The Good, The Bad & The Durian: Reflections On Being Back In Malaysia

It was exactly a month ago since I set out on this journey back to the homeland. People have asked how I’m adjusting, and as expected, there are pros and cons.

The first two weeks were spent getting over jet lag and the fact that I no longer lived in Maryland. Quite a number of mornings started out with me thinking that I had someplace in Washington D.C. to get to, only to remember that oh, right. I moved halfway around the world. Continue reading

Transporting Your Pet from the USA to Malaysia IV: Animal Quarantine in Malaysia

Instagram: @schubertkat

Saturday morning dawned early (March 1) for Schubert, a grey, shorthaired house cat. The alarm buzzed madly at 6 a.m., waking his human friend, who seemed to be in a great hurry to get up. Schubert ambled around her, gazing upwards intently until he was given a pat on the head. She even reached for the catnip flavoured treats this morning and he got three – they are never handed out so early! Then, as he was just done crunching up the last piece, his human friend walked him into a blue carrier bag, zipped it up, slung the bag (with Schubert in it) over her shoulder, and walked out the front door of the house in Rockville, Maryland, where a friend’s Hyundai stood parked waiting for them.

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Transporting Your Pet from the USA to Malaysia III: Cat on a Plane

Welcome to Part Three of my series on transporting your pet from the USA to Malaysia. Part I was was about travel accessories, and Part II was about essential pet travel documents. In this post, I’ll describe my overall experience travelling with a cat on a plane, including flight check-in, going through security, claiming Schubert on arrival and checking him in with the quarantine office (MAQIS.)

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With A Good Guide, You Can See the Highlights of Seoul in Three Hours

The hotel room was quiet, except for the unobtrusive, low-volume Korean voices drifting from the flat-screen television. I peeked out the window and down towards the lit empty streets with resignation — it was 4:00 a.m. on Friday here in Korea after all.

Earlier in the evening on Thursday, I arrived in Incheon Airport, excited that I could take advantage of a 24-hour layover to explore the highlights of Seoul. I’d made big plans and plotted out what I wanted to see. After unloading my bags at the hotel, I would ask the front desk for directions to the famous Dongdaemun, set out on an evening walk to the city’s vibrant shopping district and stay there till the wee hours of the night to leisurely browse all the goods. The next morning could be spent taking in the city’s popular sights before heading back to the airport. Continue reading

Transporting Your Pet from the USA to Malaysia – Part II: Documentation

Instagram: @schubertkat

This post is Part II of my Transporting Your Pet from the USA to Malaysia post series. While Part One discussed travel accessories, Part Two will be all about travel documents that you’ll need on both USA and Malaysia ends. In fact, before you make other arrangements, your pet’s documents should be the first step in the process that you should handle, as some may require extra time before you can get the permits and certificates. Due to the slightly complicated procedures on the Malaysian side, I decided to wait till I had all the necessary paperwork before writing about this part of the process. Continue reading

Five Essential Ways to Discover the Real San Francisco

An alley in the Mission District.

Cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and Lombard Street — iconic, San Francisco landmarks that are a given on the must-see lists of first-time visitors. A few days of exploring those gorgeous sights are bound to have you hankering for more that the city has to offer, especially to places that fewer tourists know about. Here are my suggestions on how to discover the real San Francisco.

 

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Virgin America is a Chic and Hip Budget Travel Option

A painless check-in, even with a cat

Virgin is known as the hip and cool alternative airline, but I wasn’t expecting the interior of the plane to look like it did. A male attendant with spiky hair and hipster glasses stood near the main entrance of the plane; his all-black attire reminded me of a bartender. The plane itself, lit with a dim glow from neon purple and blue lights, had a swanky nightclub feel to it. Lounge music playing overhead amplified that atmosphere.

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Cat on an Overseas Trip – Part I: Travel Accessories

O, you are leavin? I'm coming too...

O, you are leavin? I’m coming too…

Women and cats. Those of us with gentle souls can’t help it. Those squishy, baby-sized furry creatures with their big sparkly eyes — sadistic predators though they might be in the animal kingdom, their sweetness and affection towards us bring out the instinct to protect almost like we would our own children. I brought my four-year-old Schubert from the county animal shelter to live with me when he was just five months old. Now he’ll be going with me on this big trip, despite many people telling me to leave him here in someone else’s care.

Taking any pet halfway around the world is a big decision. Continue reading

Snow is Fun — Sometimes

We started off nice and cutesy…

I’ve made it clear on more than one occasion how much I dislike snow, but when good old friends show up for a visit in this weather, even I can’t stay moody. Della, my Taiwanese friend whom I’ve known since freshman year of college came down from New Jersey for a farewell visit, and we decided to have a little fun with the snow, even though it was already beginning to melt.

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Penn State in the Winter

I’m now at 15 days before I leave the US permanently. It’s so surreal to think that one day, I’m living here and in a couple of weeks, I’ll be elsewhere, never to return (at least not in the foreseeable future.) I still have a number of essential things I need to get done, namely papers for the cat that can’t be processed till I’m down to my last 10 days here. The procedure with bringing him over has been so nerve wracking that I’ll be saving that for a post after I’m back in Kuala Lumpur.

But none of that has anything to do with winter at Penn State, my alma mater in State College, Pennsylvania. I visited last weekend with my friend Liz, mainly because we live so far from each other and Penn State often becomes our mid point meeting. Continue reading