The things we took for granted

October 31, 2015 in Senti-Emmental

For the past few weeks i’d been feeling like i didn’t want to live anymore.

Well, i didn’t want to live a life like this in Malaysia anymore, to be precise. I wanted to go back to Japan. Or any other place where there was no haze. I didn’t want to deal with it because i didn’t know how to.

What could i do? I bought two of the most expensive air purifiers i could find online (because i didn’t want to drive out in the haze to buy), i sealed every single window in my house tight (I went batshit crazy when i saw one that was accidentally open the other day). I limited my groceries to the market downstairs and wore N95 masks when i had to go out of the door. I grounded Junya and myself at home for 3 weeks with our aircons and air purifiers blasting at MAX. I cancelled all his classes and most of my meetings. It was the freaking Apocalypse for me.

I felt like i wasn’t living a life a sane human was living. I may as well be in a jail in Nebraska and breathe better air.

Worse, i felt that i failed to protect my family. The danna had high fever and insanely bad headaches, Junya developed a mysterious rash, and i just felt like i may as well be dead.

But the worst of it all, was that there was no one to blame. Yes i can blame the people who burn the forrests in Indonesia, but so what? It still didn’t change anything. And everybody in my country was living the same life breathing the same shit air as i did. Complaints are futile. Suck it up, loser.

I wished we didn’t live here. It made me angry that we had to.

I honestly thought of fleeing the country and move temporarily to Japan with Junya alone (the danna had work so he could not be away. Plus he wasn’t as emotionally affected by the haze as i did. He probably thought i was totally overreacting). But i didn’t trust myself enough to do it without the husband. I will be alone. With Junya. Doing everything on my own.

But there’s no haze in Japan. Junya will be breathing the best air he ever could. We will stay healthy. I can bring him for picnics. I can just stay until the haze blows over and then return back. It will be okay. Some friends will help me out. We will be happy.

But we don’t have a house. I will have no job. I won’t be able to make any money.

No. Think of Junya. He can’t be living in a country like this!!! We don’t even know when this will stop!!!! WHAT IF IT DOESN’T????

Thoughts like that just kept spiraling down to the darkest bottom.

I was so emotionally shaken. One moment i thought, okay, think positive. Think happy. It will pass. All will come to an end. And then another moment anger engulfed me and i felt like i wanted to set fire to this country. Which… will make things worse. And then i’ll be like, okay, just change your mind, easy. Think about it from another angle. You are resting well now, spending quality time with your son, yes? And then it was all YES BUT EVERYONE IS SICK! NONE OF US WILL FEEL THIS SHIT IF WE WERE NOT STUCK HERE. I AM SLOWLY KILLING MY WHOLE FAMILY. But wait, ok at least you escaped 3 weeks of these crap weathers when you were in Japan, yes? You are so much luckier than many other people in this country!! Please be more thankful!!

Okay, calm down… take a deep breath.

Take a deep breath of SHIT AIR, you mean????????????

So yea. I couldn’t even take a deep breath without going crazy.

Like that. For 3 weeks.


And then we had a short business trip to Singapore, (which wasn’t really an escapade from the current situation, because Singapore was having equally shit of not shittier haze problem.)

And then all of a sudden.

On our way back from Singapore, this.

It would have been a very very very normal sight on a highway, a few months ago. But it felt like forever. Too long.

And it has now been 3 clear days with fluffy clouds and vaguely blue sky.

And my wretched heart loosens, all the woes disappeared into the clouds. I literally thanked the sky and prayed for it to stay that way.

It feels like i am ready to live a life again. It felt like i have just survived an apocalypse. I felt like the ending scene of Mad Max Fury Road.

I want to go to the pool with Junya again. I will air my clothes in the balcony again. I want to walk Champon in the park again. Even in the hot weather. It is okay.

But most of all, i will never take all these things for granted again. Clean air, blue skies, clear vision. We were too busy to appreciate things that we thought were a given. We expected them without any gratitude.

Until it’s gone.

Today i woke up, still in my bed, i peeked at the window. I smiled and said, thank you for this beautiful day.

I am not sure if it will ever come back and haunt me again, but until it does, i want to feel happy and thankful for when it is gone.

17 responses to “The things we took for granted”

  1. sara says:

    How terrible. I would freak out too with a young child in those conditions.

    I’m planning an international move with my family for next year and pollution is a big obstacle for many countries we would consider moving to otherwise.

    Sounds like you’re doing the responsible thing to do to protect your family during these horrible spells. As a parent you can only do the best you can!

    • cheesie says:

      Yes i agree! And where are you moving to? 🙂

      • sara says:

        Not sure yet! We are job searching at the moment so the whole world is up for grabs. Pollution is unfortunately one of the things we have to keep in mind, as parents to a young child. That might limit us in our choice.
        We are lucky in that regard, lots of people don’t get to choose. Hopefully things will start getting better and your environment will get healthier too!

  2. Laura K says:

    Im sorry you are so badly affected by the haze 🙁
    It sucks so much indeed! Every time I plan to go do something I have to cancel it because going outside is equal to slow suicide. On the bad days I feel like I’m not getting enough oxygen from the air I breathe causing headaches and fatigue. It sucks so bad. But then, I’m an exchange student, I get to go back to clean (freezing) air in a months time. I really hope for everyone that the forest fires will stop… 🙁

    Btw, as a psychology student, ever thought of getting a daylight lamp? Just being inside and not seeing any sunlight can make people depressed! In Scandinavia every family has a daylight lamp to stop everyone from getting SAD (no pun intended! SAD stands for seasonal affective disorder).

    • ayn says:

      thanks for that. I am getting depressed, and maybe not having enough sunlight for this 2years of working at home is the cause. thanks so much 😊

    • cheesie says:

      Hello Laura!! Oh i never thought about that!! I guess we all grew up in this tropical country not needing one (don’t even know if they sell one here XD). But for me it’s not so much the sunlight (i love hiding at home haha), but i totally get what you mean! When i was in winter countries i felt like my days are wasted because the days were so short 🙁

  3. Feliz says:

    The haze sucks so bad and it’s getting worse year by year. I really hope the forest fires will stop soon. Really makes us grateful for clear air and blue sky.

  4. C says:

    Why don’t you move to Japan as many other readers suggested?

  5. Scarlett says:

    OMG!! Feel sorry to hear that!!! God bless!!Hope Malaysia and Singapore will get well soon!!

  6. Angie says:

    When that happened, my son just turned 3 months old. *furious max
    Heart ached so much when seeing my fragile newborn exposed to shit air!
    Even my dog also can’t go for walks!

    • cheesie says:

      Angie, i know. When it happened last year, I WAS CARRYING A NEWBORN JUNYA OUT OF THE HOSPITAL IN HAZE. T________T It really felt so so so so so crap.

  7. mink says:

    Hi Cheesie, when I read your post i went “I am not alone”. I had all those shit thoughts, feelings, emotions etc all rolled into one. I hated the thought I’m allowing my son to breath in this shit air and the feeling of wanting to murder the country was so strong I thought I was going crazy. Like you, I wanted to escape away somewhere with clean air but…how do I do it when there are job responsibilities to pay for real life. I get so down, I beat myself up for not providing a healthier environment for my son. Every year, he has to breath in weeks of bad air and what am I doing? Absolutely nothing! [apart from having the purifier and air con to purify and recirculate the air, wearing masks out etc]. The feeling of wanting to change the situation but so helpless in every single way really took a toll.

    And then, like you said…we could see clouds again! I was sooooooo happy my little boy and I sang made-up songs about how pretty and wonderful the sky is. I’ve never felt more grateful to see the puffy clouds, blue skies and the sun!

    • cheesie says:

      Omg thank you for this. I guess we really needed to share feelings and vent it out. I get very frustrated when people around me didn’t seem much affected by it, like, omg am i overreacting???? How can anyone just carry on life as usual???? How can this become a norm in this country?????? You mean nobody cares anymore now that it is unavoidable????? Just “no choice” and “what can we do?” ?????

      Liddis. lol. So yea, thank you for sharing too, it’s really nice to know that we are not alone T____T.

  8. C says:

    I haven’t been to Malaysia before so I haven’t experienced the haze. However, I went to visit China where the sky is grey 24/7 and it got me so depressed and worried, even though I was only there for 3 weeks. When I returned to the US, even though I lived in a city with a lot of pollution as well, I was so thankful just to see a blue sky!

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