Sunday, July 27, 2008

Surprisingly so

Visiting Malaysia changed my life more than I thought it would. Here are just a few (disjunct) realizations I made looking back at the four days that shifted my perspective.

1.The real world is bigger than my world. I've been living in this linear continuum of one day/ one deal at a time, caring only about where I'll have lunch next or how my back account is doing. This apathy has got to stop. While I am busy beating a deadline, the rest of humanity is playing out. Malaysia greets me with an in-your-face diversity and compelling dynamism that forces me to see outside my paradigms and appreciate other ways of life, no matter what the smell.

2.Scaling down is a virtue. You only really need one travel bag to survive. I took only four shirts, a pair of sneakers, and two sensible pants to KL. I didn't even bring extra shoes. Guess what? I survived. I didn't look fashionable, but who cares? No one does, not in Malaysia. Well, maybe except for those uber rich Arab women I met in Pucci. They bought the whole store, every$3,000 dress in it.

The point is: Living light is the only way to live. This realization prompted me to re-edit my already well-edited closet, which is now down to a bare minimum. I have exactly two dresses (including a Club Monaco on discount), the requisite Citizens of Humanity and Seven for All mankind jeans, a couple of capris, four pairs of shorts, a Diane Von Furstenberg silk top, three Mac Jacobs dressy tops, a few high-street shirts from Dior and Chanel, one skirt (yes, just one), and of course my daily uniform: some 30 casual Banana Republic and Gap tops + cardigans and seersucker pants with stretchable waistbands. Who needs a lot of signature clothes when I have good bags and shoes?

3.Friends and money don't mix. I love my friends, but I cannot count on them to pay for the cab – and I don't expect to. You see, no matter how 'financially comfortable' we have all already become since graduation, we all revert back to that college behavior when we're together. In Malaysia, we split everything down to the last ringgit. With the exception of Bismuth who was generous enough to let us stay in her hotel room for free (may the Albuyah bless your soul), Barry, Ennui, and I all pinched pennies like college dormers worried about their next meal. All that frugality didn't stop us from having a grand time, though. You know you're with real friends when you don't feel awkward about asking for that .20 ringgit.

4. Everyday can be Malaysia. There's no reason I shouldn't feel like I'm on vacation everyday, or at least most days. That is why I am designing a life of luxury without necessarily spending a lot. I have invested in a nice bed (and even nicer bedding) to channel that luxury hotel feeling. The room temperature is completely controlled. I get fresh orange juice in the morning. I 'outsource' my laundry so they come back folded and smelling wonderful. I even drink out of fancy glasses now, when I'm alone on weekends watching a Will and Grace marathon on DVD. And when I need to channel a 'resort' feel, I step out in the morning and sit by the pool. I never have to get out of my condominium to get that luxe hotel fix.

More importantly, I resolve to see the new even in the familiar. Manila can be much more interesting if only I got interested. I can't wait to see what's new tomorrow.


Blogger {illyria} said...

i love this post. and i love that feeling travel brings, when you feel totally amazed by life.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Erica Cleofe-Kononen said...

True that the world is much bigger than we think it is!

Sarap mag travel. We are lucky we can.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your best post thus far. i'm hooked by every word and all the silent meanings behind them.

7:48 PM  
Blogger mussolini said...

illyria> yes, feels great. in a world where nothing shocks me anymore,i find malaysia does.

ekay> hopefully i get luckier :) there's just much much more to see.

barry> i don't know about silent meanings. i'm pretty shallow that way hahahahaha

8:18 AM  
Blogger ennui said...

so you mean to say your trips to bangkok and macau didn't change you?

this is a totally inspiring post by the way. last friday while in the bus, i caught myself imagining i were a tourist here in manila and how that would've felt like seeing everything for the first time. i had this urge to get on the hop-on/hop-off thing we now have. i fear though that if our group goes together we'd lambast the tour guide! hahaha

2:51 AM  
Blogger mussolini said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:42 AM  
Blogger mussolini said...

ennui> bangkok was two years ago...i was very frantic then and didn't really enjoy the city because i worried too much. macau-hongkong was all about luxury, shopping and romance. i didn't get to see beyond the facade of luxurious hotels, fine restos, mercedes benz transfers (that was the whole point of the trip - we rewarded ourselves with pampering and escaped the third world). but malaysia was truly asia hahahahaha. plus, now i have that 'calmness' that lets me appreciate a city the same way i can now appreciate wine.

9:44 AM  
Blogger mussolini said...

buldets, i am so tempted to hop on a plane and see the olympics next week, but i am having second thoughts because the trip might become redundant if we're going to beijing this december anyway. has dewleeh confirmed?

9:46 AM  
Blogger ennui said...

musso if you go to beijing for the olympics, i'm sure you won't enjoy it. imagine all the people there crowding the city!

3:20 AM  
Blogger mussolini said...

ennui> you're right. crazy fans walking around.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Retro Manila said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Retro Manila said...

"You only really need one travel bag to survive."


1:51 AM  
Blogger mussolini said...

retro manila> well, one travel bag AND a flu vaccine :)

12:41 PM  
Blogger paningit said...

sadly, i can't live on one travel bag alone. it would only carry 2 shirts and a towel. the clothes i have are that big.

11:59 AM  

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