So, it's begun. The mental countdown to departure; I leave in 48 hours. It's unbelievable how things just breezed by, though this year, the difference is that it's a mixed set of emotions. I'm usually dreading leaving Malaysia, but with a home in the US and my pregnant wife and dogs there, a big part of me is actually looking forward to going home.
Have spent the last few days in KL and I got to meet up with quite a few people. Old friends, people I grew up with, the same boys who have seen me through the worse of times. The people with whom I can truly be myself. It has been a while since I was out with them for late night mamak, or just chatting until 2 am. That's probably one thing I miss there; the people with whom I grew up are here, the kind of friends who know your deepest darkest secrets and still love you for you. I confided to Alvin a morbid, irrational fear of mine of living in the US; would I have many people there close enough to me to be able to give my eulogy at my funeral whenever that may be? People whose lives you know you truly have touched, and vice versa, and not that superficial, polite and proper interactions you often have in a politically-correct country. I'm not sure.
I was reminded too of how, when I'm in the States and I feel like I'm missing much here, life really does go on- people get married, have babies, priorities change. I realized that when I was all gungho about meeting up and hanging out, but now unlike the good old times, there were limiting factors like kids' bedtimes and pickup times for kindergarten, etc. It was also interesting to note how 15 years ago, the topic was about girls and cars, and how the topics gradually changed over the years to the topics we discussed this time, namely breastfeeding, pregnancy, how to raise children! Yes, despite how much we like to hold on to the memories, life does go on and we are getting older. But I'm glad the friendships (despite the other family and job commitments) have not diminished at all.It was neat too to be able to meet up with medschool friends. Looking back, we realized to our horror that our 'good old days' of medical school (whilst in PJ before we went our separate ways in the phase 2 of our program) was 12-14 years ago. We reminisced about the college, our antics, crappy lecturers and hot juniors. We also updated each other of happenings, classmates with whom we lost contact. It was enlightening to hear of ex-classmates doing well, working as various subspecialists. I have to say, I did catch myself pondering; a fear of mine had always been the inability to thrive in the Malaysian system after having trained overseas, but to see my friends doing pretty well here did get me wondering about how it would have been if I had decided to return and work here. Yup, this time of the trips to Malaysia, my mind and heart are usually in a mess of emotions. But this has been a good trip. I got to spend quality time with my family and during Chinese New Year too; I got to see good friends from school, medschool and even an ex-flame. Yes, I think I'm ready to go home. And home, really, is the US now. I can't wait to see my wife and 'kids' (the dogs) again!