2018 behind, 2019 ahead


I’m back at work today, as is Tress. We’re both down with colds and that makes returning to work even less pleasant. Otherwise, we had a decent break – mentally if not physically.

It’s hard to have a decent rest for the body, when one travels to cities like Bangkok for holiday. Tress and I wound up work on 21 Dec and headed to KL the next day (Sat). We dropped the little guy with his sitter/carer, and our hearts ached a little when he whimpered and cried a little when we were getting ready to drop him off. Anyway, we got into the airport, met some friends who were also travelling to the tropics for the Christmas/New Year break, and finally got into KL late on Sat.

We stayed in my brother’s home for that night we arrived. He and Jean picked us up from the airport, and the next day, after a really nice breakfast at a local coffee shop, we headed to the airport and met up with my mum, and my sisters and their families (bar their hubbies…). It was a really good thing we could all go away as a family in this way. It would have been perfect if my sisters’ hubbies, together with Kiddo and Mic, could also come along. One of my sisters’ hubby works in China and does not have the break we had, and the other had to care for his elderly and ill father. Kiddo and Mic had planned a holiday to Japan, by the time this family getaway was cobbled together.

So we headed off to Bangkok/Khao Yai and for the next week and a half, we had a terrific time together. Two of my nephews had done very well for their “UEC” exams and are awaiting university placements in the far east. Isaac has already earned a place in Beijing Uni to do Chemistry but is waiting for a spot in HK uni. Stan the man is waiting for a spot in Taiwan. They’re both terrific young men. Nic has just finished her first year in Med school and YJ, the baby of the group, is still in primary school. I got to know them all better and it was a memorable time. To also spend that time with my mum, sisters, brother and his wife, together with Tress, was really an experience to be treasured.

We got back to Klang just before New Year’s Day, and spent the next few days there. We bunked at Tress’ parents’ place, which as a result of all that has been happening in that household in recent months, felt very shaken up and disjointed. The living room, carved and partitioned to allow Tress’ dad to sleep downstairs, was symptomatic of what has been happening. Her dad had gotten better, and could walk up the steps to get into his usual bedroom. So Tress and I slept in his makeshift bedroom downstairs. Our mornings were always interrupted with the maid cleaning from about 5am, followed soon after by Tress’ parents starting their day early. We’d feel as though we were sleeping in without cause when/if we didn’t wake up soon after. Sleeping in makeshift arrangements with all that harried mornings was never going to provide rest that a break often brings, but I guess the break is a mental one of sorts, where the hustle and bustle of work is absent. To that end, the trip to the tropics has been wonderful.

We left Malaysia on Thursday night and got back into Melbourne on Friday (4 Jan) morning. We left a very warm Malaysia (circa 34 deg) to return to a stinking hot Melbourne (circa 42 deg). The colds we picked up meant we struggled to get back into the rhythm of things. Tress spent the rest of Friday working, while I went about grocery shopping and pottering around the house. On Saturday, we started to work on our very overgrown gardens, before rain stopped us. So we went out and got some shopping (we needed to replace our blender) and lunch and when the rain stopped we resumed work on the gardens, finishing late into the evening.

On Sunday, we decided to skip St Alf’s as we didn’t think our sniffles and coughs would be very welcomed. So we continued pottering around the house – then Tress did the laundry and I washed the very soiled cars. As the day went on, I got a bit more tired as the cold worsened. It felt like an anti-climactic turn, after a really good break in some ways.

Being away for Christmas and New Year, being harried in the busy environments of Bangkok and Klang, meant I did little (or no) reflection. What 2018 was and meant, and what 2019 may look like, were matters I did not think about at all. I have now, so the process is really only starting. Perhaps another entry would flesh these out.

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