Annie’s extended family on her father’s side is from George Town, Penang, and every timewe’ve goneto visit, we stayed with family. Usually, that meant staying with Annie’s godparents, her uncle and aunt. They are such hospitable and kind folks, and we always loved spending time with them.
Staying at their place is pretty cool because it’s in a relatively quiet neighborhood, but with quick access to some main roads if we want to go somewhere. We could be sitting at home, chatting (usually about where we want to go eat) and the next minute be on our way out for some assam laksa, char kway teow, or nasi kandar.
The neighborhood itself is very walkable. Many times I just take my camera and go wandering off in one direction, looking for neat stuff to snap. It was on one of these jaunts that I came upon a fence that was completely covered in this dense vine, bearing these incredibly blue flowers:
I can’t believe it’s been 9 months since we left Sarawak to return to the States! While we are settling in to our new home, we still keep in touch with our old friends from Kuching, through Facebook, email and WhatsApp. They’re always sending pictures of the yummy Sarawakian food that they’re eating, like Sarawak laksa and kampua mee. The good thing about dishes like these, though, is that we can make them at home, as the ingredients are not impossible to get.
One thing we cannot get, though, is dabai. Dabai, also known as “Sibu olive” (though it is not a true olive but a completely different species, Canarium odontophyllum), is grown only in Sarawak, generally in the central part of Sarawak around the town of Sibu. Over the years that we lived in Sarawak, we grew to love eating dabai. It’s one of the foods I really miss.
Three and a half months after moving back from Malaysia to the US, we’re feeling a bit more settled now. We have moved into a new house in San Jose, and I have started a new job (praise God) in San Francisco with a great non-profit organization.
Since we left almost everything we had in Malaysia except for some clothes and important items, we really need to refurnish our new place with everything – dining set, sofa, TV, beds, desks – to get the House of Annie back in operation. Fortunately, our friends have been very kind to us by donating a lot of things. But we are still missing a few things.
On Friday, I came home to find that the kids had prepared a “treasure hunt” for me, feeding me clues at each point around the house. They eventually led me outside to the shed.
We’ve been back in San Jose for a few days now, and we are slowly getting over the jet lag (not easy when there’s a 16 hour time difference between here and Malaysia). It’s been pretty smooth so far, thanks in large part to our good friends who helped to ease us back in. I got a head cold the first day back, and experienced some troubling heart palpitations as well, but they couldn’t stop me from taking us out to our favorite Saturday morning destination: the farmer’s market at West Valley College in Saratoga, CA.
Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.
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