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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

Chesley's Malaysian Adventure: See you in the States!

The KL Petronas Tower!
Our overnight bus from Besut to Kuala Lumpur arrived in the city quite early. After waiting in the bus station awhile, our trusty driver Zaam came to fetch us. He took us to the famous KL Petronas Tower, where we were able to explore modern architecture of Kuala Lumpur and even enjoyed beverages at Starbucks. After some time in the city, we went to the Hindu Batu Caves where my family and I climbed 272 steps and explored an old Hindu shrine in the caves. Instead of being bombarded by people with cameras wanting to take pictures with us, we were bombarded by monkeys. More monkeys.

Our last day together in Kuala Lumpur was a fun, yet extremely bittersweet day. I knew my family was looking forward to air conditioning, pork products, a familiar bed and the comforts of life at home. Honestly, I struggled to accept the idea that so much excitement and happiness had been around me everyday for the seventeen days they were with me. It really added a special kind of jump to my step. Now, I was trying to figure out how to readjust back to life without my family again.

The Batu Caves!
My family’s trip to Malaysia was an adventure for each of them. They got passports, as well as vaccinations when preparing for their first trip abroad. They also jumped out of their comfort zone and took a 15-hour flight through Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur to visit me. Similarly, it was an adventure for me as well! I was given the challenging opportunity to connect my family to my host community and culture while sharing my life changing experience with each of them. Words cannot express to me how humbled I am by the mere fact that my family trusted me enough to guide them on a Southeast Asian adventure filled with unfamiliar food, language, clothes, people and experiences.

It was a very teary farewell as I watched my family head through the departure gate at Kuala Lumpur International Airport without me. However, I knew in my heart that the memories of our time together as a family in Malaysia would carry me through the six months ahead, until I would be reunited with them at the arrivals gate of O’Hare International Airport.

My family leaving through the departure gate of Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Where will the Chesley’s go next…?

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