In my poshest British accent, I asked “Do you think the Queen of England has ever had chilli crabs? What about banana leaf rice?”
To which my incredibly wise cousin, who is only nine replied, “Anyone who has never tried banana leaf rice has never lived.”
That’s what it’s been like being back home – a full on eating marathon with no end in sight. I also get the occasional, “someone’s gotten a little chubby”. I’ll have another kuih thank you very much.
I’ve spent the past two weeks hanging out with my parents the most. It’s so strange being home without my sister (who has started an amazing blog by the way), with my newly retired mum and my socially awkward dog.
My days are also filled with work (I still write and do stuff for TrekkSoft), figuring out what to have for lunch, hanging out with my aunt and grandma, the occasional burst of inspiration and itch to write, and a little bit of catching up with old friends.
I went for lunch with my grand aunt and uncle from Australia. Over lunch, family gossip dominated much of the conversation over pork ribs and noodles. I learned that you should love someone and show your love for said person when they’re alive, not when they’re dead. There’s simply no point.
After lunch, my grand uncle Joe also met up with his old school mate. They were in the same class when they were 17. “He was very naughty in Form 5!” said his friend. They are now 69. I learned that time flies and that relationships are precious.
I also went to a restaurant with a live band who performed Cantonese, Mandarin and Hokkien songs. There was a dance floor and an older lady named Daisy. I boogied with my grandma and Daisy and my cousins. My grandma taught me how to dance a four step. I learned that age is just a number and you’re never too old to dance to good music.
I went to church and said hi to old friends and their mums. I learned that the past can stay in the past and that people change. One day, you will genuinely be excited for someone else’s success and you will want the best for them.
My dad and I went out one night and I asked him to come along as I sat in the driver’s seat for the first time in more than 14 months. I learned that time can past but my dad will always be the person I want next to me as I get used to driving a new car. I learned that I will also always find my dad funny.
After lunch with my relatives from Australia, we drove past a field where some boys were playing football. I watched them as we waited for the light to turn green. I learned that that familiar and comfortable feeling of being home will never disappear. No matter how far I go, or how long I’m gone for, home will always be home.
And a bunch of boys playing football in the field will always remind me of my own childhood, of blissful ignorance I once enjoyed here.