My family and I live in Singapore now, and we travel to Japan many times a year. It is ironic that the place that I called home, is the place that we visit the least now.
I am often asked if I miss anything back home in Malaysia. The answer is yes, of course. There are many many things that I miss. After all I have spent my entire life there. Seeing the @CNABringsMYHome campaign made home especially more nostalgic.
Like most people who are away from home, of course the thing that I miss most is my family. My mom lives in Seremban, the town that I grew up in, with Cheddie and Champon. Many people wonder where Champon is since we have moved to Singapore. He lives with my mom now. We had plans to bring him over to Singapore with us, but got postponed because of his health issue. We miss him dearly.
It would be nice if I have Doraemon’s Dokodemo Door. Really. Then I can go back to KL every alternate day to meet my friends and eat all the nice food I miss, and then to Seremban to have lunch with my mom, walk the dogs, and then come back to Singapore to prep dinner for the danna and kids haha.
But that only happens in an ideal world. And in Doraemon.
My friends always ask me which Malaysian food I miss the most, and usually I’d say Char Kuey Teow because honestly, I haven’t found any CKT in Singapore that can fix my craving just yet.
My favorite from a hawker center in Bangsar.
But strangely, recently I started to miss nasi lemak. Not just any nasi lemak, but the mobile nasi lemak truck in front of my previous apartment. One pack of nasi lemak with sambal sotong and fried egg wrapped in a brown wax paper cost $3. It was the danna’s favorite, and mine too. The seller is a hardworking young man who arrives at the apartment every day at 8am, and usually starts packing and leave at 10am. Once the danna and I tried to estimate how much this young man can earn in a month selling nasi lemak like this. We concluded that it really isn’t any more than if he just work in a regular company or even just driving a taxi. Plus imagine how early he has to wake up to do all the preparation work! But there he is, every day without fail, and ever so bright and happy-looking. So we thought maybe he really really loves selling nasi lemak haha. And we also realize that, what we miss is maybe not the nasi lemak itself, but we just wanted to see his smiley face again and to support his little truck business every time we go back.
Other than food, I also miss the times when I was close to all my relatives and when I played with my cousins. My late grandma had eleven children, so I had a big family.
My grandma was a super super super woman. Haha. Can you imagine bringing up THIS MANY kids now??
I remember my cousins and I stole freshly hatched chicks and got chased by the angry hen back in the Malay kampung when I was a small kid. We also played masak-masak with a candle between two bricks, a milo tin’s lid on top, and a few drops of oil stolen from the 神台油灯 lol (omg I really stole a lot of things back then!!!), and cook leaves and flowers we picked up from the yard. Once I got bored of cooking vegetarian dishes, I even dug out a cacing and grilled it… @.@ By the way I remembered digging for lots and lots and lots of cacing to feed the stolen chicks omg. If I see one now I’d totally scream lol. What happened to me?? Adulthood, that’s what.
I hardly keep in touch with any of my relatives and schoolmates now. My cousins and friends have all grown up and have their own family and live a different life. So have I.
Friends of 2 decades. We catch up almost only every CNY when I return back to home town. That’s us, from two rebellious teenagers to having four extra little monsters now.
As for relatives, it takes only weddings and funerals nowadays to get to see some of them again.
The last time I saw everyone together was during my own wedding dinner in Seremban back in 2012.
And the most recent family gathering happened last month. I rushed back to Seremban for a wake as there was a loss in the family. It was heartbreaking.
Separation is inevitable, no matter how hard you try to prevent it from happening. But every time I revisit home, my memories get refreshed again. Some are distant, some a little blurry. Some gives a spark of joy, while some too painful to recall. But I know they are all memories that will stay with me forever no matter where I go.
If you are also away from home like me, you can share your own story and include the #CNAsangatrindu hashtag so that we can all read one another’s stories.