Have you ever gone on vacation, and after returning home felt like you needed even more time to recuperate from it? I have. This usually happens when you keep yourself busy seeing all the sites and doing all the fun activities you planned, while not leaving much down time for resting or thinking. As I mentioned in my last post, we’ve been keeping very busy lately. And I’ve decided it’s busier than I want to be.
Because we’re in a fairly touristy town right now, one of the questions we’re often asked is, “Are you here on holiday?” At first, we always answered, “No, we live here.” After all, we did plan to stay in Malaysia for at least three months. We rented a house and a car, signed the girls up for art and Chinese classes and a community choir, and even made some friends we hung out with regularly. I work a little every day, and we homeschool the girls. So it’s not a vacation in the sense that most people think of it.
But since we’ve arrived in Penang, Malaysia, I’ve felt more like we’re on vacation than like we’re living here. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the variety and magnitude of all that is around us. There are new foods to try, unique temples to visit, beautiful nature to enjoy, educational classes to enroll in, seasonal activities to participate in, cool friends to get to know better, interesting cultures to understand, and we want to do it all right now!
Coming from Costa Rica where the pace of life is slower, and there is simply less to do, Penang has been an exciting stimulation to all our senses. We partly expected it, but I think our excitement has caused us to try to do too much at once, and we’re feeling a bit tired and drained (or maybe that’s just because of the heat). This is a night town, too, where some restaurants don’t open until 7pm, and they stay open until two or three in the morning! So we often don’t get to bed until after midnight and we wake up late, which gives us the illusion of having shorter days. It’s an interesting cycle.
So right now, I feel like I just want to slow down, finish writing my book (or even just read a book), focus more on building my business, and relax with my family. I’ve made that a little more difficult than necessary by purchasing some extremely discounted AirAsia tickets to Singapore, Bali, and Japan for this Spring. Each of those trips is requiring more time for planning than I anticipated. I know they will be rich and rewarding experiences, and I’m trying to leave some things to spontaneity, such as any longer-term (7+ days) accommodations which we’d like to see in person before we commit to. But I don’t want to go unprepared, either.
We’ve also decided to not spend a full 3 months in Penang, but to spend our last month in Kuala Lumpur, renting an apartment there, if we can, and taking life a little slower. We’ll leave all the beautiful islands with crystal clear water and the nature of the Sabah/Borneo side of Malaysia for another time. Kuala Lumpur is a new city for us, though, full of fun activities and interesting sites. But we’ve decided that we’re not going to try to do them all. We’ll focus on a few highlights and the things that are most important to us, and take a lot of rest days in between. We’ll refocus on creative education (for example, we’ve enrolled the kids in a 5-day children’s technology workshop), and maybe I’ll finally even get some time to work on my book.
Vacations are great. But sometimes I just want to “live.”