Friday, September 10, 2010

Salam Aidilfitri 2010

I have been wanting to write this post for the longest time.

Eid this year has been especially emotional for me. Last year I was still struggling with the motherhood, the little boy who constantly needed my attention, being back in Malaysia after two years of being abroad living out of a suitcase, and last but not least - building a family. But this year, everything is perfect. I enjoy being a Mummy (with the help of Bibik, of course), Aiden is more independent and a bit more predictable, I enjoy my work in sunny ol' Malaysia and Hubby and I have never been so good together. Which means, with all this perfectness in place, I have less to worry about and more time to think. By think, I mean ponder, and wonder, and reminisce.

What has been bothering me is the Eid that I had two years ago. Everytime I hear any lagu raya on the radio, I would automatically reminisce and subconciously cringe at the thought of that Eid.

That year, on certain circumstances, I was forced to celebrate Eid in a foreign land. I was far away from family and friends. I had a course to take in Rijswijk and the closest Malaysian friend I had back then was staying in The Hague. Ever since I worked in Sakhalin, I would go through Ramadhan in Russia and then fly back to KL a week before Eid, so being in Netherlands for Ramadhan didn't really bother me. But it was the Eid. I had never celebrated Eid without family.

The week before Eid, I started to feel down and depressed. I was in a foreign land. There were no fake ketupat cases hanging from shop ceilings, or lagu raya, or berbuka buffets or even raya sales, no indication at all that there was a big celebration coming up. People went about doing their own thing. Work went full on as usual. And I was feeling sad and miserable. My colleagues and friends couldn't relate to what I was feeling. Because I knew I was going to celebrate Eid alone, it affected me so much that I couldn't concentrate on work. I distinctively remember this one phone call that I had with Hubby, in which he said "Kawan I ada jual biskut raya kat office, tapi I tak tau nak beli untuk apa. Tahun nie I rasa I tak sambut raya...". Also, that was the first time we celebrated Hubby's birthday apart. We didn't even get to talk on the phone at midnight, I called but there was no answer so I had to make do with only a text. Needless to say, I cried a bucketful of tears during those two nights.

The day before Eid, I called Hubby. I desperately pitched the idea about me flying home but he tried to talk me out of it, something about it being expensive and all. After I got off the phone with him, I made up my mind. I wanted to go home. I didn't think that I was going to be able to survive 3 straight months away from Malaysia (one month Sakhalin, one month Netherlands and one month Sakhalin again before heading home). I couldn't claim my flight ticket from the company so I had to fork out my own money for the trip. The ticket was so expensive that I had to borrow some money from a friend. The minute they printed the tickets, I was already running all the way to the departure gate (that was how last minute the decision to go home was made).

I couldn't get a seat on Malaysia Airlines, so I was forced to take KLM. No halal food. Meaning I had to go through the whole trip before I could get a decent meal. The small talk I made with the mat sallehs on board were also pointless. They didn't understand the concept of watching corny slapstick shows of lawak Melayu and reruns of lame (but funny) Malay movies during petang Raya. Also, how the hell do you explain to a non-Malaysian about going to the cinema on Raya kedua to watch a silly Prof Razak Mohaideen movie which you normally wouldn't watch on normal circumstances as it insults your intelligence but you just do it anyway for the heck of spending time with family and just because it is Raya? Nor did they understand the meaning of the song "Balik Kampung" and "Dendang Perantau" which was playing over and over again in my head all throughout the flight that it brought tears to my eyes? Or salam Raya? Or taking turns visiting family and open houses? Or biskut raya and duit raya? Even playing mercun?

I arrived in KL the next morning and it was already Eid. I had missed the takbir raya. Hubby was already at his kampung so I had to take a cab to the next best thing I had to a kampung - my aunt's house. The whole ride with the cab driver, I was quiet and distant. It felt like a dream that I was back on home soil. I arrived at my aunt's house a little over noon and the whole extended family was there. And it was there that I broke the news to them. I was pregnant.

To cut a long story short, I ate everything I could get my hands on, Lodeh, rendang, ketupat, lemang, you name it, I had it. I even had the berbuka delicacies, like murtabak, roti boom, otak otak, also the daily staples like nasi goreng kampung. Yes, it was the food and the baby I was carrying that brought me home.

Just two days in KL and I was already packing to fly back to Netherlands. Thinking back, it was money well spent. Even though what Hubby said was probably true, "That must be the most expensive murtabak that you just bought..." (the price of a return air ticket from NL-KL).

Back in Netherlands, I kept myself occupied with work and surrounded myself with Malaysian friends after work. They were so nice to me, I even managed to squeeze an open house during the weekend. Imagine walking to an open house at 10degC, wrapped in a winter coat and then taking the tram back to the hotel. Also, imagine playing bunga api in the snow. Yes, I did all that! Thank you for cheering me up dear friends, you know who you are......

I am writing this post to remind myself of what happened two years ago. I don't want to go back to that. I wish I could turn back time and make better decisions. You may not understand this post, but I do. Every word I wrote in this post has a significant meaning. In a nutshell, my family is important. Not my career. Not anything else. With all that has happened, I cannot imagine myself spending Eid without my two boys. They are my everything.

I love you, Hubby...


  1. selamat hari raya liz n family..meh raya umah!

  2. Selamat Hari Raya to you and Rahman. Bile nak open house nyer?? ;)


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