Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Sunday Text didn't appear with the photos

I woke up around 4:30 a.m. and could not go back to sleep. So I listened to the rain pouring off the terra cotta tiles and running down the gutters making me long for a good soaking rainstorm in Oklahoma. Here it rains everyday. They do not know what a drought feels like.

It was just starting to get a little bit light at 7:00 a.m. so I put on my running clothes and snuck out of the house so as not to wake anyone. I went to the back door and out to the back gate but there was a lock on the gate I could not open. I was halfway up the gate to climb over it when I saw How King's neighbor looking at me from her back porch. I decided that I would not scale their fence. I went back through the front and set out on my run.

It was a dreary morning with drizzle and fog, but I loved it. It was cool and humid and all my senses were reminding me that I was in a different country. The smell of the rain and humidity, the sight of the limestone cliffs, the sound of the monkeys screeching and the fish jumping. I did not see another human being the whole run. I felt like i was running in a postcard.

Later in the morning we went out for Dim Sum. Uncle Weng Wah and his wife. Sharon met us at the restaurant. Uncle Weng Wah started to fill us in on my grandparents. I had known that my paternal grandmother (not the woman who raised him, but birth mother) had died having an illegal abortion. It would have been her 14th child. Weng Wah was 13 at the time she died so my father must have been 6. But he was living with his Auntie who was raising him. I also learned that there was another child given away to a family in Singapore. A girl who was given away as a baby with "no strings attached". Later in life Weng Wah says he and his father went to Singapore to try and find her but never did. He said it always bothered his dad. Their Dad died of esophageal cancer at the age of 70. It was a terrible illness that lasted 5 years and was a horrible way to die.

My dad's father was a salesman and had a store that sold ice. The entire family lived upstairs above the shop in 4 rooms. My dad knew his family and would spend a lot of time over there but did not live in the rooms above the shop. He lived with Auntie.

I learned so much at breakfast this morning about my father's family. My dad is not much of a talker and I did not know most of this.

My uncle Weng Wah also gave us Chinese names. Mine is Lim Mei Lin. The surname is said first and Mei Lin means beautiful. I can't pronounce Tim's chinese name. He also assigned one for Greg but I can't spell them right now. Then he wrote the chinese characters for them on a piece of paper.

After breakfast we went to Aunt Sharon and Uncle Weng Wah's house. They are both very artistic. They paint, sing, play the piano and garden. I have the most beautiful pictures from their yard and of their art work. They are so talented.
Next my Dad's cousin Doris (How King's biological sister) took us shopping. It was a quick trip to look at batik fabric and sarongs. The mall was filled with head scarves. There are so many muslims here and many, but not all cover their heads. If you are a muslim woman there is a huge selection of head scarves. After shopping we went with Kin Kin (he is How King's son, my father's nephew) and had Sushi. Wow, what an amazing meal. As you would expect, the fish was so fresh and it was the most beautiful sushi I have ever seen.

My dad's cousin (How King and Doris's brother) Ronnie and his wife Irene came in from Kuala Lumpur. We visited with them after sushi. They drove from KL to see Robert. They are world travelers and are very outgoing. Ronnie is very easy to get to know and Irene is just beautiful. They invited us to come and stay with them in KL when we are passing through.

In the evening we went out for another huge family meal. There were so many relatives there and I was trying my best to follow the family tree. Dad's eldest sister was there (she is 89). His eldest brother was there too. And he has a brother that was not able to make it because he lives in Sydney, Australia. But his son, daughter and grandkids were there. One of his granddaughters was named Emily Lim. I was so excited and so was she. We became facebook friends and exchanged information. She is precious.

I learned even more about my dad's family. I told him at dinner that I was proud to be a part of this family and felt privileged to get to know them. He started to cry and I started to cry. The overwhelming hospitality is quite a testament to this strong family. Everyone is constantly wanting to do something for us. Do we need a ride, a place to stay? They are so kind and generous. And people I have never met before are embracing me with huge hugs and telling me they have waited their whole life to meet me. It is an emotional experience.

This is a picture of my dad's eldest brother and sister. His brother is 89.

And below is (from left to right) Auntie How King (my dad's biological cousin who was raised as his sister), Irene and Ronnie (Ronnie is How King's brother), and Weng Wah (my dad's brother).

This is a picture of my Dad's family. His father is in this picture but his mother is not. She had already died by then. I believe that 12 people from this photo were at dinner tonight. It was taken approximately 50 years ago. My dad is the second from the right wearing a tie.

I am exhausted and full. My dad told me on the way over, there is nothing to do but eat. I disagree about there being nothing to do, but I think he is right about the eating. We have done nothing but eat amazing food since we have arrived. I am really wishing I had packed elastic waist pants. Maybe I can start wearing a sarong tomorrow.

Good night (good morning)

1 comment:

  1. This is so great, Em. Thanks for taking the time to do this. It fills in a lot of the blanks.

    Love you.