I understand that I’m not the only one who goes through this. It’s the: If I buy a coffeemaker (towels, hair dryer, pots and pans, whatever!), it means I’m putting down roots. It is a statement. A firm intent. A commitment to a place.
Well. I guess I am staying here in Penang. I bought towels and a juicer to prove it.
Penang, Malaysia and I started dating last October when I learned more about it at the International Living conference in Phoenix. Now, this was not love at first sight. In fact, I was enamored with someplace else—but I had made no commitments! Penang whispered to the intentions I had set in my heart. I could see myself living there.
I packed it up, sold it all, and took the plunge. It still wasn’t love, and it wasn’t even for a lifetime. But it was still good enough for me to take the chance. To see what the siren song was all about. Just to see.
When I arrived, Penang courted me with its scrumptious food, its smiling and gracious residents, and its joie de vivre. But was it enough to make me say, “Yes. This is my new home.”? What would be that transition point where my body and soul would make the commitment?
Much of it happened at the laundromat. Yes. The laundromat.
The first time I went to wash my clothes, a little Malaysian boy (3? 4?) and I shared funny smiles and giggles while the clothes washed. I missed my own grandchildren.
As his family finished the laundry and started to walk out, he let go of his mother’s hand and ran back to touch my forehead and shake my hand. Then, to gleefully run off again with his mom and dad. I teared up.
Penang had just welcomed me into their home.
The second time at the laundromat, I had to wait a while to dry my clothes as it was so busy. I sat down next to a gentleman. We exchanged smiles. He was reading but everyone else was on their cell phones.
A young man, maybe 16 or 17 years old, was left to finish folding his household’s laundry of bedding and curtains. The curtains were BIG and unwieldy to fold alone, so I volunteered to help. With a hesitation and an “As you please” from him, we tackled the curtains just like I remembered doing with sheets and blankets off the clothes line in North Dakota.
We laughed a little as we worked to get it right, and then smiled because we had finessed our system. When I sat back down, the gentleman next to me quietly said, “You have a good heart.” I smiled.
I looked again at the young man, and in him I saw the eyes of the young men who had called our home their home after they had fled their war-torn countries. Cambodia, Vietnam, Bosnia, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan. Again, I teared up.
Each set of eyes had carried a different look. Some were wary and frightened. Some were cautiously optimistic. Some were tired and jaded. Some were confident and open.
But each set of eyes came with a boy who just wanted to be loved and accepted by someone else who cared about them. Even if for a brief time of folding clothes. Or maybe for a lifetime.
So, Penang and I have made a loving commitment. At least for the next two years. Along with the blessing of the state through issuance of the MM2H visa, we celebrated our union by renting a long-term apartment, selecting new towels for the guest bathroom, and purchasing a new stainless-steel juicer for the kitchen.
Come visit Penang sometime. Your guest towels are waiting, and the juices will flow. In fact, I can see it all now.
If you'd like to experience for yourself what helped me to embrace such a drastic change in my life, I'd love to work with you and help you on your way to your new life, loves, and passions. Change can be scary, but this work all starts with a free consultation to see if this is a right fit for you. Book your free consultation now.
Certified Body Code Practitioner, life coach and energy healer, former non-profit executive with years of experience in caring for and about people and their place in this world. Friend of refugees and immigrants, ally to the addiction recovery community--all with respect, love, and compassion for mutual healing.