29 October 2013

Fall Break: Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

It's hot here.

Oh. I've mentioned that before?

The boys had off from school for fall break so we headed up with some friends to where the air is sweet and fall-like.

We wore long sleeves, ate strawberries and drank hot chocolate, hot tea, and hot coffee. (except for me, coffee = no go Joe. Too bitter. Sue me.) When you're there, it's nearly impossible not to completely buy into the feeling that it IS, in fact, October. I've even been in April before and totally thought it was October.

The Cameron Highlands.

Hats off to you British Army. Before air conditioners existed to make the equator somewhat bearable, those Brits carved out a road through the rainforest mountains to create this little reprieve from the heat.


It's about 3 hours from Kuala Lumpur. 1.5 hours TO the mountains, then an hour plus UP the mountains.

{tap tap tap...is this thing on?} Special announcement. Bring the Dramamine. More on that later.

Yes. That is a long sleeve pajama shirt under the Spidey-T. 

It's happened every time we've come up here. That night-before while packing and it dons on me, AGAIN, that my children only have shorts, tshirts, and flip-flops.

"Just how high is too high?"  I think to myself holding up the 3T pants I inevitably have to pack for my 5 year old.  I may not be posting photos of the highwaters, but I sure enough made them wear them. Ankles out, yo!
Among the delightfully tacky strawberry-themed roadside "attractions" in the highlands, there are tons of produce and flower stands. We embrace it all. It's a little bit of heaven I tell ya.

Especially when the hubs surprised me with these gems.
It's a good man who knows when to go for roses and when to go bigger.

My knowledge of these and my interest in them is totally and completely 100% Pinterest-induced. 
True story.

Seeing as how the Highlands is in the middle of a rainforest, it'd be silly not to at least make a stop by the mossy forest on Gunung Brinchang (Brinchang Mountain).

...even if your kids wear flip flops to do so. (Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye...I swear we packed sports shoes for the boys, they just refused to wear them)

Our friends' son. I include this because 1. it's a great photo of an adorable kid and B. it's proof that we're not the only ones who send our kids hiking in non-hiking clothes. Prep School or North Face Ad... I can't decide what this photo wants to be. (except a pic of a cute kid. See point #1)
This place never fails to look like a movie set.  If New Zealand is all booked-up for the next Tolkien movie, I know where they can find a really moody forest. Its practically a character itself.

Then there's the crown jewel of the Highlands.

 Which speaking of Tea and British things and Pinterest....

Ahhh, history jokes. The fact that we bought our first kettle only after moving to a country in the former British Commonwealth, makes it even funnier.

Ok, ok. Real pics only from here.

Where were we?
Ah, yes. Americans in tea plantations. The BOH Tea Plantation  is a great little place to spend the morning. Not only do you walk through the tea to get to it, they ACTUALLY process the tea right there and you can walk through the center and see it in action. Then grab a cake and, you guessed it, a hot cup of tea, and have a fantastic tea time on the covered area overlooking the plantation (above Birdie's shoulder in the pic below).

One of the things we love about our life overseas is the people who become "family" when ours is so far away. We are blessed indeed to have friends like these out here.

Also, I love it when kids get outside. You know things are going well when kids start picking up sticks. Sure, it'll probably result in injury at some point, but that's ok too.
I'm fairly sure our friendship is strong enough to endure me posting these basketball pics...goodness I hope so. We relax hard AND play hard in the Highlands.

 I mentioned Dramamine earlier.

About that.

Y'all, Zayah has an easy gag reflex.
Did we remember the motion sickness meds the last time we went to the Highlands? No.
Did we remember them on that boat ride in Bali last summer? No. 

Consequently we have a pretty honed skill of avoiding getting puke on ourselves and cleaning it up off various surfaces without attracting too much attention.

Don't count me out y'all. This time, I thought I was Mrs. Motherhood.  I remembered going up AND going down...even remembered to make him take it over an hour before hitting the mountain road.

Back story:
About a third of the way up the mountain road there is a huge waterfall. Parts of it are concreted over and there are roadside stalls selling handmade items to tourists. But its huge and we take a family photo there every trip. On the way up we didn't stop. So we did on the way down. Just as we park the car, Birdie pukes.

Oh stank. I know. So sad.
Lemme top that sadness with a parenting fail: we didn't give her dramamine because the dosage said not to give to children under 2 years of age. Have you seen this post?
The one where we celebrated our HomeBird's SECOND birthday?
It's one of those memories you laugh about later and tell to your parent-friends as an hilarious anecdote.... in years to come that story will finish with "....but she WAS 2! We BOTH totally forgot!"

Just after cleaning up Immanuelle's breakfast off the carseat and changing her clothes, a group of women surrounded the kids and wanted pictures. It happens a lot actually. And the younger and blonder the foreign child, the more likely they'll be asked to take a picture. Birdie was NOT in the mood. But Isaiah was! HA!

Photo-op with locals done, we took the traditional photo, and then some, by the waterfall.

I'd like to title this family memory, "THE SUN HURTS MY EYEEEEESSSS!"

Isaac couldn't not get in the water.  Right on, son! The part right after where he sat down and got his pants all wet we could have done without, but the enthusiasm to get in and live it up is applaud-able regardless!

And that was our fall break.
If you made it to the end of this post tell us what you are loving about Autumn this year? Ya know, whether you actually have an Autumn or just do something to pretend you do, like us.  Leave us a comment!


  1. I miss this place! And it's way more beautiful in person! So many pictures I love but the one that made me laugh out loud was "the sun hurts my eyes" one. I am so glad you got to experience a taste of fall! My second favorite was Zaya's smile with that little girl...he is such a sweetheart ;). Next time you will know for sure Birdie needs dramamine also...I guaranty! Love you!

  2. Sigh. Your pictures. Your country just made my to-visit list. (ok let's be honest...since it's a foreign country, it's always been on my list. But it just moved up a bit.) And Isaiah. If I ever met him, I think I would melt and give him all my candy or money or whatever I had on me. I wouldn't hate it if we arranged a marriage between him and Annabel.

    1. Well you've got a free place to stay when you do make it! And the thing about Isaiah is he WILL ask for your candy...and if you happen to be strong enough to resist him with his "normal" face on, he's likely to cry BIG HUGE GIGANTIC crocodile tears which will remove any shred of resistance you had going...and then you'll still want to give him your candy. I have no clue what we're gonna do with him...he puts his arm around everyone like that, particularly girls, so if you bring Annabel when you come visit, just prepare James for handsome little boy to want to hold her hand (and probably Hazel's too as the girl in the pic is 5-nearly 6!).

  3. This post makes me want to do two things:
    1. Smile!!
    2. Get on a plane ASAP to come see all the cuteness. It's seriously killin me!!

  4. Birdie puking??!! No! That's just too much. I mean, I know she's TWO (do you?! :) and generally two year olds and puke go hand in hand...but that's just not acceptable! She's too cute for that.
    fun fall!! love the pics!

  5. Ok, i know you posted this a while ago, but I took a break from keeping up with blogs while we were in the States (decided to spend time with real live English-speakers instead of hang out with their blogs). And now that we are back and there is once again a shortage of English speakers with whom I can hang out, I decided to check my blog reader. There was no way i had time to catch up with everyone's blogs, so most of them I just marked "read" (is that lying?). But yours was one of the few that made the cut to actually read before i marked it "read". And I'm so glad it did as i have been enjoying catching up with you guys. I used to make my own yogurt, but our crazy travel schedule last term made it impractical to keep a starter, and the little packets are practically impossible to find here. Then this post brought back so many memories since we were able to go to the highlands with my siblings (you know the ones that really do exist, honest) a couple yrs ago. Hoping you guys will be at agm this year, looking forward to catching up in person, not just on the blog. :)

    1. Yes! We made the cut! We're actually planning another highlands trip in March. We'll see you in June! Hope your time in the states was good for everyone :) Thanks for catching up with us!