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September 23, 2012
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I don’t think there is a feeling as good as the feeling you get when you’re going home. It doesn’t matter which home you’re going to but whatever home it is, it should be a home with people who love you in it. Home is truly where the heart is and mine is never leaving my home.
I can consider my penthouse here, in Kuala Lumpur, home but my grandfather’s bungalow has the definite label of home. It is a rather peculiar thing that I prefer to live in chaotic environment with children screaming, in a house sitting on a dirt road, in the presence of my grandfather who does nothing but relax as opposed to a penthouse in a high-end suburb, getting constant text messages from my father, and proper, modern technology to help my with my daily demands. Both houses have very different feels to them and also very contrasting auras surrounding them. Nothing compares to it. It’s as if all the best things in life – happiness, family, love and fun have all come together in this one building and I’m able to take it all in. There’s nothing like being home.

The house is about twenty-five years old and it is the current home of my grandfather, my eldest uncle, my aunt, my fourteen-year-old cousin and the soul of my deceased grandmother. It sits on the end of a dirt road that leads up to an Indian temple in a little town called Taiping. A safe haven is what I like to call it. Whenever I visit, there’s always the security of at least ten family members in the household. It’s just as comfortable in this house as it is under a toasty blanket on winter’s coldest night. The cold marble floor under my warm feet, the sizzle of oil in the pan that never ceases to cook food, at least three conversations being conversed and the good smell of traditional Chinese oils. All that when I first arrive? This is surreal. There’s nothing like being home.

All six of my cousins chattering, my mother on the phone to my aunt asking her to come over for dinner, my grandfather laughing at the TV. That’s a typical afternoon in the Ng household. I never get bored when I’m at my grandfather’s house. There’s nothing exciting going on but it’s the sense of having a full family reunion twenty-four hours a day for as long as I’m there. I could just laze on the couch all day next to my grandfather, who doesn’t understand a word of English, and not have a care in the world. There’s nothing like being home.

I’m usually at my grandfather’s place for Chinese New Year. Everybody’s happy and positive. The energy in the house is off the charts. Family visits and the smell of Chinese joss sticks complete the celebration. The first morning of the celebration consists of my youngest uncle and me hanging up decorations on the cold, white walls of the house and tying red ribbons and a banner with a blessing on it onto the green colored grille door. The smell of roasted pork, the air-conditioner’s fan’s soft whirring, the snip of the scissors cutting the ribbons and game sound effects from the iPad that my seven-year-old cousin is using. There’s nothing like being home.

Then comes the reunion dinner. Twenty family members, some extended, some immediate, gather around the plastic tables that are placed in the middle of the living room’s clear space. Hotpots are placed under everybody’s noses and raw ingredients pack the tables’ middles. Everybody either has his or her hotpots filled with an unexplainably spicy broth that burns your tongue like the surface of a hot pan would to your finger or a hearty chicken and soya bean broth that can’t go wrong. Fresh prawns, slices of fish, beef strips, straw mushrooms, pig’s intestines, cabbage, some animal’s liver, squid strips, spinach, other animal parts that make me cringe as if I have just seen a spider and some simple, smooth tofu. There are at least five different conversations going on and each one of them not even remotely relating to another. I don’t involve myself in any of these conversations. I sit back, eat and witness my family reuniting to celebrate the New Year’s with smiles on their faces. There’s nothing like being home.

The reason why I find my grandfather’s place so special is the feeling that it gives me when I’m around my family in the house and the humbling feeling that somehow seeps into my body. It’s as if everything that happens in that house occurs with sweet serendipity. There’s a commonality between all of us in that household. There, everybody is united. There’s nothing like being home.

There was also the period when my parents were going through separation about eight years ago. I remember this time in great detail. In Kuala Lumpur, I had no family besides my mother and my cousin. It felt a little different to be living in a house without my father but I knew I preferred life with my mother. Life was normal but I did have some moments of realization when I’m aware that I’m living without my father. A part of me didn’t care but a part of me just wanted to go back to the terrace house we were living in and beg my parents to resume living together normally. I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Then my mother and I took a trip back to my grandfather’s house a couple of months later and I felt as if nothing had happened. Everyone there showed concern and I felt calmed. I knew that even though I don’t live with my father, I had this great family waiting for me back home. There’s nothing like being home.

Nothing beats knowing that I have a great family back home in Taiping. Every trip back home has never failed to leave me with great memories. As the years go by, I have begun to appreciate the fact that I have a home in Taiping. That house is where better relationships are built, memories are made and where love feels infinite. Going back home rejuvenates me, it rebuilds my charisma and brings me back down to earth. All my stress seems to disappear when I’m back home visiting my family no matter how loud the voices of my family are. It’s the only chaos I appreciate. The smile of my grandfather just lights up my day and reminds me that I’m home. In KL, my house is peaceful and serene but I still prefer my grandfather’s house where peace comes in the form of family time and serenity comes in the form of greenery surrounding the building. There’s nothing like being home.

Someone said: “A house is made of walls and beams; a home built with love and dreams.” This home is definitely a home that has built the best parts of my life. Even though countless events are ongoing in my life there is a little place in me that always longs to be at home in Taiping. The time I spend there is irreplaceable and it’s the only place that I will forever call home.

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Jantijmen123 said...
Oct. 30, 2012 at 7:21 am
Amanda this is such a good article, I love how you made a simple toic into a very interesting and detailed article. Also I like how the mood and tone transations throughout the article.  The food at your family reunion seems so good! - Jantijmen Verwoerd
gownsuh said...
Oct. 10, 2012 at 6:05 am
Amanda you are sooo talented in writing, this really intrigued me you really deserve all the recognition you can get <3
Black Rabbit said...
Oct. 3, 2012 at 8:20 am
"A house is made of walls and beams, a home built with love and dreams" Hi Author, This is a great article that reminds people where they come from. Keep up the good work!
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