Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Day to be Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving, one of the most important American holidays. This holiday commemorates the time the Pilgrims, who arrived to modern-day Massachusetts from Britain around 1620. After a successful harvest in 1621, the Pilgrims celebrated and gave thanks (hence the name "Thanks-giving") to their God. Their good harvest prompted them to stay in the area and continue colonizing it. Fast-forward to today, and the last Thursday of every November is honored as a national holiday in the U.S.

In honor of this important American holiday and gathering, all of the American AFS students in Malaysia were invited to a Thanksgiving lunch at the U.S. Embassy in KL on Tuesday. We were all very excited to be able to celebrate this significant day in our country's history with each other and with other Americans. This Thanksgiving also happened to be my first, as my family does not usually have a feast on the holiday back in the U.S.

When I arrived in KL on Sunday, one of my host cousins was kind enough to host me for a few days before the embassy lunch. He is an AFS alumni, as he went to the American state of Alaska last year. I really loved spending time with his family and him, as they were extremely kind and considerate. It was also interesting to get a slightly different look at Malaysian Indian culture.

Me and my host cousin

After taking a Sunday afternoon train to KL, I was exhausted, so I just relaxed on Sunday. On Monday, I met up with one of my friends named Ayinde. He lives in Shah Alam, which is a city close to KL, so he knows the commuter and monorail routes of KL really well. So, we took a train to KLCC (a.k.a. the Petronas Towers and the Suriya shopping complex attached to the towers). There, we went window shopping (and occasionally, actual shopping!) around the mall. We also ate lunch at a popular American restaurant named Chili's and watched the movie of the month, Catching Fire!

Batmobile ride

Harley-Davidson in KL

Catching Fire!!

KLCC Towers

Entering one of the towers

The next day was Tuesday, the day of the embassy visit. After meeting up with most of our friends for a few hours at KLCC, we left for the U.S. Embassy. The visit was extremely fun, and I really enjoyed both the food and the event. Celebrating my first Thanksgiving was very memorable, because even though all of us were thousands of miles away from the U.S., I felt like we were all in a "little America" during that lunch. The hospitality and kindness that the people from the embassy showed us was amazing and very thoughtful.

After the embassy visit, my friends and I decided to spend our last few hours together for the day at Berjaya Times Square Mall. I actually visited this mall on my first day in Malaysia back in July, so if you're interested about how cool this mall (the 14th biggest mall in the world), check out this blog post:

At Times Square, we visited a few shops, took pictures in front of the giant Christmas tree, and said our goodbyes. I'm glad I got to spend at least a few hours with my friends, and I cannot wait until I see them again!

The GIANT Christmas tree in Times Square

This Thanksgiving was one of the best American holidays I've ever celebrated. It gave me a chance to see my friends, enjoy good American food, and appreciate my home and country. In honor of Thanksgiving, I have many things to be thankful for this year and in my life.

I am thankful for my family, both here and in the U.S. Without either, I would not have the love and guidance that is in my life.

I am thankful for my friends, both here and in the U.S. I enjoy their company and can trust them.

I am thankful for all those who have given me guidance through the years. I have learned a lot from all those people, and I truly appreciate them.

I am thankful for my program, as it has given me the opportunity to travel to Malaysia and live here for a year. I've been able to utilize my time here wisely and learn a lot from my surroundings and other people.

I am thankful for both my country and Malaysia. I've loved learning about the intriguing culture, languages, and religions of Malaysia and meeting the kind and interesting people of Malaysia, and being here has helped me appreciate several aspects of the U.S.

Finally, I am thankful for the diversity we have in the world. I've seen that although this diversity includes many differences, those difference are what make the world so beautiful. A painting doesn't look great with just one color or technique. It needs a variety of vibrant shades and creative styles to look magnificent. Being in Malaysia has really allowed me to appreciate the diversity in Malaysia, as well as the diversity back in the U.S.

To all of my family and friends back in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone everywhere has something to be thankful for this year!

Happy Thanksgiving from Malaysia!


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