We are back! And I am bushed!
We got back on Tuesday actually. Had almost spent another night away in Taiping, but my mom decided against it, which was a wise decision.
We were in Penang for my brother's wedding ceremony. He had booked us 2 nights in a hotel in town, walking distance to E&O for the dinner, and it was a complete circus in the two family rooms.
For starters, the first part of the journey to Taiping (was to have lunch there and meet up with an aunt who does not know how to get about Penang) took us almost 5 hours instead of the usual 3 and 1/2 because of some road works and Max demanding to feed, so I had to stop twice. When we finally arrived in Taiping it was 2.30pm.
Taiping food is always good and CHEAP!! We stopped at the hawker center near opposite the oldest supermarket which had recently been relocated (but is still referred to as before). We had a spread of wan ton mee (home and hand made noodles), fried kueh teow (teochew style), mee rebus and leng chee kang. Our favourite peanut dessert was out by this time of the day. So was my mum's favourite "laksa chumm lemak noodle" (assam laksa plus curry mee soup noodle). We also had our favourite kedondong drink.
After all the eating and initial catching up with 2 aunts and 5 cousins who were joining us in the convoy, we set out up north. My car maintained status quo. My mum's car took on 2 of my cousin sisters. A 3 car convoy on the highway is easy.... until we hit Penang bridge at 6pm. Rush hour!!!
My brother met us at the first petrol station available on the island and led the way to the hotel. Now it's a 4 car convoy weaving though the narrow streets of Penang at rush hour. I took the tail end, feeling safer with my mum-in-law in the car. She grew up in Penang. Then somewhere in the heart of Georgetown, I got lost. Took a wrong turn and had to U turn back. Then we all had a drama trying to get into the hotel's parking, and finally checked in. It was suppose to be just my family (my older sis and her 2 babies, my younger sis, my other brother, my mom, my mum-in-law and my boys and I) staying in the hotel, and the other relatives were to stay with other Penang relatives. But on the spot my Mum decided it was too pai-seh (embarrassing) to trouble relatives from my dad's side with her sisters and children (not like they are strangers or anything like that. In fact, they are all pretty friendly), so the two rooms ended up housing:
Room 1: My 2 sisters, my mum-in-law and myself, plus 4 kids/babies (all needing some attention or more jumping space all the time + diaper changing, milk making and nursing and brain stimulating)
Room 2: 6th aunt (24-7 chatter-box) and her 5 kids (age ranged 12-18, all Mandarin speaking but really good with the 4 kids) and 1st aunt (the grumpy we didn't know what to do with for not wanting her to be left out).
My mom escaped the circus with my other bro, who is her chauffeur and all-time extra hands, feet and eyes. They stayed the relative and managed to make some things easier for my brother the groom.
The day after we arrived was the wedding day. My brother had arranged the tea ceremony to be at the hotel before dinner. So we had the whole day free to do what we want...but as it is, it's impossible to get ready and go anywhere with such a parade on a holiday.
We were waiting for my mom to come with the other car so we could all go to the beach together. Turns out she and the Penang aunt went off to look for another aunt who came back from Canada, and my bro arrived at the hotel with our 2nd cousin instead. Everyone stalled for time...for one apparent good reason or another. The last straw: My mum called and said they took a wrong turn and were going on a car trip trying to get to the other aunt who is staying with relatives on her husband's side. Finally I could take it no more and demanded we go to the beach. I got my bro to call my mum to tell her which beach to meet us, hurried everyone out and just as we stepped out of the hotel, right at the sidewalk, my mum and 2 aunts greeted us. We took another like 30 minutes to do a quick exchange of updates and finally we got all 3 cars on the road.
By the time we hit the beach it was 12:30pm! All the way I had doubted if I was pushing it too far. Crazy hour to be at the beach. But I am so glad we went. We stopped at a beach half way up Tanjung Bungah and it was well shaded. We had our fun. No one swam, but everyone got our feet wet, except my mum, her 1st sis and baby Han. The kids got their bottoms wet, so that was thrilling enough for them.
This was all that I had wanted for my boys and it sure was worth "fighting" for.
The dinner was OK. Wedding dinners are wedding dinners... except that my boys and Xue Bin had a party rolling on the confetti on the floor and must have made me look like such a bad mom....
Oh...and that Micah threw a tantrum in the middle of the tea ceremony... I must really look like a real lousy mom...
But It's Over!! That all we are relieved about.
Anyway, we got back, I was totally exhausted driving all the time. The most tiring part was coming home after the whole trip and still have to take care of the two easily excitable boys until almost 12am before hitting the hay. Daddy got back from work just in time to say good night to two drowsy boys.
I'm better now... just about.