After I left Tioman Island I met my Malaysian friend Aidy again. In the meantime he works in Kuala Lumpur and together we went on an 8h bus ride to Jeli where his family lives. In my post “More than hospitality” I described how his grad family almost adopted me, when I passed their house by bicycle many months ago. Now was exited and happy to see them again. In the dark, early morning Aidys parents waited for us at the bus station. I wanted to copy the respectful way Aidy greeted his parents when his mum just pulled me in her arms and whispered “Sweetheart!”. The next four days I spend in the center of a huge family. I played with the kids, learned a lot more Malay words from the grandfather and constantly got to try new local food. I joined the family to different basars where we were constantly stared at. “No, she is not my daughter in law. My son studies abroad together with her…” Aidy was a bit nervous that I would tell another story if they asked me in English. His cousin took me around on the motorbike and I joined the village when they cooked Asyura in huge pots over the fire at the mosque. This porridge is anually prepared for the muslim new year. It took many sacks of spices, buckets of onion, garlic, sweat potato and manjok, 28kg of sugar and two days of time. That day the family dressed me up in their traditional clothes and make up. I felt weird in that role but very welcomed at the same time. The people in Jeli still live a very rural, traditional and layed back life. I enjoyed to have been part of the community for some days. Farewell was sad once more. I will keep my Malaysian family in my heart and hope to revisit them one day!
After my junge adventures I was very exhausted, dirty, sticky and my clothes where in rages. One screw on my bicycle destroyed my trousers and I decided to cut the screw. So I went to a car workshop close to Jeli and asked them for that. They did and also invited me to their house.
I had an amazing time with this family! Aidy – now my little Malaysian brother – is the only one speaking English but he was nonstop talking and translating. Umi, the mother prepared amazing amounts of food for me and hungry as I was from the last few days I ate it all. We went to a cave together, to the bazar and to swim in a river. They introduced me to all relatives living nearby. Also many of them came together every evening for a chat during the sun went down. So I met many aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends. All of them absolutely lovely. I felt undescribable welcome and warm with Aidy and his family. They also tought me a lot about Malaysia. How to wear a sarong, how to eat with the hand, a bit of the language. They repaired my trousers, gave me new trousers too, a sarong and all their love.
When I left on the third day everybody gave me a big hug and some almost cried. Me too.
I hope to come back one day to see you again!