On missing home…

We had our first program with the local chapter of the Fortune 500 company today in Turkmenistan, which involved having lunch with their local staff and then visiting the plant they’re building here. It’s amazing to see what they’ve achieved, in this desolate and barren place.

Driving towards the complex, we came across a Malaysian flag proudly waving in the wind, and the words “Selamat Datang” emblazoned on the gates. It warmed the cockles of my heart to know that there are Malaysians in this part of the world. I’ve never been a particularly patriotic person, but talking to cheery and bubbly fellow Malaysian made me feel incredibly proud to be one.

Lunch at their rec hall was soulfood, especially for me when I saw my favourite dish of ‘paru goreng cili’! Everyone had their fill of Malaysian food, and was merry for the rest of the day… Well, basically all I’ve got to say is that finding a little piece of home, especially when we’ve been away, is really an eye-opening experience.

There were little poignant reminders of home, such as little newspaper articles tacked on the walls, pictures of family and friends back home, flags of states, football jerseys of the local teams, and even the smallest details were not spared – there was a picture of a school play with the kid holding a poster saying “We miss you Dad!”. That one brought tears to my eyes.

Perhaps, even my-bitter-and-resentful self, is quite patriotic after all – Jasmine.

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