I recall our Arab driver navigating the narrow mountain roads with mum trying to tell him to turn the air-con down, and us screaming at her in unison to shut up and let him focus. The hilarity of that experience strikes me now, after the thrill and heart-stopping fear has subsided. Then the regular calls to prayer eeriely pulsating in the streets, with no obvious melody, fills my ears.
Fast forward to another time and place. I’m digging into a bowl of assam laksa, its glorious combination of hot and sour hitting the spot. I indulge in the thick, creamy bubur chacha, a desert comprising chunks of sweet potato, yam, banana and sago swimming in coconut milk, such as I hadn’t tasted since my childhood days.
That’s it. I’m definitely suffering from holiday withdrawal, also known as post-travel depression. Hardly surprising, given as I’ve been jet-setting to various spots of the world within the last few months. Without the constant bombardment of the senses, days now seem comparatively mundane. I think about my imminent return to my empty apartment in LA, without even a bed to sleep on. Then I wonder, Why do I do this to myself? Why not just stay here, where all my meals are provided for, with the added privilege of occasional fancy dinners outside?
Don’t get my tone wrong. I’m actually savouring the mellowness of my life now. Last night, I had my beloved, much-needed Potong red bean ice-cream stick while watching Toy Story 1 (I didn’t watch it before watching the third, so I thought I’d catch up). It was a blissful moment. On Tuesday, I reconnected with an old friend over hot, crispy masala thosai and egg-and-onion prata. Sooo divine. And on Sunday, I’m planning on revisiting an old coffeeshop I’ve been to once when I was a child. For curiosity and nostalgia’s sake.
Somehow, the lack of furniture (and my father’s alarming inability to register this fact) hardly bothers me. I’ll just make a bed with my comforter on the carpet until I get an actual one. Or not. A mattress might just do. I’ve learnt to be less high-strung these days and to trust that things will come to me in their natural time. Just like I know that someday, I’ll travel to Tokyo again with my sis, savouring its lesser-known culinary delights and exploring quirky little shops. I’ll visit Greece for its phenomenally fresh salads and seafood; Italy for its comforting pastas and pizzas. Along the way, I hope I’ll grow up a little, but it won’t bother me anymore that I’m not as mature as I should be. I’ll be assured of a rollin’ good time.