Oh man is my skin a bright shade of reddish-pink... thankfully toned down from the painful looking reddish-purple that it was a few days ago. I discovered on my trip to Malaysia that it is possible to get very very sunburned in the shade. Yes, it's true... my body rarely saw the sun, yet my skin is somehow several obscene shades of red and pink and purple.
In spite of the crazy hot sun, Yvonne and I had a lovely holiday in Malaysia. We went to a little island called Sibu for 5 days. And when I say little, I mean little. We could walk almost the whole island in about 10 minutes (maybe less if it weren't for the heat!). How do I describe our time on Sibu? There is just one resort - creatively named Sibu Island Resort. When we landed at the dock (or jetty as they call it here), there was live tropical music with an entire line of people waiting to greet us, including someone dressed as a dolphin. Quite bizarre and very funny.
Upon recovering from our grand introduction to the island, we made our way to our room and from there quickly found our way to the beach. Lovely, minus the particularly large quantity of jelly fish. We read and napped and enjoyed the beauty of God's creation surrounding us - palm trees, water that changed from blue to green and back to blue again, wild life, a gentle breeze. It was on Day 2 that the sun attacked my body, piercing the protection I had foolishly deemed sufficient. Live and learn. The rest of my holiday was spent seeking shade and coolness, wherever I might find it. Involuntarily I became nocturnal, making my way out of the bungalow around sunset, enjoying what was left of the day.
It may sound like a flop of a vacation, but really, it was not as bad as it seemed. I was able to have some *real* down time - to allow my mind to simply stop thinking and processing and analyzing, to refrain from trying to figure out the next 20 years of my life, and to just rest. I finished the book of Isaiah, I read some Henri Nouwen and enjoyed a wonderful novel called "Life of Pi." I didn't think about the future and all of the unknowns awaiting me, I didn't wonder how I'm going to make it through language study... I just enjoyed *being* and it was quite nice. There were no major revelations or spiritual breakthroughs... I simply found solace in being in the presence of my Beloved, whatever I was doing.
A couple of highlights for me: 1 - being with Yvonne. Oh my goodness, we laughed so much (later she told me that she hasn't laughed like that since being in Asia), and we talked about life and how much fun it is going to be when I finally move into our apartment. 2 - reading just to read. I entered the world of a 15 year old Indian boy named Pi and survived the Pacific Ocean with him for 200+ days. Thrilling. 3 - being near the water. There is something life-giving in being near the open water, to hear the waves and enjoy the smell of salt water. It is a gift. 4 - hanging out with an international community. I have new friends from Portugal, Germany and Malaysia who are unique and beautiful and who make me laugh. 5 - the food. Good night is Malaysian food incredible - and yes, John, I did enjoy roti! 6 - a massage on the beach!