July 25

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Settling In Nicely

The past two weeks here in Malaysia have been a whirlwind! I’ve been working constantly, even weekends because Saturdays are usually the event days. The first weekend I was in Penang, Malaysia for a Georgetown Rotary International event. We packaged 100,000 meals to go to local orphanages in Malaysia. There were young children and elderly there to volunteer, as well as several handicapped individuals. One blind woman counted out the completed meal bags to be boxed, and another in a wheelchair spent several hours at the weighing station. Their motivation and determination inspired me tremendously. It just proved to me, if there is a will there is a way!

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I haven’t actually been in Malaysia the entire time, last weekend I was in Singapore for a Stop Hunger Now event with the Baptist Church Youth Convention. Over 1,000 volunteers from across the world packaged close to 300,000 meals! The meals will all stay in the SE Asia area, going to orphanages in Cambodia and Myanmar. All the ingredients and supplies used were sourced locally. I love that about this organization, that they use all local ingredients (soy, rice, dehydrated vegetables) to package the meals, and the organization that sponsors the event can pick the local beneficiaries they want to send the meals to. It’s not just giving money for a good cause, it’s actually seeing the money raised go to use in their chosen local areas of need. Of the thousand volunteers I actually found a VT Hokie in the large group. For those that don’t know, I am a very proud alumnus of Virginia Tech. It was amazing finding one across the world, love it… Hokies worldwide!

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The Malaysian cuisine has been an adjustment for me. I thought I liked spicy food, but my idea of spicy and their idea of spicy is a big difference! It’s like eating Chinese food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I’ve been trying everything. The Malaysian crabs and prawns are so yummy, and I’ve had local Ipoh bean sprouts, shared a Moroccan steamboat with my new “foster family” and even tried an assortment of their jelly desserts (not so good). I hope the “foodie” in me continues to be adventurous!

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I actually just moved into my permanent Kuala Lumpur residence yesterday! I’m ecstatic, living out of a suitcase has been hard, and I’ve been checking in and out of my KL hotel for the weekend events. It feels great to have a home base, my condo is super convenient to my NGO’s office, and also various shops and restaurants. I feel blessed and very fortunate everything is going smoothly so far. Stay tuned…

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