This is the start of our 13 hour train ride to Butterworth, Penang. Sounds like a painful ride and… yes, we don’t deny our butts ached at the end of the ride but what went on that 13 hour was worth all the soreness we felt in our body. We are not sure how you would spend your time on a 13 hour ride but we sure made use of them to snack, catch up on our rest, did a lot of reflections and made new friends. Here are some questions Kenneth and I explored during our reflection time. We hope these questions would serve you as well as they did for us:
- Who are on your ‘board of directors’? By that we meant who are the people in your head whom you seek ‘counsel’ with whenever you are in a tricky/uncomfortable/dilemma situation.
- If you map a day’s time on a pie, how would you allocate what you do daily on the pie? How much of the pie would you designate to a particular activity you do and how does your desired pie look like? Be honest.
- Following the previous question, what actions would you take to make your current pie looks more similar to your desired pie? How can you make things better?
- What are some of your focus when you get back home?
We love the fact that we were honest with ourselves and to each other. We also adore how we enjoy our deep conversations as much as each other’s companionship. As we watch the scene outside our window changed from frame to frame, we cannot help but feel how grateful for all that we have and what a beautiful world this is! Now we would like take this opportunity to introduce a new friend we made on the train and his family members!
Here was how we started our interaction. We were snacking away our M&N chocolate when this Indian kid who sat in front of me happened to turn back. He saw us and we generously handed him the box of chocolate. He seemed hesitant initially but accepted the offer after we assured him that he can have it. His family was sitting in front of us – his mother, a younger brother and two elder sisters. After he got the chocolate, he said, “谢谢Aunty“ (Thank you Aunty). The first thought I had was, “whoa, he speaks such fluent Mandarin!” but my first verbal response was… “我不是Aunty, 我是姐姐“ (I am not aunty, I am elder sister).
Hahaha. Ok, back to topic, yea we were taken aback by his fluency in Mandarin and attempted to converse with him to find out more. Apparently as part of his academic requirements, he is required to study Mandarin and he has been studying the language for 6 years since 7 years old. At that moment, we were thinking what is it like to be a minority in a country. There must have been many instances where circumstances forced them to acquire certain skills in order to survive in the society. We later learnt that the kid’s name is Gopala and his family stays in Ipoh (where many Malaysian Chinese reside).Once again, we were both grateful for all that we have and also inspired to become a better person.
Now, we were wondering if the box of chocolate is ever going to come back to us but to much delight, the kid shared the chocolate with his family! We were fine with it since they were brimming with smiles. So things quietened down a little as we continue to enjoy the scenery outside. Suddenly, one of the sister turned to us and gave us a packet of sponge cake. It really warmed our heart. There definitely goes the saying: What goes around, comes around. The sponge cake tasted especially nice. Haha. Wanting to interact more, Kenneth decided to show them the ‘dragon breath‘ (something he used to amuse me when we were still friends :p).
Needless to say, the kids were fascinated and started to mimic what Kenneth did. Obviously it was not easy but kids being kids, they just do it anyway. That created a lot of laughter for us AND the passengers around us. Kenneth went on to show them some coin tricks and sure enough, the youngest of the lot (probably about 6 years old) follow suit.
There was one trick where you create the illusion where you force the coin into the back of your neck then spitting it out from the mouth. Gopala’s brother was so curious that he started to do the trick by putting a coin in his mouth. Don’t worry, we stopped him and taught him that, that was dangerous. He then continued to do the dragon breath, blowing wind at his siblings. Haha. It was fun! Very soon, we were all worn out by the fun and we headed back to rest until Gopala and his family alighted at Ipoh. We bid our farewell and continued to dream our way to Butterworth! 3 hours later, we arrived at Butterworth railway station.
Time check: 10PM. It was dark outside and there were taxi drivers trying to get passengers. We did not hop onto one instead we decided to walk to our accommodation. It was an interesting experience because it was like our relationship was put to a little test. I was in a one-piece long dress, we were tugging our luggages and the roads were really bumpy. There were cracks, rubbles, rubbish etc. We were trying to navigate our way in a foreign land without any assistance other than the information we collected in our prior research. After walking for some time, frustration started to creep into us, especially me.
Fortunately, Kenneth was patient with me and despite the increasingly tense feeling between us, he still made it his priority to ensure my safety, which I was very very grateful about. We kept our emotions in check throughout the journey and finally got to Lodge 18 after what seemed like a 20-30 minute walk. For review of Lodge 18, click here. It was a long day but all ended well. We made new friends and had new experiences. Most importantly, we know and love each other enough to not let anything get into our excitement for our travel journey!
Coming up: Epic twist on the way to Bangkok