had established the best way of getting around and our favorite places to go for food.
I thought I would feel lonely, but I actually really enjoyed this time alone. I loved being able to do whatever I want and go wherever I want and eat whatever I want to without having to consider another person (such as not having to worry about finding places that suit D’s gluten intolerance!).
I liked being able to take my time and not being rushed out the door, just like I’m sure D liked not having to wait on me. I liked being able to stay up however late I want without being whined at that the light is bright or the mouse clicking is annoying.
After all this time of always being with someone, it felt good to be selfish for a while!
But I also wasn’t completely alone all the time. I’m making more of an effort now to meet locals as it always ends up being some of the best experiences. I had already mentioned at the end of last month that blog-friend CL came to take me around KL. And aside from him, I was lucky to make another friend (full honesty: through Tinder – don’t laugh, Tinder is great for meeting locals).
He took joy in showing a visitor around his city, from a sampling of the nightlife scene (crazy) to eating what is known as the best nasi lemak in town (super delicious!). Having this local connection truly made all the difference in my experience.
But seriously, I know there are a lot of questionable people with less noble intentions on Tinder. Whatever you’re after, make your intention clear (for me: just looking for friends to explore with) and have a strict screening process. I feel lucky to have met a really cool person who allowed me to gain a deeper understanding for KL.
The beginning of February also marked a huge event: the passing of my grandfather. And with this news, I decided that Beijing with my family is where I needed to be. So I bought a last minute flight, packed up, and flew to the one place that will always be home.
February 8 – present: Beijing, China
What I love about coming to Beijing is… that even though I landed in the middle of a cold Beijing winter with a luggage stuffed full of tiny summer clothes, within minutes, I had all sorts of warm clothes lent by family & close friends. Now that’s what I call coming home. :)
The day I arrived in Beijing also happened to be the first day of the Chinese New Year. This would be the first time I have ever been in China for the holiday since moving out of the country. My mom had flown back a few days before me (my grandfather waited for her to get there before peacefully slipping into eternal rest) and this was also her first time back in China for CNY.
My grandfather passed away just before the holiday. Maybe you would think that this event would have cast a shadow over the celebrations. But if anything, we celebrated doubly hard to cherish the life and family we still have. This CNY marked the first year that our family was (mostly) reunited for the holiday and I know my grandfather, wherever he is watching, was happy to see all of us together.
Little tiny pictures with all my favorite people in Beijing!
I wrote a post on the first seven days that you can read here. A lot of family time, friends reunions, and like any other good holiday, good food. :)
And then we said goodbye, on a beautiful sunny day with clear blue skies.
Soon after the burial, my mother left to go back to the States while I decided to stay on in Beijing for a while longer to keep my grandmother company now that she’s all alone.
After the excitement of Chinese New Year and the departure of my mother, my grandma and I quickly settled into a comfortable routine: park exercises in the morning, lunch, naptime, and dinner. Rinse and repeat. In the afternoons, she teaches me to make her specialty dishes. We always have something interesting to eat for dinner.
One thing that Chinese relatives really know how to do is make you fat. It still surprises me every time just now much food is ordered at restaurants or how many dishes are made for a “simple” dinner. Since everyone loves the monthly food collage, here is a mix of restaurant & home cooked dishes this month in Beijing!
These days with my grandmother pass by quietly but I love and appreciate every day. Though I was raised by my grandparents in my early years, since the age of six we have lived an ocean apart, and naturally the distance does no good to maintaining a close relationship. Contact becomes relegated to a few minutes phone call every couple of months or so. Spending this much time with her would have been impossible in my adult life if not for the fact that I’m currently free to be wherever I want to be. My grandmother is getting on in years now too and I’m so grateful to be able to have this time with her.
Read here for a Day in the Life in Beijing!
What’s going on in March
I’m still in Beijing for over a week to keep my grandma company. I debated for a while where to go after this, but I decided that I will be going to – change of plans again – back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!! For a month!
I wasn’t lying when I told you guys that I wasn’t done with Malaysia. I guess I left so unexpectedly that I couldn’t shake it from my mind. There were still so many things I wanted to do but didn’t get to. And plus, I also still have a fat wad of Malaysian currency I didn’t get to spend (errrr… unless you’re a thief and reading this, I’m broke and have nothing). But the thing that really sealed this decision is that D has a friend who is going to be visiting KL, so he also wanted to go back to meet up with her.
But I’m going to be back in KL solo for a bit again before D joins me. In much the same way, I left so unexpectedly that I feel like I didn’t get to properly experience the solo time I had planned. I guess it’s true what they say about solo travel being addicting. ;)
How was your February? What are your plans in March?
Contact me here