“When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.”
—Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace
I’ve been in Malaysia for two months now, and although I’ve been working busy, six day weeks, I’ve somehow managed to squeeze in a few whimsical adventures and make the most of a some priceless opportunities to explore my surrounds.
I’ve been generously welcomed into the homes of my Malay colleagues to share food with them and celebrate the end of the fast; I’ve dined in style with friends in the city; and I’ve sampled the local Malay and Chinese cuisine whenever I’ve had the chance to do so. I’ve been on wandering drives in the cool evening air though the kampongs and the palm oil plantations; and I’ve spent time exploring night markets and back alleys on foot. Now and then, we steal away to a strange outdoor Chinese karaoke bar, where we unwind with a few bottles of Tiger beer, and giggle incessantly at the constant wailing of deluded wannabes that sing with far more determination than talent. Sometimes we get a little more than we bargained for.
Teaching riding here in Malaysia has been both challenging and enriching; sometimes purely puzzling. Guests pass through from all over the world, most of them living as expats in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, but some of them locals too. They range from absolute beginner to riders who have significant competitive experience. I’ve met some really interesting people, and enjoyed the constant flow of stories that come and go at the lodge, but most interesting has been the story that I find myself part of in this unique place. I’m not quite sure how to tell this story yet, but in the moments when I manage to take a step back and reflect on the strangeness of it all, can feel there’s something brewing.