We had our first overseas holiday as a family and survived!!
For starters, the packing was really mind boggling. It's summer in Australia, but was told it's like four seasons a day. So in went all the longs along with the shorts and swimsuits. Yes, made sure there was lipbalm and sunblock, plus a couple of caps and plenty of socks. Everyone's got a light jacket/sweater and sandals. I felt like I was bring the whole wardrobe.
Then there was the milk and milk bottles, snacks and books and toys - all the necessities when traveling with young kids. The one discover I made was, "How to pack a bottle-cleaning brush without it getting crushed out of shape in your luggage."
Use an old milk bottle as a protective case.
7.5 hours on the plane, excluding all the waiting when you are already on board and taxing down the runway is a really really really long time for a three and a half and an almost two. Worse of all was that we had to sit separately because it was a full flight. Micah sat with Daddy somewhere in the middle and Max had a bassinet with Mommy at the front row. We sure moved around a lot.
Melbourne, 23 - 30 Dec 2007
We stayed with an old school friend and his brother, they both have migrated there. We are most thankful for their kindness and generosity : They gave us board, food and wheels.
We owe them.
Thanks to Frank and Victor, we saw a bit of the city,
a bit of the sea, Torquay to be exact (although it was so sunny, the wind was quite cold. You can see we equatorial people in longs while the locals are sunbathing.),
cruised down the Yarra river,
... and had an authentic Christmas dinner.
We went to the zoo, I think they loved the aviary the most,
the aquarium, which was really great for the boys as they love all kinds of sea creatures, and also they have been under the "Nemo Fever" for the last 2 weeks before Melbourne,
and museum. We had a picnic lunch on the museum's lawn, even! I thnk the boys really loved the open spaces they can just run around, pick up stones and stickes and watch birds and gulls at close range.
Best of all, we made friends with some of the locals and also had a family dinner with our friends' family.
It was a good close for the year. It was much needed family time. We could have just stayed a whole week in Kuantan or Taiping, and it would have been just as great - we were together and spent quality time as a family.
Oh, yes, and we celebrated Max's birthday there. He turned 2 in Melbourne! Happy Birthday Max!!
We are still a bit in Melbourne time zone - three hours ahead, which works out quite good in getting the boys up early and to bed earlier too. I just hope it lasts.
What I learnt/realised:
1. We equatorial people have our time and activity so marked by the rising and setting of the sun.
We forget that it's 9pm already and still run and play in the garden because it looks like 6pm at home. It's strange to eat dinner while it looks like 5pm outside. You get what I mean.
2. Globalisation really makes the world so small. We are all humans and all alike.
Despite the difference in culture and expectations and expression of self, we all talk about raising children, loving family members, missing family members and coping with difficulties with the same kind of heart.
3. There's no place like home.
It's the whole sense of belonging. I don't know how people do it: Migrate to another country, be uprooted from your "natural" surroundings - your family and friends and the way of life you've known all your life - and LIVE there. Should I ever have to move away from home, I will be making many long-distance calls. It'll be ages before I feel I belong anywhere else but here with my family, and I mean an extended one.
Happy New Year, everyone.