Take A Journey With Me To The Home Of My Heart

Writing, I think, is not apart from living.  Writing is a kind of double living.  The writer experiences everything twice.  Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind.  ~Catherine Drinker Bowen, Atlantic, December 1957

The Coast of Malaysia

Muse Tracks is a wonderful blog site to obtain information on all aspects of writing and I hope I’ve contributed a slice of knowledge with my group of articles on marketing. I was all set to continue delving into the overwhelming, and often confusing, world of branding, selling, publishing….blah blah blah , but I have no heart for it this week. Rania, a reader from Greece, stated she believed she might be too romantic for this part of the business. That thought resonated with me.

If you are not careful, it has the potential to suck the creativity, the soul of your writing out the proverbial window. I have taught myself some cool techniques for marketing my book and that makes me happy. It’s empowering to take control of my career. I’ve also let it consume a lot of my time which has weighed on my mind. Do I have the energy to see this through? I can’t answer that today.

So, I’m taking a hard left and travelling down memory lane. There’s a reunion this weekend for the folks that went to the Singapore American School and one next summer for those that attended the International School of Kuala Lumpur. I’ve spoken with many sweet voices from my past and this has left me floating in a pool of memories.

I remember the first time I spotted Malaysia out my airplane window. Vibrations rumbled through the plane’s body as the wheels lowered and flaps were positioned to slow us down. The muddy brown waters of the Klang River became visible as it dissected the city into halves. Tree tops bubbled above the ground bursting in a kaleidoscope of greens. Roads gave way to rice paddies which gave way to tin mines and towering mountains. A sprawling metropolis lay directly below, architecture proclaiming a history rich in many cultures. Kuala Lumpur is a dichotomy of old British colonial grandeur and modernity.

Sprawling freeways wound along the ground like giant snakes baking in the warm sun. Turrets on a mosque covered in tile and glass glistened in the sunlight while it passed under the belly of my giant metal bird. As we descended, people came into view. A young teenage boy herded a water buffalo with only a wooden switch in his hand. Women walked between villages draped in colorful batik sarongs, woven baskets balanced on their heads. Surrounding them were rubber trees that stood in rigid rows on plantations like soldiers guarding their wonderful paradise.

I fell in love with the country before I ever set foot on its fertile soil. That afternoon, so many years ago, began a relationship that lasted for eighteen years of my life. I landed when I was a young girl of nine years and when I boarded an airplane for the last time out of Subang Airport, I was a twenty seven year old woman and my heart was breaking.

You see, I’m what is known as a “third culture kid”. I don’t belong to their culture, I’m foreign, in so many ways, to my own so where I do belong is in a nether land that doesn’t really exist- the third culture. It’s a phenomenon that’s been documented thousands of times by people who were blessed to have had an opportunity to grow up like I did. I’ve made a great home here in the U.S. and I do get to travel. My husband, who grew up in many different countries as well, bought me a ticket to go back to South East Asia for ten days for a giant reunion held in Singapore. Everyone who went all said the same thing as they waited to leave. An overwhelming sense of panic clawed through their insides at the thought of saying good-bye one more time.

Am I sad?

How can I be?

I’ve lived a life of dreams. I’ve experienced things most people only see on T.V. and my journey continues with exciting adventures. Malaysia will always call to me and it will always be the home of my heart. I thank you for letting me share a taste of it with you.

P.S. In letting myself explore memories and what was in my heart, I decided I liked my descriptions so much, I added chunks of this piece back into my novel. As my heroine lands in Malaysia, she now sees what I saw that morning landing in a strange new country.

23 Responses to Take A Journey With Me To The Home Of My Heart

  1. jbrayweber says:

    That was beautiful, Stacey. Your descriptions had me seated right next to you on the plane (white-knuckling, of course, and praying we land safely) and seeing Malaysia for the first time, too. Wow.

    Thanks for sharing, Stacey. I know how special your time there was.


  2. Loretta says:

    Stacey…how beautiful…how bittersweet:) I wasn’t raised abroad, but having lived abroad, I can relate in so many ways. For me, the thing that always tugged at my heart was seeing my American coast as the wing on the plane titlted and gave me a clear view…wherever home is, it always pulls at your heart:)

    When we returned to Oz this year, I had a small taste of what you must feel when you return to a land that filled such a big part of your life…once in awhile the Qantas airlines will play “I still call Australia home..” and it makes landing very poignant, bringing forward vivid memories:) I’m sure for my husband, it must be deeply moving…

    My wish for you, would be that you are able to return frequently to the land of your heart. I am fortunate, I’m living in the land of my heart, but fully understand how yours longs for the sweet breath of home:)

    Lovely post, gal:)



  3. Kristen says:

    No wonder you’re a writer–you lucky, romantic thing! A lovely, descriptive post.

    You’ve left me feeling like Memento’s Leonard Shelby…


  4. Bethany says:

    Really good descriptions, Stacey. I’m glad you added them to your novel. I could “see” what you were talking about.

    Best wishes to you and your manuscript(s)!


  5. Diane Holmes says:

    Beautiful description, Stacey! And that’s exactly what I was thinking… You should add this to your novel!


  6. Melissa says:

    Wow! Thanks for taking me there with you! I loved this post, Stacey! Speaking as one who doesn’t travel much at all, this is the only way I get to see what it’s like in other countries. “A third culture kid”, very cool! What an amazing adventure your life has been. 🙂


  7. Ruth Kenjura says:

    Beautiful Stacy. How wonderful that you were able to experience a different culture. And I’m sure this adds a layer to your writing and helps make it unique. And how wonderful that you will be able to share your experiences of wonder and awe with your readers.



  8. Wow! Terrific narrative descriptions. You do put us there with and I’m so glad we’ll get to view Malaysia again in your boat. Being a 3rd culture kid has given you fabulous insight and your writing gift makes it shine. Thanks for sharing, Stacey.


  9. Oops boat should have been book.
    I guess if we sailed to Malaysia with you, we’d share the views too. LOL


  10. Nancy Kay Bowden says:

    And I chose NOT to move to Malaysia?????? Okay, the timing was simply not right for our family at the time… and it’s family first… but still…

    World travel is a wonderful thing allowing us to see from a new perspective! Being the foreigner is mind-stretching. Wonderful blog post, Stacey! Beautiful descriptions!


  11. Susan M says:

    Lovely post, Stacey. Deeply moving. No wonder you became a writer.


  12. Jennifer, you can fly (white knuckled) with me anytime, anywhere! I wish you could share going to Malaysia with me. I think you’d fall in love with it too.


  13. Hi Lo- I knew you would understand this post as you lived abroad for awhile and your husband now lives away from home. …well, I’ll bet he says anywhere you are is his home. Thanks for the kind words.


  14. Hi Kristen- I always look forward to seeing if you stopped in!
    The post was a bit poetic- ie sappy- but I had such a good time writing it. I’m glad you enjoyed reading what was on my mind this week.


  15. I try to use my words so the reader can see what I see happening in my head. I’m glad I could “take” you to Malaysia with me, Bethany. Thanks for visiting.


  16. Diane!!! My friend who works round the clock on Pitch University!!
    I so enjoyed taking a mental trip back to my favorite place on earth! Who knew it would turn out a few more chosen words for my manuscript. Yay!! That was a lovely side benefit.


  17. I say we need to plan a road…errr I mean a plane trip for writers! We could get you to cool locations, Missy!! Where should we go first? Bali? Malaysia? Istanbul?
    Being a Third Culture Kid has its pluses and minuses. There’s even a book and FB page dedicated to this phenomenon. Of course, I bought the book and belong to the site!!


  18. Thanks for stopping by, Ruth. Speaking of traveling, can’t wait for New York!!

    Funny how our past find its way into our stories. In the end, my first novel takes place in Malaysia between Kuala Lumpur, Taman Negara, the national forest, and Penang on the east coast.


  19. Hi Judythe- Thanks so much for dropping in today.
    I hope I can translate my experience in Malaysia into something that adds a richness to my story. I’ve been in a vertical learning curve on writing for the last 2 years, hopefully something has stuck with me. 🙂


  20. Family always comes first, Nancy!! Perhaps your time to go there is yet to arrive. It’s a great holiday spot and there’s so much to do and see. I’m lucky that I still have friends living there so that gives me even more reason to hop a plane…now if I can figure out how to overcome that pesky money thing then I’d have it made!! Thanks for coming today!


  21. Thank you so much for those wonderful words, Susan. That means a lot to me.


  22. Rania Sarri says:

    When I moved to Cyprus last August, I didn’t take it well. It took me months before I was able to find myself and work on my manuscript again.
    Ten months later, I’m wondering how I will be able to say goodbye to all those new friends I’ve made here.
    I’m certain my next story will be taking place on the island of Venus.

    You definitely write from your heart here Stacey. It’s a wonderful heart.


  23. Hi Rania- I know exactly what you mean when you say it took a while to find yourself. Change is inevitable. It doesn’t mean it’s easy.
    My mother was very sick for a long time and passed away last Spring. I’ve had spotty writing success for the last 2 years of my life because of the “changes” that were happening, it knocked the wind out of my sails.
    I think we are so hard on ourselves and occasionally we need to give ourselves permission to rest, embrace the change and then slowly move forward again. I’m really trying hard to get back on track, but it’s not easy- some days are better than others!


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