As some of you may realise that my creative output is quite low since I’ve been travelling. This is due to a variety of reasons.
My trip to Singapore is like Odysseus and Circe. I only stayed 5 days but it felt like 5 months and I got fleeced by the end of it being lucky to save my own skin. Complete with a PG love story ending in tragedy, I can truly say that my 6-month adventure through Asia has truly started.
Don’t worry mum, I’m not converting to Islam. As some of you may know it is Ramadan at the moment and as Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country it’s a big deal here. Bulan Puasa as it is known locally affects everything here. Some shops are closed, fewer people walking about, fewer tourists. Kuala Lumpur isn’t the same craziness as I know it to be.
What is Ramadan?
Now as you know, I have very limited knowledge of Muslim culture but you can see it as the equivalent of Lent. Instead of not eating meat, however, you cannot consume anything during the daylight hours, not even water! It is meant to put into practice your ability to show restraint so that you are able to control your desires instead of being controlled by them.
What this entails, however, is that when the sun sets everyone eats as they have been fasting for 12 hours or more (depending on where you are in the world). What this creates is queues outside every restaurant and hawker stalls filled with patrons.
A lot of people have invited me to join for Buka Puasa/Iftar or breaking fast as it is colloquially known. It seems to be quite the honour to join a practising Muslim for dinner at this time.
As some of you know, I have been Couchsurfing at a Muslim person’s home. So I have been waiting for her to eat dinner and in some respects, I feel I am participating in Ramadan.
It definitely feels quite odd. It’s as if I am transported back to childhood again when I am waiting for my mum to serve dinner. I can’t pick at the food before it is served as I will get told off. So I eagerly wait till I am told I can eat.
The Muslim call to prayer starts and then everyone eats. Everyone eats. The cacophony of cutlery clinking, mouths chewing and people laughing is wonderful. I feel honoured to join in on another’s religion and culture in what has otherwise been a closed door.
When Ramadan/Bulan Puasa finishes there is a big festival Eid/Hari Raya similar to Easter Sunday where extended family and friends come to celebrate. This is in two weeks (25/6 – 27/6). I would LOVE to join someone’s family for the celebrations as I have never experienced this. So here is my call to action.
If you are living in Singapore or anywhere in the Malaysia Peninsula and would like to invite me to your celebrations please SEND ME A MESSAGE! You can get in contact with my through Facebook, CouchSurfing, WhatsApp (if you have my number), Instagram or in person just LET ME KNOW! I promise I’m a delightful, charming guest and you would love to have me in your celebrations.
Please share this if you like it and perhaps share this article with someone who would be up for hosting me for Hari Raya.
I have a habit of planning what I’m going to do for the day. Sometimes days in advance but usually in the morning. Some say that this is an effective way to get things done. The problem is I’m a massive procrastinator. Especially if there are biological needs that haven’t been met. I haven’t eaten, I have eaten poorly, I haven’t had enough sleep etc.
At the moment my main concern is that I’ve been having trouble sleeping. Always waking up early and throughout the night even though I want to sleep in. It might be due to the new temperature (humid and hot), light coming in through the curtains or the mattress itself. Either way, I wake up feeling groggy and wanting to sleep more.
So the other day I was in my singlet, shorts and thongs with shopping bags in my arms, walking down the street. I must have looked so strange to people living in this predominantly Muslim nation. So, naturally, I got looks from people. I doubt they were looks of contempt designed to put me in my place but rather looks of curiosity. “Who is this tall creature with suspiciously long curly hair and what is it doing in my neighbourhood?” they may have thought.
Naturally, I loved it, so I started smiling at them and the effect was dramatic and instantaneous. As soon as I smiled at passers-by they smiled right back at me. I even smiled and nodded at a security guard, who he, in turn, did a little bit of a curtsy, a muted wave and a “hello”. It was all very amusing coming from a very strict and serious security guard.
It’s the worst. Literally, the worst. You’ve geared up and are ready for your exciting holiday. The adventure you only get to take, if you’re lucky, once a year and then you get sick. You start sneezing, your eyes are watery and your throat is sore. You’ve got yourself a pesky cold and you know you’ll be out for a week. “If only it were food poisoning, that way I’d only be out for a day,” you think. But no, you’re out for a week. Here are some tips that you can do to make your trip more enjoyable in times of ill health.
And so it has started. The start of my journey has begun. Six months or more of self-discovery and realising my full potential. This probably won’t end up happening but I’m willing to commit myself to it.
The past 10 months or so have been gearing up to this. But do I feel relieved? Well, the short answer is, not yet. In fact, I feel a bit anxious and nervous. I feel that the challenge is quite daunting.
Here are the four things that I’d like to accomplish whilst living abroad.
It’s dark, grey and cold outside. You got to work and you come straight home. Eat dinner, watch a movie and repeat. After a while, you start to get depressed as your life is on hold. You forget to drink enough water so a headache starts to creep in and you start eating more so that the warm food can warm up your cold heart. You start to disconnect with the people around you and your life just becomes the fundamentals: work, eat, binge watch tv and sleep. Ever feel like this?
Welcome, to Melbourne Winter (or any winter for that matter).
This post is to all the people who’ve lost their mums. It’s a hard day today, I’m sure.
Today is a day more than ever to speak to your mum. Tell them you love ’em or whatever you’d like to say, but talk to them. Whether you are overseas, on non-speaking terms or just lazy. Make sure you call your mum and have a chat.
You know there was a time that I didn’t speak to my mum for literally years. I was cross at her for something that, now, doesn’t seem so bad. To think that I had shut that whole side of the family off as well. There were deaths in the family and I didn’t get a chance to say to them how I really felt.
It doesn’t matter if they’re manipulative, annoying or downright boring, be the bigger man or woman and call your mum before its too late.
So it’s about time I updated the About Me section. The last one I wrote was in January 2016 and my views about the blog and what is happening in my life have changed since then.
Hi, my name is Jason Tsitsopoulos, I’m from a middle-class family from Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been fortunate enough to live, travel, study and work as an English teacher in many different areas of the world. I want to get out of teaching and into the world of motivational speaking which is the reason of why I started this blog.