May 2014


Don’t know how, but seems Miles suffers the same affliction I do each time I turn out onto an empty road – which side do I drive on???

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This picture was taken at our new “accessible” playground at the youth park.  It has an awesome traffic section, as shown here, that you can fly into off the “slide” of a ramp heading down from the parking lot.  We love this park – if only it had a bit of shade!

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Each year, right at the start of rainy season, these yellow trees flower and slowly drop showers of tiny golden blooms all over the streets below.  It is mesmerizing to watch them float down.  We had a six-week flower-rainy season, and most of it will be done by June 1.  I managed to catch a few photos of it behind our apartment, covering the sidewalk and filling the gutter.

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Each year, it corresponds to the festival mini-Thaipusam, in which children have their hair shaved, then their heads coated in saffron-hued sandalwood.  Wish I could have captured these two together. Here’s one of my favorites of Tim’s:

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Unexpectedly, we have a new lease on Life in Penang, with a 12 month contract finishing Summer 2015.  Four Years will become Five – We’re extending!

This all went down around the beginning of May, when Tim was asked to say and take on more leadership responsibilities at the office in Penang.  It is a great opportunity for him career-wise.  Personally, it works out really well for our family.  The kids are settled into school and loving it.  I’ve been doing some sessions as a personal trainer, and the community we’ve formed here is a hard one to leave.  We’re really excited about the chance to stay, to enjoy our charming island with it’s wonderful weather (we’re finally used to the heat & humidity!), to enjoy the cultural and culinary experiences of living in South East Asia, and maybe get to a few spots on the travel radar we may have missed.

But the day after it was announced, I was an emotional mess.  I didn’t realize how far down the path of leaving I had gone in my head.  The bags were packed up there for some time, and while I was happy to stop packing (nothing is easier than doing what you are doing – change is what causes stress), I ignored the fact that my trajectory was towards leaving and this announcement would be a change after all.  Switching gears again, even with all the positive responses and encouragement from local friends, felt hard.

Luckily, with the wonderful support of our family and friends all over the world, I am back to a good place about our situation.  I’m making plans and setting goals, and enjoying being right here right now.  As for you, the invitation is back out there – come visit the Stelzers in Penang!

Although I would like to be, I am not that mom that brings out messy projects, or even allows messy projects.  Those moms seem so fun, their houses so livable and creative.  I, on the other hand, get palpitations when my kids eat rice indoors.  The kids don’t own any markers and our crayons are washable.  Legos get picked up or they get vacuumed up.  We spend a lot of time (getting dirty) outside.

So when Miles pulled out the poster paints for a living room session, I tried.  I rolled up the rug, drew the curtains, had them take off all their clothes and let them go for it.  I had to rein myself in, avoid yelling or crying, only controlling a wayward brush every now and then.  It took nearly all the strength I could muster, and at the end it wasn’t so bad.

Here’s to loosening up (I’m toasting you with the drink I needed before the paint was dry).

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Tim and I try to go out just the two of us (or maybe with some other adults) at least once a week.  We try out new restaurants, go to every live music show we hear about (there aren’t many), or sip a beverage or two. A few weeks ago, the stars aligned and we got all three in one spot!  We most often go into Georgetown, and this venue was a bit further away, but we saw live jazz at a wine bar where we could order in amazing Thai food.  Great night!

Maybe this is our first mobile selfie ever!  I know there’s been plenty on “real” digital cameras…

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Finally, after shifting and shifting our furniture, the kids have a designated spot to get crafty.  Here they are in the art corner drawing-drawing.  Very focused!

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In Miles’ meal planning, he designated Thursday morning breakfast at the market.  We headed down for fresh juice, roti canai and a bowl of wan tan mee.  Total Cost for the 3 of us: 13 RM = $4.20.

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