S: Malaysia 2009
FC: Malaysia 2009 | January 23 - February 14th
1: The tickets: The cost of tickets was between $1200-$1400 per person! We purchased them 7 month early - in June of 2008 and finally in January we started counting down the days to Malaysia! Our Trip To Malaysia: It certainly was interesting! It all started out when our first short hop from Sioux Falls to Minneapolis got delayed for almost 30 minutes. With our layovers already minimal as it was, any delays would certainly be cutting things a little close. When we finally landed at MSP (Minneapolis), we were greeted with anxious airline agents with carts to zoom us through the terminals to our next gate. That was actually really fun. We would not have made our connection otherwise. The flight from Minneapolis to Tokyo was more than 12 hours long. The girls did really well. Much better than we could have thought! Audrey loved take off and lading and would giggle even during the flight when there was turbulence. Eliza would nurse and fall asleep for the most part, which was nice as it cut down on time we needed to entertain her! We didn't have much time when we touched down in Narita, Tokyo either. We boarded the plane as soon as we could find the terminal, and then it was another nine hours or so before we touched down in Singapore where we were able to rent a room at the transit hotel. From Singapore we took a plane to Penang where Minh Lee's parents were able to pick us up
3: Audrey *loved* seeing Grandma Linda & Grandpa Sonny's dog, Shepherd, and petting him with Fay Cheng. While at Great Grandma's house in Sungai Panani, she sat by the backyard door for more than half an hour just looking out at everything and sitting and enjoying her Vitagen drink sitting on the stool she pulled over to use as her side table. | Eliza was of course drawn to Fay Cheng right away, loving to be held by her auntie!
5: This green ride on truck was so much fun! Eliza would push Audrey on it and even Fay Cheng would run with Audrey riding. Eliza was a bit too scared to ride on it though. Grandma Linda purchased adorable Chinese New Year dresses for the girls. Audrey & Eliza were each given adorable Koala items from Aunt Joy. Eliza was especially fond of her koala!
6: Audrey is always making new friends, even when we fly half way around the world and are in a country that speaks another language, she manages to find a little friend who lives next door to great grandma. I loved seeing these two interact between the fence! On our way to the park we saw monkeys on the side of the road. The girls thought it was so neat! We pulled over to watch them for a bit and we were able to get some great photos too.
8: You girls had so much fun at the park! First we fed some fish, which Audrey enjoyed doing with daddy. Audrey loved going on the swing, having Fay Cheng push her and going on the slide and Eliza loved to swing and go on the see-saw!
10: The minute we arrived at the apartment we were renting for the week, we headed down to the beach that was just next to the building. The girls weren't sure what to think at first. Audrey was brave and wanted to see what the beach was all about right away and with help from daddy she managed to get her dress all wet - which was traumatic for her once we left the beach and she realized how wet she really was! Eliza was so unsure of the water and she wasn't sure if she liked the sand or not.. she found it interesting. | people there were amazed by the girls looks. We had a few who asked if they could take photos of them while they were playing at the beach. And one person we saw taking photos, who didn't ask!
12: I cherished the giggles and smiles that Eliza gave while we waited to get checked into the Stella Maris apartment building. We were able to rent a furnished area with three bedrooms, with two to three beds in each room, a kitchen with dining area, two bathrooms, and a living room with a balcony that looked right over the ocean... for just $70 (us) a night! That is an amazing steal! | There was a gentleman that was just taken by Eliza - after chatting a bit he gave both of the girls "ang pow" (packets of money given around Chinese New Year).
13: In the mornings the girls would wait by the window looking down at the beach. It was the first thing they wanted to do every day! "Go to the Beach!" | Minh Lee is laughing because a huge wave came and got my pants soaked and Eliza was screaming, terrified of the wave.
17: Audrey's first time on a horse. She loved it at first, but was scared after it made a turn. Such a brave girl!
18: We spent hours at the beach every day for almost a week! Making sand castles, finding sea shells, learning to love the water and sand on our feet. Eliza even tried eating the sand and as you can see from the photos, it was quite traumatic.
20: There was one day while staying in Penang at the beach that Audrey was very sick. We prayed over her and took care of her and she was such a trooper. | So much fun to see all the family enjoying the beach and just being together.
21: Minh Lee went WAY out into the water! | Heading to the Beach! | We laughed so much looking through the photos of the beach as we saw about 8 photos where Linda was trying to get a good photo on her phone of the girls playing in the sand!
22: So much fun playing in the sand with Grandma Linda & Grandma Jenni and even Great Grandma watched from the distance!
24: Minh Lee's Dad, Sonny was a super bargainer and was able to get an awesome deal for Minh Lee & I to go para- sailing! They wanted 400 ringgit and he talked them down to 150! It was a beautiful experience and we even saw sea animals while looking down into the water.
25: Taking the fairy back from Penang to head to Minh Lee's parents house. | looking back at Penang from the ferry | Penang Bridge
26: When we got back, we went out for dinner. Eliza *loved* the rice so much she was taking huge spoon fulls and even licked her plate clean! | The girls loved stopping to say hi to Shepherd. | The girls loved walking to the local sundry shop to get Vitagen drink and other goodies. One time we let them each choose a cute little toy. Audrey picked out a battery operated train and Eliza picked out a little phone.
27: Minh Lee enjoying his favorite - Durian! | Decked out in her new items from the market - Outfit from Grandma Linda, Leg warmers, Hello Kitty purse from Aunt Fay Cheng and watch from Grandma Jenni | Playing with Grandma Linda's wooden kangaroo puzzle that Minh Lee played with as a child.
28: Eliza's first time on a big girl swing by herself!
29: The girls loved playing at the park near Minh Lee's parents home. Childhood memories of him coming to play and now seeing his children playing on the same equipment... | PRICELESS!
30: Some favorite memories were spent at Minh Lee's childhood home. Watching the dogs with Grandpa & Grandma, drawing and interacting with each other.
32: Eliza (18 months) was especially drawn to Grandpa Sonny. She would follow him around and mimic some of the ways he walked. It was adorable!
33: Eliza wasn't always so fond of being held by someone besides mom, but it was good for her! | We went out for Dim Sum, Audrey had a gerber breakfast bar we brought for her and cut into pieces. She worked SO hard with her chopsticks until she finally got a piece with Grandma Jenni's help!
35: We spent several hours looking around the beautiful Lye Huat Gardens! They had many different interesting statues, things that were made centuries ago, plants and rocks and even a zoo type area with animals! This bridge area was so beautiful! We purchased fish food, which we fed to the Koi fish in the pond! It was so fun!
37: Traffic in Malaysia is slightly different than where we are from in the US - notice there was a train, all the motorbikes squeezed through to the front of the cars! Good thing Grandma had two girls that made a seatbelt!
38: We had the opportunity to visit a rice farm! We walked through and saw how they farmed rice and different things that could be made from rice. There was one room at the top that had an amazing painting that moved around. I took a photo of my favorite part of the painting - the rainbow over the rice fields.
40: We stopped in at an adult daycare that the church here runs to have lunch with some of the residents. We made our own spring rolls, and had fried rice. It was a great experience, and the residents were very kind.
41: Audrey loved these "training chop sticks!" | When we ate the spaghetti here, it was the best Eliza had eaten the entire time on the trip!!! She loved it! | We were so blessed to have a family invite us over for a nice spaghetti dinner! It was some of the best food we had while there (although Minh Lee would def. beg to differ!) They were so amazing and made sure everything was safe for Audrey and the kids played really well together!
42: GENTING was amazing! A casino, hotel and amusement park all in one building!!! We decided to spend some time having fun going on all the rides, which the girls, especially Audrey - our little map guide - absolutely loved! | Eliza's face and arms started breaking out from all her mosquito bites (or as Audrey called them, "spadeeto" bites). It was so bad we even stopped to get medicine for them before we continued on our trip.
43: This area was SO beautiful - we tried hard to get a family photo, but the girls just were not cooperating!
45: Audrey's favorite ride was the cowboy one that went up and then came down hopping up and down. I loved finding a Pizza Hut to eat at, Audrey was pretty excited about that too and we were able to enjoy an amazing long Lion Dance!
46: The hotel in Kuala Lumpur was amazing and had a pool on the roof! We could see the Twin Towers from our balcony (16th floor) and there was a huge shopping mall just across the street!
47: Minh Lee's aunt Jenny (from Australia) brought the girls gifts - backpacks, a book and hats!! | Eliza was especially funny on this car ride home from dinner - laughing hysterically from being over tired - it made for a good laugh for all of us! Audrey wanted this umbrella soooo badly! So we splurged and bought it! She also got to go on a long shopping spree with just Grandma Jenni & Mommy and spend her "ang pow" on whatever she wanted, within reason, at the mall!
48: View from our balcony! | A yummy breakfast at Aunt Jenny's hotel. | Eliza was very fond of the little doll given to her by Pastor Clarine when we met with her for dinner.
49: Minh Lee, Fay Cheng, Aunt Jenny and Uncle Kok experiencing a fish spa. We had seen this at other malls, and Minh Lee had wanted to try it really badly! So he was excited that others wanted to try it out too! | On a tour of the Twin Towers. What a beautiful view! | Audrey was taking photos of everyone and got this great photo of Minh Lee & I!
50: Aunt Jenny, Minh Lee, and Fay Cheng enjoying Japanese food at Teppanyaki. | Theresa and Fay Cheng sharing one last cup of coffee from The Coffee Bean together. | Grandma Jenni, Theresa, Audrey, Minh Lee, Eliza, Fay Cheng, Aunt Jenny, and Uncle Kok at The Pavillion in KL.
51: Playing together at Great Grandma's in Sungai Petani | Grandma Linda, Eliza, Minh Lee, Audrey, Theresa, Great Grandma, Aunt Keng, Grandpa Sonny, and Aunt Joy.
52: Eliza especially loved these tiny oranges. She would eat half a bag at a time and my fingernails turned orange from peeling so many at once... She was eating them up as fast as I could peel them! | The girls thought these little bananas were so cute and a perfect size! | We also loved the water there - it came in a cup with a seal and a straw... the girls loved putting the straw in the cup!
53: There weren't a lot of toys to play with, but Grandma Linda's laptop had some fun kids games! | Always wonderful to see the girls interacting with Grandpa Sonny | Grandma Jenni helped blow dry Audrey's hair one morning. Audrey started 'scrunching' her hair - just like mom does - so cute!
54: Audrey spent some time in the afternoon at Superkids Church. She did fine at first, but then had to be rescued by Grandma Linda. What a brave little girl! | Before we left, Grandma Linda took Audrey to see the Lion - Audrey was a little scared, but loved posing for a photo with him and Grandma Linda!
55: We went to a mall before heading to the airport and Audrey got sick there. That's when my super fast shopping skills came in handy and I found her a decent outfit for our long trip home for a reasonable price! | playing one last time on the playground before we leave to go back to the US | It was so hard to leave Malaysia, to say good-bye to family for another couple of years. But it was so nice to be home too. The girls adjusted back to the US time slowly but surely. It took about 2 weeks of waking up at 3am and then at 5am before they finally remembered we don't wake up here until 7am! | We all had such an amazing time though. What a fun trip and such a blessing to see family. We're already planning the next trip there!