Thursday, February 10, 2005

I can’t believe I’m packing again!


Time just flies by when you’re having fun. Never a truer statement has been said. It just seems like yesterday when I walked groggily down the 737’s steps onto the Kuantan terminal tarmac and now even before I emptied my bags, I’m already repacking them for another journey. Home has been good, the refrigerator has been stocked full of goodies to the point that my tummy is growing a few inches wider; cookies, chocolate, cakes, fruits, bake stuff etc. you name it. My family is never better, it’s good to see their faces, catching up on what has changed and feeling their presence so close by. My dog, Lucky, energetic and playful as ever albeit a little messed up from all the scraps he was in with the neighbouring dogs.

Chinese New Year’s was quite normal. Today was quite packed, since Ash Wednesday is today as well, had to attend church twice, in the morning for the CNY’s day mass and later for Ash Wednesday service in the evening. Had time to visit a few friends though although I had hoped for more friends being in town for the celebrations. The first on the list was Tan Zun Wei, one of my oldest acquaintances still in the country (if you count those overseas, Jeremy Tok would have the distinction of being the longest known acquaintance, us being neighbours in the past). I swung by to his house in Air Putih to pay a little visit. We chatted on the usual things, what we each have been up to during the absence, how is everyone else we know, what turn life has taken for our old friends, a little about the past and a little about the future. Cookies and cakes were abundant and I had a large share of it while I got one of my first ang pow there. I couldn’t stay long, had others to see so I bid farewell after nearly 2 hours of hearty conversation. I swung by to Lii T’san’s house to see her next. When I got there I called and alas found out she was out visiting another friend. She said she might pay a visit to my place later but fate has it that when she got there I was out. Guess we won’t be seeing each other for a while, sadly I really wanted some time to chat.

It was a disappointment that many of those I’d hope to see again this holiday would be here in Kuantan. Kwang Meng headed back to Taiping with his family, Lay Cheng had prior engagements with other friends. Chin Ching is visiting her aunts and relations with her ex in Penang, Junn Liang was in Dungun to see family, Anan was in Pekan and couldn’t make it, Thiagu was flying to some foreign destination and didn’t have the day off and many others that I hoped were either unavailable, in other states or time constraints made visitation not possible. Guess the great gathering I envisaged would not come to pass. At least I was able to contact them and had a chat though that wasn’t much consolation. Every passing year it gets harder and harder to meet up, everyone going their way, everyone busy and with responsibilities, it is inevitable that most of us will drift apart.

My uncle and aunt along with my two cousins, Ian and Christine (who visited me in Kota Kinabalu on Hari Raya) came down from Penang for a visit, arriving on CNY eve. The ironic thing was my grandmother wasn’t here, she left for Australia with a couple of church members for a visit there and thus I never got to see her. Mum went ahead to prepare the New Year reunion dinner on the eve, serving roasted duck, chicken, vegetables with scallops and lotus root soup. A thing with meals in my house, every sitting will come with soup. After months of eating ‘chap fan’ (economy mixed rice) and having to down their tasteless oily broth, this was one treat I won’t miss out. Ang pow count so far is ok, nearly a few hundred though most of it went towards a new pair of shoes and books.

Thus I’m making my way to Kl tomorrow. A decision I made was to head out on Thursday instead of Friday to avoid the rush and also to have some time with my cousins in Kl as well as to get a few books I’ve been hunting from MPH. It’s a bid sad to pack again, knowing I won’t be back here for a long time again. Leaving this room and my family to be away is a bit hard yet unavoidable. Time has been so short, but a fleeting moment. Every time I come back to Kuantan, a little patch changes, I wonder how long before I set foot here again and find everything unrecognisable. Already change is taking place, slow and subtle. Somewhere in my mind I keep on asking for a few more days to be here still.

No comments: