Snippets of Home

It’s November now but I’ve always been the sort who can’t quite let a month go without giving it a proper closure. A month doesn’t feel like it’s truly over unless I write something about it, summing up only the best of the best of what happened, so here’s what I have to say about October and all its amazing October-y things!

I was home in Penang the last 10 days of October so needless to say it got the best kind of closure ever. It was going to be probably the last time I’ll get to be home for such a long stretch in a row (I start work at my new place on this coming Monday!) so I was adamant about making every day count. I filled it with the best of the F’s — food, family, friends. There isn’t any other better way to spend your holiday if you ask me!

As usual, this little guy was the happiest bugger to see me home  XD

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He followed me everywhere I went and watched every single thing I did with eyes of a hawk. Here I was playing around with the Samsung Galaxy Camera I got on loan for a review and he never left his eyes off me for a single second! LOL. He’ll even bark at the little red light that comes on when I try and take a picture of him. WHY IS MY DOG SO CUTE???

Catching up with some of my best friends was also on the list. It feels like it’s been forever since I got to properly sit down and just talk with some of my girls so I made it a point to see to it that we got a lot of girly time slotted in.

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Hehehe, threesome reunited! I usually hate yellow light because it would make everyone in the photo look like Ooompa-loompas, but the Galaxy Camera balanced the hue out just nicely so the orange sheen looked flattering on our skin instead, don’t you think? We look like we’re simply glowing with happiness, nyehehehehehe. No Oompa-loompa looks this amazing! :P

They have a saying online that goes something like, if a friendship can last more than 7 years, it’s going to last a life time. I’ve known these two for close to 12 years now (almost double 7, HAH take that!), is it any wonder how no matter where we go in life and no matter how long a stretch we go without talking to each other, we know our places are still secured in each other’s heart and mind? :3

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Maddy I love you! She always layans my jakun-ness and even though she’s always telling me to behave in public and saying I embarass her (I don’t), I know she’ll always have my back and come rushing to my rescue anytime I’m in any spot of trouble. In fact she’s done that more than a few times when we were growing up hahaha. I still remember that breakfast you made me after a particularly rough night those many years ago! ;)

One of the nicest things about being home is that everywhere you go you’re bound to run into a familiar face. Maybe Penang is just that small, or maybe I’m just well connected HAHAHAHA (I kid!), but seriously, it always feels like I run into someone I know if I so much as go out for a quick lunch with my Mum.

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That night was the same. Hello Amy and Tannie! It’s always so good to reconnect with old faces you knew from what seems like eons ago and catch up with what everyone is doing. We had a ball of a time messing with the Galaxy Camera too, so we took like a tonne of selfies and completely unnecessary syiok sendiri photos hahaha. We couldn’t help it, with a 4.8inch crystal clear touchscreen display, taking photos has never proved to be more fun LOL. I kinda feel bad for the waiter who had to take our pictures for us now LOL. Sorry for being so crazy and causing so much noise in the restaurant that night, and thank you for being so accommodating! XD

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Hiak hiak hiak being home always makes me feel so unreasonably, inexplicably happy. Thanks guy for being part of my childhood, and part of my best memories :)

Tannie complained about the amount of photos we took that night but just you wait! 10 years from now, you’ll be glad we froze some of these moments to look back upon and smile. It’s one of the reasons why I carry a camera with me almost everywhere I go :D

Feeling like I’ve not been back for too long, we squeezed in some sight-seeing as well hahahaha. My little hometown is growing and progressing so fast that I don’t recognize half of the places I used to see on a daily basis anymore. A short drive downtown proved to me just how much of its growth I’ve missed out on in my 5, close to 6 years, away. Wow has it been that long since I moved? T_T

One afternoon, I dragged my Mum and baby sister to the Snake Temple because everyone I meet in KL keeps asking me about the place but I can’t answer any of their questions because the last time I was there, I was something like 4 years old.

snake temple penang

I had imagined it in my head to be a small shack-like building crawling with snakes. Little did I know it would be this grand! The weather was just perfect for a visit too. Penang has been shrouded in heavy rainclouds that pour heavy storms the past few weeks. The moment I decided to go home, the sun came decided the same as well. Yay! :D

Living up to its name, snakes hung from almost every corner of the temple.

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I totally did not see this guy just taking an afternoon nap up there on that rack until I was right underneath it. I nearly screamed when I looked up and saw it all coiled up snugly just inches above my own head.

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When I say they’re everywhere, I do mean everywhere. You can be climbing the steps and see a couple peering out at your from between the bushes. They are camouflaged into the vines along the wall and hidden among the leaves on trees. I’m not a very big fan of snakes so lets just say I tried to stay as close to the centre of whatever path we were walking to be safe.

There was no reason for concern though because the snakes are harmless. They’ve been de-venomed (but still have their fangs intact) so you won’t die if one were to bite you, which almost never happens, just to clarify. Some say they’ve been rendered harmless by the sacred smoke of the temple but it’s up to you how much you want to believe of that, haha.

snake temple penang

History time!! Believe it or not, these snakes just started coming to the temple for refuge out of their own accord. They weren’t specifically brought in as a tourist attraction or anything.

The temple was built circa 1850 in memory of Chor Soo Kong by a Buddhist monk. He was very serious about spiritual attainment and was ordained at a young age. Legend has it that Chor Soo Kong, who was also a healer, gave shelter to the snakes of jungle. When he died at the age of 65 after a lifetime of good deeds, he was bestowed the honorific title Chor Soo, meaning an eminent historic figure continuously revered by a community generation after generation. After the completion of the temple, snakes appeared on their own accord. Temple-dwellers initially tried to chase them away but they kept returning. Eventually, they resorted to letting the snakes stay and reptile and human have cohabited peacefully since. The Snake Temple was originally named the “Temple of the Azure Cloud” in honor of the beauty of Penang’s sky.

That’s some Journey to the West kind of tale right there and it has to do with my very own hometown!

They didn’t have just de-venomed pit vipers, they had a snake farm just next door that sheltered your more sinister and poisonous slithery pals.

snake temple penang

These were, of course, kept safely behind glass cases lest some people are stupid enough to try and touch them. The whole time my sister was marvelling at them, I had only that scene from Harry Potter in mind when Harry spoke to that python in the zoo in Parseltongue hahahaha.

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I have no idea what this nasty-looking guy is called but he sure looked evil! Thankfully I didn’t have to go too near him to get this shot hahaha. I just zoomed the Galaxy Camera all the way and fully utilized its 21X zoom abilities. Look, you can see every scale on its body and every speckle of grain on its skin. *shudders

There were all sorts of other reptiles there too, like this magnificent looking iguana.

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I personally think they’re like distant cousins to the mythical dragons hehehehe. They sure look the part absent of only a pair of powerful leathery wings and the ability to breathe fire. It’s even got those red fin-scales like those you always see in illustration of dragons. So beautiful.

Giant Water Terrapins freely roam the place too.

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Let me explain why my sister looks so shocked here lol. We had thought these terrapins were merely statues placed there as decoration or something to spruce up an empty corner. Upon closer inspection, we saw it move its head and look at us and that’s when we realized they’re real, live, terrapins! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Suddenly the “Please don’t sit or step on the tortoises” sign made total sense. Some dumb ass must’ve tried before.

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LOOK!! WE FOUND NAGINI!!! HAHAHAHAHHA. I apologize for the never-ending Harry Potter reference but seriously, it could be her for all you know, right? It was sleeping I reckon because it didn’t move a single bit. Just looking at it from afar made my fine hairs stand. Imagine having all that muscle and scales wrap around you and squeezing until you can’t breathe and can’t move…. D:

At the end of the trip, we learnt that my baby sister has some serious guts of steel.

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She gladly took up the opportunity to pose for a photo with a python draped around her neck and shoulders without so much as a wince! She even smiled the entire way through and asked for different angles of photos to be taken. If it were me, I would have wanted to get it off me as soon as possible! Why is my sister so brave??? Even while taking this I was standing no less than 5 feet away and again, zoomed all the way for the shot hahaha. No way am I going near that thing!

OK to get the creepies off you, here’s a cuter picture of a mummy cat and her baby we spotted right outside the temple after our tour :D

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The kitten was so absolutely playful. It kept nibbling at its mummy’s ears trying to get her to play with it, but she obviously wasn’t interested lol. It’s a very determined kitten I’ll give it that, because it certainly didn’t give up the whole 10 minutes we stood there just watching it hahaha.

It was a very fruitful trip back home because it wasn’t only just for leisure, it was partly for business too. I had some things to settle regarding some very exciting prospects but I won’t say what it’s about yet. What I would say is that suddenly everyone I know, myself included, have been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug!

A super old and good friend of mine had just opened a restaurant of his own and of course we were there to show our support on opening night.

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Man, the last time we had a photo together was something like in 2006! I met Warren here in BRATS Camp wayyy back when we were just high school students lol. Look at him today! He’s got something like 5 businesses under his hat now and each and every one of them is thriving. This restaurant would be his first venture into the food & beverage line and I really wish him all the best hehehe.

So what does his new place, Delight Delicatessen have to offer?

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We only got to sample the introductory menu so there wasn’t a very wide selection yet, but what they had was really good. It was like Nando’s but with a local twist. I happen to loooooooove Nando’s. Homemade roasted chicken is their main offering that comes also with their own home-made spicy sauce. The mushroom soup was thick, creamy and all homemade too. You could really taste the mushroom bits in the broth, none of those nonsense Campbell can stuff. Everyone loved the Salmon Balls lol. It’s a must-try if you ask me. They’ve somehow managed to turn fresh salmon meat into an easy-to-eat bite-sized snack that’s bursting with flavour. I didn’t get to try the chicken pie (Yuh Ting ordered that) but she didn’t look like she had any complains.

If you’re in Penang, do stop by and give give it a shot!

Delight Delicatessen
86B & C, Macalister Lane,
10400 Penang, Malaysia.
017-452 4862

They offer free-flow icecream as dessert too!!

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My second sister (the one on the left with the short hair lest you get confused hahaha) pigging out on all the icecream she can fit :D

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OK fine, we were guilty of being icecream gluttons that night too hahaha. Hello best friend! Another photo together to add to the collection ^_^

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I can’t help it. The best things in life are meant to be shared right? These two are living it. They always crack me up. I’m totally using this in their wedding slideshow etc, and showing it to all their closest friends and family when they get married. BEWARE! XD

Making and freezing moments is such an important deal to me that I’m glad I had the Galaxy Camera with me throughout my trip to Penang. Imagine having to lug my DSLR everywhere and by the time I have all the numbers and dials set on the DSLR, the moment would have been gone. There is some advantage to a powerful point and shoot, especially in times like these. No more missing fun times with friends and even happier times with family and all whom you treasure and love :)

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Happy smiles result of an icecream high!! LOLOLOLOL.

Thanks Warren for the great night! We sure had a blast sampling your food and catching up over your icecream ;)

It’s the same everytime I go home. I feel this happiness that is indescribable that comes with the knowing that I belong. This is where I live, this is where I grew up, this is where it will always be home no matter how long I’m gone. These are the faces who will always welcome me with nothing but smiles and open arms, and these are people whom I know will always be there for me when I need them.

A friend asked me why is it that I’m always so obsessed with going back to Penang. I used to answer nonchalantly “Because I like”. I think I have a proper and better answer now.

It’s because it’s the only place I can truly recharge and reset my mind, heart and soul. We all know how overwhelming life can get. Between work to do, bills to pay and relationships and friendships alike to keep and maintain, it can sometimes get difficult to simply breathe. Everytime I’m home, my worries become irrelevant. I am with people I love, things I adore and places I like. I am happiest here. There is no pressure here, and there is certainly no stress and tension from people you have to put up with. And that’s all there is to it.

Penang, thanks again for the healing. I had needed it. Now I am fully recuperated to start at my new job on Monday and take everything that comes my way in my best stride, hehehe. You were the sabbatical I hadn’t even known I needed.

October sure was an amazing month. Let’s hope November will deliver equally as magnificently.

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I love this photo because I think it sums up everything about home most beautifully. It is a place where light pours in no matter what the time of day and is always warm, cozy and comforting. It’s where my family resides along with our favourite little doggy. The love here is what I live on, what keeps me going. When I think of home, this is exactly what I picture — carefree moments among plush cushions and fair weather that I have yet to come close to discovering in KL.

Happy Weekend all of you! :)

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