Delightful December

Not your typical tree ornament but a
family heirloom that's always on our tree!
All too soon the year 2013 will be over.  Looking back, the past eventful 12 months had many ups and downs, filled with much excitement as well as a great deal of emotion. 

Last September, after Ruby, our eldest sister, my brother and I went to New Zealand and Australia, we shared our photos with Pearly, our middle sister in the UK, saying that she must join us for our next trip to Perth.  Little did we know that through this time, Pearly was secretly planning with my nephews and cousins in Australia for an epic trip to Perth – Sydney – Singapore before coming to Johor Baru and leaving from Kuala Lumpur!

Just as I was settling back into normal routine after our NZ-Aussie trip, my boss calls me and asks, “Are you ready to travel again?”  Very soon, I was on a travel assignment to Osaka – Kobe – Kyoto for a distinctlyJapanese experience.  Saturated with all things Japanese, I got down to writing about my experiences while juggling assignments at local events with exciting destinations in Singapore.  Then we received an email from Pearly saying that she and her daughter, Melanie, will be travelling to Perth in early December and asked if we will join them there?

The range of sun protection used among us in Perth!
When Ruby asked her to go to Perth, she meant some time next year but Pearly surprised us with a decision to travel this December!  So it didn’t take us long to decide to go – again – because this will be a great opportunity for a sisters reunion in Perth.  It’s the height of summer Down Under so it was easy to pack lightly for this trip.  I remembered to bring along my tube of SPF 30 Sun Protection because I know how scorching the sun can be in the cloudless skies of Perth.  

My nephew Andrew and his wife welcomed us into their home again in Perth as we anticipated the arrival of Pearly and Mel after their long flight from Heathrow via Dubai to Perth.  It will be their first trip Down Under and there will be much for them to experience – especially the extreme opposite to the freezing weather they were leaving behind in the UK. Not only was it a special time for us sisters to meet again in Perth, it was also significant for the cousins to make some new memories together.  

Three sisters, [Left to Right] Pearly, Ruby and Peggy
Andrew and his wife have a trip planned to Zambia as he will be best man for a friend’s wedding there so they had no days off to spare.  I learnt they also wanted to have a short holiday in Dubai so they were saving their days for their trip.  So when they went off to work, they left Ruby and I to entertain the UK visitors in Perth.  While I drove my nephew’s car, Ruby was the able navigator who helped us find our way around using Google Maps on our trusted devices.  We became the local guides and had fun showing them the sights from the famous Kings’s Park to historical Freemantle and meeting native animals in Caversham Wildlife Park.  

Cousins [Left] and sisters [Right] at Aussie beach barbecue
evening at Trigg Island Beach, Perth
At mid-week, while Pearly and Mel went on the next leg of their trip south to Albany with Sheila, a former classmate who now lives in Perth, Ruby and I returned home as we had a wedding reception to attend in Kuala Lumpur that weekend.  With the use of modern technology, we remained in touch with Pearly and Mel as they travelled to Sydney to join our cousins there for a cousinly Christmas celebration.  We are kept posted on their fun as we look forward to their arrival for a family reunion in JB and to see our grandmother in the final sector of their epic trip.

Meanwhile, Ruby and I were in Kuala Lumpur, in our brother’s home on Friday night, getting ready for bed when there was a commotion downstairs.  His 2-car porch was occupied so my car was parked across the driveway outside the gate.  Their dog was barking and I was shocked to learn that someone was apparently, attempting to break into my car!  

Andrew [Top Right Row] and his wife [Top Left Row]
in Johor Baru again for Indian dinner
It was alarming to see the silhouette of a man standing at the gate and my brother and his wife did not hesitate to contact their neighbourhood’s security guard.  At the same time, they were puzzled as to why this so-called criminal would be standing in full view if he was attempting any mischief.  To show him that we were aware of his presence, we shouted “Oy!” at him and suddenly, he replied… “Open the gate!”

His voice sounded familiar and my sister-in-law vocalized our confusion: “Andrew?” she asked.  When he laughed in response, it confirmed our suspicion.  Standing in the light drizzle outside was none other than my nephew and his wife who arrived from Perth to give us a surprise!  

Our roast turkey for Christmas Day dinner!
He had planned this way ahead and did not expect his aunt and cousin Mel to come from the UK and for his mother and me to turn up in Perth again.  Throughout our stay in Perth they did not give a hint of their plan to come home for Christmas because we knew they had a trip to Dubai and Zambia.  
But they did not tell any untruths because they did not give specific dates and we assumed that they would leave directly for Dubai.  Instead, they arrived in Singapore on Friday and went to see his grandparents to pick up the car before driving to KL to give us a grand surprise!

That night, it was a long time before I dropped off to sleep because I just could not believe that Andrew and his wife were actually here.  It was only earlier that week when they saw us off at Perth airport and before the weekend, they were with us again!  Ah…the joys of global travel…

This must be one of the most pleasant surprises ever as the family was together again to celebrate Christmas at home.  Our celebration was more meaningful not because of the gaily wrapped gifts under the tree or the sumptuous meal complete with roast turkey and all the trimmings, but because of the dear people gathered close again at a very special season of the year.  Happy Christmas one and all!


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