Merry Christmas Lah!

Of year two in Malaysia, term one is nearly over.

This term I’ve hit Ipoh, Bali and Malacca and it’s been great. Malaysia you are beautiful and you are forever surprising me. There has been survival of the first term of School of Leadership- even managing to complete the majority of my tasks, and as I haven’t been asked to leave my job yet I must’ve done ok! Overall I would consider it a success.
Considering Malaysia is a largely Muslim country it certainly looks pretty christmassy. The Malls are looking beautiful and Micheal Buble is playing around every corner. Everyone is going all out.

It cannot be argued that it is a little strange. Last week we had sports day (it is december, that just NEVER happens in the UK, with the weather and all) christmas party in quick succession, and christmas party at the weekend. Throw in the tropical weather, the sweat and the continuous frizzy hair and then ask me why I’m a little confused! My body has had about 22 years of seasons, and is used to cold weather (wearing countless layers and mostly darkness) on the build up to christmas. I do have very kind friends that encourage this christmas excitement by making their AC in their car freeeezzinggggg and singing christmas songs at me. It does help a little I guess.

So with this in mind I took matters into my own hands: dug out the old spotify playlist- whacked up the AC and commenced the creation of christmas bunting. My icy attitude is beginning to thaw… I WILL get excited no matter what it takes!

Having said all that, I’m totally gearing up to hit the only place I want to be at christmas. This girl is flying northwest for the winter! At home in the shire with the Gatland clan. (In Sussex, England with my family- for all of you who don’t speak Becca!) I can’t wait to catch up with all, bake a ridiculous amount of treats (including the annual alternative gingerbread house) eat meat again, see London all lit up, breathe fresh air, drive again and let’s not forget enjoy the beauty of the Sussex countryside. You can take the girl out of Sussex but you can’t take Sussex out of the girl.

This is our ‘Dinsoaurs have invaded’ gingerbread house from last year.

Oh yeah, there is the small matter of giving Ying Ying her first english christmas. Are you ready for the social media frenzy that is Ying Ying on tour? Because it is certainly coming whether you like it or not!

I cannot forget how lucky I am that I am even able to travel home. It is a big journey and it certainly is not cheap. I would not be going if it wasn’t for my super generous grandfather and parents who I appreciate so much! Every christmas that I am living abroad but am able to make it home I will value so so much.

 

4 days and counting! Sussex we are coming for you!

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How to plan your Easter holidays to the fullest: The Grand Gatland Tour

Right now it is so hot. Not just ‘oh, I’m a bit sweaty but that’s okay because I chose to live in Malaysia’, but ‘I’m so HOT I can’t even put any make up on as it will slide straight off my face’ (at 7 in the morning). Before you say ‘Shhhhh…. try living in England where we haven’t seen the sunshine in a number of years’, come/see/experience.. THEN you are allowed to make a comment. We are currently in a ‘heatwave’, which contrary to a UK heatwave which means more than one day of 25 degrees and everyone runs outside with minimal clothing, it has been getting up to 40 degrees and all I want to do is hide in a well air conditioned room. I say let’s all take a 2 month siesta until this little inconvenience goes away! Being the sun-worshipper I am, I hope you can understand just how hot it is!

Apart from this tiny tiny issue, my parents chose the perfect time to come visit me. Two weeks off for Easter meant ample time for a grand tour of my current home. As is apparent by my mum’s FOUR facebook albums (I will add to them when I get a chance mum!), we managed to cover a good amount of places.

KL

My parents arrived on good friday morning, this was super special as this weekend has always been family time. Normally my church back home does a massive breakfast together which I haven’t been able to attend in years, and I got to steal my parents on this important day! The gorgeous Darshi was so kind as to pick us all up from the airport so we were met by her and Zoe, and then Ying Ying joined us for lunch at Mum’s place! I have the best friends!

We spent the weekend exploring KL, by of course going to some food courts, my pool, the city centre, Helipad and did I mention we tried hella food? They even came to the last ever Hopecity KL meeting in Publika! I hope they liked it through the jet lag.

Singapore

First stop was Singapore. I would say it is like Malaysia but a bit more orderly, clean, new, manmade, and organised. No offence Malaysia you’re great. We stayed in Little India which was fab, except for the fact my Dad couldn’t find a good coffee in the morning maybe as easily as we would’ve hoped. But I reckon we managed very well.

Being with parents means a different style of holiday, which I fully embraced and loved. Mum booked a hop on hop off tourist bus for the first few days which meant we could see all of Singapore whilst listening to chilled out Jazz music. I have retained a lot of random facts about the history and architecture due to this bus. Ask me anything, I can be your personal fount of Singaporean knowledge. Seriously anything, we were on that bus for days. Honestly, I think these Hop on Hop Off buses are genius, make a shed load of money and keeps the tourists off the streets and getting in the way of normal Singapore life!

We did all the tourist things; Gardens by the bay, the botanical gardens, Sentosa Island, the aquarium, China Town. It was great- ever so slightly cooler than Malaysia.

One thing I really loved were the traffic lights. They made cute little PAC man sounds when you were waiting and crossing. I really felt I was inside the game.

One thing I was less impressed about was the price of EVERYTHING. For example, a banana leaf meal in an inexpensive restaurant in Little India was 7 Singapore dollars (RM20 ish/£3.50), where in Malaysia the same meal has cost me RM 7 (£1.50)! You British people are probably wondering what the big deal is… it’s all cheap! It’s all relative. Having said all that, I think Banana Leaf curry was my dad’s favourite, was really delicious. So who really cares!

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Penang

Then we flew to Penang. Veerrrrrry big contrast.We were picked up at airport by my amazing friend Aimi and her dad. That evening we were treated to dinner with her entire family! It was delicious and I am still so touched by how hospitable they all were, after dinner Aimi’s Dad gave us a night car tour of all of Georgetown so good.

The next day ‘Tour guide Becca’ snapped into action- I actually planned a route, read a map and guided my ever-so-slightly hot and bothered parents successfully around Georgetown to see all the street art. Anyone that knows me will know that is no mean feat. Honestly, if teaching doesn’t work out for me – I’m going to become a Penang trickshaw driver/tour guide.

Later on that day I spent a few hours in the hotel Jacuzzi with a french family, speaking only in French! The mother was very complimentary about my french!

Langkawi

After two days we took a boat to Langkawi. We watched the best film about a man from India trying to get a Mute girl back home to Pakistan. Honestly if knew what it was called I would so recommend it.

Beach. Sun. Wine. All you need for a chill at the end of a trip that your daughter has dragged you on!

I absolutely loved having Mr & Mrs Gatland here with me. They got to meet my friends, go to my church, eat the food, experience the heat. I feel like I learnt new things about them and we had a great time!

Will you come back soon please?

The Perhentian Islands

The day after my parents left, I went to the Perhentian Island. You know when you book things in advance and you think you’ll be fine to fit in as much as you can into two weeks?Yeah I think I need to calm down on the plans. That morning I was not feeling KLIA at all. However I’m so glad we went. Leah and Cat were perfect friends for a island getaway. We had to cab, fly, cab, and then speed boat it but oh my goodness it was absolute paradise.

I also went snorkelling for the first time. After a minor panic attack about not being able to breathe it was incredible! We saw a number of sharks, a turtle, nemo and many many more beautiful fish!

We are two weeks into the summer term and the Easter holidays feel such a long time ago. For the first time I can remember I feel rather homesick, which must be because my parents have been here.

This afternoon I am having an epic bring and share English Roast dinner with some incredible ladies. I even found BISTO GRAVY. That should help!