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This is sort of a continuation from the last post which was written rather impulsively; I was feeling so comfortable curled up with my daughter in her bed while watching the rain outside that morning, and the desire to write was too compelling . This post is about the last leg of our very brief visit to Kota Kinabalu, but regardless, it had left on me a huge and renewed impression of Malaysia and being a Malaysian. The time we had in Borneo was filled with fun and lots of laughter, but more importantly, it came with a deep sense of gratitude and contentment - in being where I was, what I have and who I am.

I took this picture on board the flight back to KLIA yesterday.
It somehow made me feel very proud to be a Malaysian, flying on a
Malaysian airline in Malaysian airspace. It was what inspired me
to write this post last night, which "coincidentally"
was the eve of Hari Malaysia. 
By and large, the common people of Sabah, those whom we met on the streets, in the shops and restaurants, and of course my stepdaughter's parents-in-law who are natives of Sabah, are such nice, pleasant people. Many were very helpful too. Driving and sometimes walking through the heart of Kota Kinabalu, my brother-in-law noticed and kept repeating "There are no policemen in KK!". I wonder if this could be a reflection of the peace and harmony amongst the Sabahans, and how nice if it were true.

According to my sister, Prof. Azni who visits Sabah quite frequently considering there are two UiTM campuses here, police action is mostly seen when they are conducting raids at nights to clamp down on illicit activities involving foreigners especially. Otherwise, business for the locals are centred around the vast and abundant resources available in this state.

Just two hours before our check-out time at the apartments we stayed at, Marzia had asked to go to the fish market. Back home, she would never have been keen on going to the market, marketing or anywhere that's wet and reeking of raw fish. So I had thought that she was just joking and brushed off her suggestion. But she had actually insisted on it. I found it rather strange but since Abang Pin and Azni were game, I just went along. So off we went to the wet market which is situated right beside the jetty, across where we stayed. I found myself having difficulty keeping up with her very brisk walk towards the sounds of people trading, bargaining, and chopping. "Hurry Mama!!"...I couldn't believe this was my daughter.

"Mama, look at the size of the fish!"
Once inside the market, all the four of us, Abang Pin, Azni, Marzia and I, walked around with our mouths gaping and as rounded as our eyes, and each of us pointing at every direction of the market exclaiming "Look at this!" and "Look at that!". Fish normally as big as our palm were four feet long here! Cockles nearly as big as a fist were sold in abundance, together with various other enormous shellfish.  The smaller fish, prawns and squid were so fresh and firm they looked like they were still alive.  We would have stayed there forever but we had a flight to catch so we quickly picked our choice of seafood to bring home. Then I knew what Marzia had come here for...her favourite crabs. We bought five kilograms of it, and as soon as we got back home, I prepared her favourite kari ketam for dinner, and fried crabs simply seasoned with salt and lots of black pepper for the husband, just the way he loves it

A variety of shellfish.

Fish so fresh they can be arranged upright!

Squid that seem to be
dancing with life.

This may seem like a very ordinary story, but I certainly didn't feel in the least ordinary. This is Sabah, a state in Malaysia where I come from and where I live. A state, a country which is in abundance not only in resources but also in opportunities. Yet for some it is just not enough.

It is up to us to make a life of what God has granted. As the saying goes, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But don't stop there, make lemon meringue pie, and lemon body scrub, or grow more lemons. What we saw in the market and at the eating stalls were just a tiny fraction of what life here in Malaysia has to offer.

Ever since he lived with me here, my dear husband
would put up the Malaysian flag on both Hari Merdeka
and Hari Malaysia. 

Today, we celebrate Hari Malaysia, and I am simply so grateful for what I have right now, the freedom to live where I want, to practice where I want and the opportunities to fulfill my dreams. But that doesn't mean I won't pursue bigger plans. As long as I am bestowed with good health, I wish to work and contribute to the nation in any way I can, as long as I can. Hari Malaysia for me is not just a is a celebration of being the best Malaysian that I can be.  

It's a cold, rainy Monday in the Land Beneath the Wind and I'm writing this post using my Samsung Mega under the duvet beside my daughter. The curtains are drawn and as I write this, the sea is in my full view. Oh, what bliss!

There is nothing more I love than to be by the sea. The vast spread of rippling waters and the sight of boats bobbing on the surface provides a sense of serenity and calmness not found anywhere else.

What more when I am here with the people I love family, or at least a part of it. We arrived in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday for my stepdaughter's wedding reception on her husband's side. His home town in Tuaran is 30km from Kota Kinabalu.

The newly married couple, my husband, sister and brother-in-law
 and stepdaughter's parents-in-law.

It was so pleasant walking along the waterfront
and stopping by anywhere that caught our fancy.

Azni loves pearls and adorns them almost everyday
as part of her working wardrobe. Most befitting I would say.

The trip was also an opportunity for Marzia to meet up with Dr. Zehan, her childhood friend who is posted to the hospital here. Dr. Zehan joined us for a glorious seafood dinner at the Philippines Market at the Waterfront.

Daughter and sister on the wharf after dinner at a Thai restaurant.

Besides my husband and daughter, my eldest sister Prof. Azni and her husband, Abang Pin are with us. She was so keen to be with us on this trip, wanting to take a break after the hectic and high-profiled Global Economic Summit in which she was Chairperson. It was said to be an astounding success.

My sister is always extremely busy, as she puts the interest of the university on top of her priority list. So time with her is precious and few. We had spent some wonderful time together here shopping, eating, walking along the waterfront and whatever else people do on a holiday.

This is a very, very rare picture of my husband.

We'll be checking out before noon today, and once we're back in KL we'll be back to our normal lives again. Work and life goes on as usual, but the memory of the time we shared together will remain with me for a very long time. The time that was meant only for us.

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