One of the most disorienting things about living in Malaysia is managing the passage of time.  If time is relative, my Michigan-born brain is hardwired to relate it to snow on the ground vs. jumping in the lake.  Neither of these things happen here, and so it takes me longer than it should to determine the time of year.  Just this morning, someone posted a picture of their patio covered in snow.  My initial thought: “Snow in JUNE?”.  I searched, seconds passed, and eventually realized it was October.

Aside from snow vs. lake, there are a lot of clues missing for the passage time.  Clothing for instance, white pants and shorts are always OK.  The only shoes I have with closed toe are running shoes.  I own one pair of long pants, and I need to search and borrow if I am going to take the kids somewhere cold (like the mall).

There’s the shortening and lengthening of days that acts as a preview of what’s to come – totally absent at the equator.  Each day starts between 6:45 and 7:15 and ends 12ish hours later with the setting of the sun.  This is actually really convenient with kids, I’ve never had to put them to bed when it was bright as day outside. Wonder how it will go when I finally do.

Holidays are usually something to look forward to and mark time by.  However, with 18 public holidays spread pretty evenly throughout the year in one- and two-day sessions, it’s not too much help.  The two biggies over here are roving; Hari Raya (the end of Ramadan) shifts up by 11 days a year and Chinese New Year can be any time from January to March.  I am not complaining about 18 public holidays a year.  Not at all.

One thing that is obvious here is knowing the time of day.  Our neighborhood muezzin acts as our church bell tower, with the “man singing” five times a day.  Even Miles can tell time like this:

  • 6am: Time to get up
  • 1pm: Nap time
  • 4:30pm: Pool Time
  • 7:30pm: Kid’s bedtime
  • 8:30pm: Momma’s bedtime

As much as I will miss the pool every day of the year, and even the man singing, we are craving seasons.  Even Austin seasons are pronounced compared to here.  We’ll continue to enjoy our holidays, summer clothes, easy potty training (who needs clothes?), flip flops, warm rains and consistent days until the indeterminate amount of time passes and we are back to seasons-land.  I’m thinking it will be a bittersweet day.