By the time you get to read this, I would be sitting comfortably in my seat on an MH flight enroute to Sydney. Maybe even enjoying the MAS nasi lemak, which I enthusiastically recommended to a friend recently.
Yes, I am southbound once again, like the many times before this. Many of you wonder if I refer to both locations as home. Well, yes, I do, but according to different terms. And some of you ask if it gets easier each time I take off. In all honesty, it should because I would be conditioned to accept the fact that I have to get my sorry ass back to uni but unfortunately, it has not. This is especially true for this particular trip back to KL.
This trip, unlike my previous ones, was a long one. Six months to be exact. Instead of a play-my-heart-out holiday, it was also a working holiday. Many things could happen in six months. Much more than say two or three weeks.
Relationships made and broken; establishing new connections, both professional and personal; reconnecting with people who have been out of my life for a long time; disconnecting with people who are not worth my time and effort; money earned and spent; places visited and distances travelled.
There were ups and downs during the six months, in particular with my research. However, I have to admit that there were more highs than lows and there are several people I would like send a shout out to here (in no particular order and if I do not mention you here, that does not mean that you are not important, okay?).
Jian Jun, at least I got to see you in the flesh. Enjoy college life to the max (without causing and getting into too much trouble, that is)! Thank you for still being willing to meet up with me - students like you make it all worth it.
Su Ee (and family), Chee Kin, Chin Dy and Velvin, Singapore was heaps fun because of all of you - thank you so much!
Jenny, thank you for that really long (and healthy) lunch. Am always happy to make another trip to your side of town.
My research participants, my six months would have been meaningless without you. All of you. Thank you.
Miss Chia, you went all out of your way to bring me around the Klang Valley and passed to me phone numbers of possible participant centres. I cannot thank you enough for that.
Rhyann, you are my new friend, my new makan and main kaki! I will miss Aeris and Kingston heaps! You have to keep sharing photos of them with me, okay?
Rainey, you have no idea what you have gotten yourself into. But I am grateful that you are part of the Honey Bee team. I hope you learn lots with us and that you enjoy your stay with us. Thank you for choosing to be with us.
Miss Lew, your presence at Honey Bee is much missed. Why? Because you are not around to replace absent teachers, to help with sending off, and to help during bath. Sigh.... haha, you are missed because of your cheerful, happy-go-lucky demeanour more than anything else! Thank you for being part of the Honey Bee family and hope everything at your new workplace will get better!
Miss Teoh, what can I say? Your 38ness, your food cravings, your karaoke craze, your loud voice, your sudden addiction to Herbalife - they all make you a special person. Thank you for being not just my colleague, but also my friend. I will always remember our makan and main trips, especially the cycling trip to Putrajaya Wetlands and our two-day trip to Melaka.
Boey, thank you for giving me the honour to bring you to the airport. I really enjoyed the catch up and just like you, am thrilled with all the hard-earned awesomeness that is happening.
Fong (and Queenie), I am forever indebted to both of you for bringing me home safely that night from The Beer Factory. Thank you.
Sab, your cheerful demeanour and endless topics of conversation amazes me. Your shutter-happy efficiency ensures that we have up-to-date photographs to admire on your FB constantly. Having you in the group just lights things up. Thank you.
Raymond Chong, thank you for being my new lunchtime buddy. Thank you for the Jap dinner, the super random movie and McD's brekkie. That ride from The Mines, honestly, was a great help. Thank you for coming along to Penang with us, too. And I cannot thank you enough for introducing your sis-in-law. And your really adorable Mum. But more importantly, thank you for being you.
Guek Ming (and Hwee Lee), for all the yumcha (and yumzau) and makan sessions, all the tongsui and chuisui sessions, all the car rides and all the long phone calls. For the cycling at Putrajaya and the roadtrip to Penang. And especially, for allowing me to be part of your wedding. Thank you.
Fuh Ming,I am sometimes amazed at how much you understand me and at how patient you are with me - all that make you a special person. Thank you.
Voon Khong, for all the meals and movies, all the long discussions on how I could view things differently and all your encouragement, thank you.
Raymond Loh, congratulations on the the upgrading of the kopitiam! I have been recommending your place to friends and I am so happy to see you do so well. And thank you for letting me be part of the celebrations!
Chee Kit, you are an amazing person and you have to keep telling yourself that. Your positive outlook in life and never say never attitude is commendable. And I thank you for letting me be a part of your life journey.
Sandra, I am so happy that we managed to meet again after 20 long years! I am even more amazed that we both still look the same (chewah, so perasan right?). Let us both be each others' pillar of support on this exciting journey, okay? We can do it and we will do it in style!
Edwin, AsiaWorks is amazing. You are amazing and with that, our friendship is amazing. Thank you.
Kenny, your encouragement and support, however random, are much appreciated. Your presence at my AW Basic Training graduation was just heartwarming. Thank you. I apologise for not making it for your wedding but you know I am genuinely happy for you and congratulate both of you.
Jon, you are and will always be a special friend. Your wedding was so touching, I had tears in my eyes (you know, that feeling of, "Aw, my best friend is getting married... sniff sniff..."). Congratulations. And thank you.
Yuen Chai, your tip on where to look for maps is a lifesaver. Thank you.
Max (and Cath), your presence in my life in itself is a blessing. You share both my joys and sorrows. You help me think straight (ironically, over a pint or two of beer). You talk to me until I think that everything will be okay. Thank you.
Jeunn, I am so glad I had the chance to celebrate your birthday with you this year. Your willingness to go out of your way to ferry me home from wherever I am is just unbelievable. And tailing me home to ensure I am safe - I do not know anyone else who does that. Thank you.
Xin Wen, your e-mails, WhatsApp conversations and Skype calls provided much consolation. I really miss you and Michael. Thank you for your friendship, that I hope will become stronger with each event we experience together.
Samuel and Samantha, I am so proud of both of you - all grown up and not the so little cousins of mine any longer. Meimei, I am so glad that I made it to your graduation. Korkor, I will make it to taste all your new recipes, okay? Love ya lots!
Little bro, we may not be like other sis-bro pairs that can hang out together and share jokes but I honestly have much respect for you. I will be a better sister the next time I am home.
Mum and Dad, no words can express how much I love you. For everything that you have done for me and to me for the past 29 years, I thank you.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.