Coming home from a business meeting (husband’s) in the beautiful Malaysian city of Malacca, a dear friend from home texts me impatiently: “Pls send me pictures of Melaka as soon as you can!”
I send her this:
Her crestfallen reply: “Oh, a mall …”
So I sheepishly added this (a very grainy test-photo of a statue that was in the hotel lobby):
Feeling defensive I finally confessed: “You know what, I found it so nice to be able to communicate to the people there that I found it much more important to stock up on such necessities as body scrubs, deep conditioning treatments and wet tissues than to explore.”
Her response: “LOL!” supported with an image of a cartoon character, its mouth wide open in amusement, a finger mockingly pointed at me.
Well, honestly, that’s the truth of it. Like a moth to a flame I was lured to the malls by the international brand names and flashy bright lights, and I stayed within it’s temperature regulated confines because … people there saw me and most actually smiled at me.
And it was so refreshing!
In my part of Indonesia, if and when people look at you they quickly turn away. I think it’s because they do not want to have to talk to a foreigner, likely in a language they do not speak. Then in Singapore, people are just too busy to notice you. But in Melaka … oh my, I was confessing all the sins of my dry and limp hair to the very beautiful Body Shop sales lady and she responded in equal solemnity with her deliciously accented English.
Here’s my point – I had not imagined how much I missed being able to communicate. And to be seen, to be acknowledged, with a smile. Well, not all of them smiled and they did not have to. Just the open expressions on their faces was enough to make me feel good.
So that’s all I have for you right now – being smiled at is refreshing. And being able to communicate is bliss.
And I enjoyed that so much that for now that’s all I truly wanted to experience on this short, unplanned trip 🙂