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Hello, Ciao,안녕하세요, Hallo, Hola, Selamat tengahari! My name is Rachael and I am a travel enthusiast. Ever since I can remember, my parents have taken my brother, sister and I on good ol' American road trips. It's safe to say that was where my interest in new places, people and experiences was ignited. As my parents always encouraged my siblings and I to explore and ask questions, I developed a sincere curiosity for new adventures. In addition to seeing much of the United States with my favorite travel companions (my family), I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Rome, Italy, as well as a semester in Seoul, South Korea during my college career. Now, I am honored to be taking part in a Fulbright ETA Scholarship to Malaysia for a year! My family's favorite motto is "Life is all about the journey, not the destination." I invite you to join along in my journey of cultural exchange and mutual understanding in Malaysia! After all, the more, the merrier.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Borneo is an island divided among three countries: Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. Malaysia occupies about 25% of the island and this land is home to the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. Borneo is home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world. In terms of Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak can be referred to as Eastern Malaysia. Furthermore, it is home to the indigenous Iban people, who are the native people of Malaysia.

Kek lepis of Sarawak, Malaysia.

In July, a large cohort of Fulbrighters went to Kuching, Sarawak in Borneo for the well-known Rainforest Music Festival. After weeks upon weeks of not seeing one another, it was nice to be reunited in a new place filled with culture, great food, music and most of all, great company! Although Sarawak is a Malaysian state, I felt as though it was an entirely different country. Kuching has a predominantly Chinese and Christian population, which is very different from Terengganu, Malaysia where I was living. The layout of Kuching reminded me of a Sante Fe, New Mexico with its rich art and unique streets and storefronts. Sarawak is also home to one of my favorite Malaysian snacks – kek lepis (layered cake). This is a cake made with many layers and colors. It is made especially in Kuching.
Musical instruments of Borneo.

Outside of the city of Kuching, we went into the rainforest to see wild orang utans! I stood in amazement as I saw these intriguing animals swing from tree to tree and play with one another in their natural environment. What really amazed me (and freaked me out) was how similar the orang utans’ mannerisms are to humans. We also ventured into the Sarawak Cultural Village to experience the Rainforest World Music Festival which featured artists from literally all over the world, playing variations of music and using multiple languages and dances. It was a huge intercultural, worldly party in the middle of a rainforest with great food and drinks as well as even better music! The people, style and art of Sarawak really pulled at my heartstrings. Kuching will forever go down as my favorite city in Malaysia.

Two men from Spain who invited their own instrument. It was similar to drums, but made a
very distinct sound.
My friend Norma and I on the seashore of Sarawak, Malaysia.
The sunset that can be seen from the northern shore of Borneo.

My friends and I hanging out before the night concerts began!
One of the many concerts at the famous Rainforest Music Festival.

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