Family Visit (in photos)

Hi kawan,

My mom, dad, and sister came to visit me during my two week break in May/June. Photos don’t capture everything, but we had an important trip. I feel blessed that they were able to come.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The first night we were together we went to Fook and had some pretty baller food! I had been looking forward to this day for ages, planning and researching and sending ideas of what we could do.
It was so incredible to see my parents. Being with them made me realize how much I have changed since I last saw them.
My mom really loves hop on hop off buses so we rode all around the city. Doesn’t she look so cute? KL is rapidly developing and there was construction everywhere.
We met up with Emily and went to Batu Caves! Emily and I have not always had the best relationship but our time together in Malaysia could not have gone better. I think we both grew up a little.
Dad at Batu Caves! Aren’t the colors so beautiful? I love Malaysia.
Tan pants gang.

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

I drove us from KL to Cameron Highlands and the roads were ROUGH. At one point there were so many switchbacks on what felt like one way roads we had to honk before we went through. We made it and our first night we had hot pot and some Tigers. This is the before photo.
After! Sooooo full.
We went on a hike to the Mossy Forest and the views were spectacular. The drive up to the park was CRAZY.
We visited Boh tea plantation and had tea and scones. They were very sedap lah.

George Town, Malaysia

Emmy with her scarf and new fan.
No matter where I have traveled in Asia…vibes.
We took a cable car to the top of Penang Hill and walked through the forest.
An entrance at Kek Lok Si Temple.
What a wonderful world we live in. Living in Malaysia makes me want to travel everywhere and read every book I can and continue to meet new people and challenge myself however possible.
My beautiful mother at a floating temple.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, also known as ‘The Blue Mansion.’
How lavish! Even Crazy Rich Asians was filmed here. This mansion was perfectly ‘feng – shuied.’
Drinks at the Blue Mansion bar.
Walking around George Town.
Downtown GT…we watched a movie being filmed. It was very cool! It seemed as though some kind of war was happening.

Hanoi, Vietnam

We flew to Hanoi and I did not take many photos during this part of our trip but we I loved Hanoi. The first night we went to a tiny restaurant Emily’s friend recommended and had Cha Ca Thang Long, also known as Vietnamese Turmeric Fish with Dill. It was so delicious and we cooked it ourselves. The food in Vietnam was unreal…as was the coffee…and I don’t even drink coffee but I am addicted. Hanoi was so different from any city in Malaysia I have been to and it was interesting to compare. During my time there I met up with two friends from Conn who grew up in Hanoi – Nam and Duc.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

I mean…is this not a perfect personality picture for us or what? After Hanoi we went on a cruise around Ha Long Bay for a few days.
The view from my tub! That green greeeen. It was hard to leave.
A grainy pic after we hiked through some caves.
Rosé all day y’all.
We went to a pearl farm. Natural pearls are so beautiful.
What a duo. We kayaked all around the bay. We went to caves and toured through a floating village – which felt invasive and wrong.
It rained a bit but it only added to the magic. After our trip to Ha Long Bay we spent another night in Hanoi and then said goodbye to Emily.


This hotel is a piece of art.
We stayed at the Marina Bay Sands and the towel art was very impressive.
Mom at the infinity pool! We could see Malaysia from the pool…Malaysia is my favorite. Singapore is only a 4 hour drive from my house.
The Singapore light show…Singapore felt so futuristic.
Mom at Gardens by the Bay being a bae.
Shoutout to all the mom’s out there who take our pictures when we don’t want them to, only for us to post later.
I mean…Singapore goes all out.


We walked all around Melaka but a lot of shops were closed due to Hari Raya.

Pahang/Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

Bringing my parents to school was very dreamlike for me. No students were there and it felt very strange. I lent my mom one of my baju kurungs to wear.
We went to my mentor’s home to celebrate Hari Raya with her family. We ate rendang, nasi biryani, and soto.
We visited the elephant sanctuary near my kampung.
Mom driving on the left side of the road. She even had to swerve an endangered pangolin!

Kuala Lumpur

Our last night we went to a De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan and had delicious Malay food.
The best Malay food is home-cooked, but this food was pretty darn good too. We had asam pedas sea bass, rendang udang galah minangkabau, and nyonya terung sambal. Throughout the trip we ate significantly more Western food than I wanted to, which made me realize how my taste has adapted. I eat practically no dairy or meat in my kampung.
Despite the photos, our trip was not perfect. Family dynamics have forever changed and there are certain dynamics that I will no longer tolerate but the trip as a whole was positive. On the surface, it looks like my life is wonderful and I am having the best time, and in a way that is true, but far from the full picture. Although I try to be real on this blog, there is a great deal I leave out from these posts and from my instagram.
It was harder saying goodbye to my parents this time around, now that I know how hard it is to just breathe here sometimes. That being said, I talk to my mom most days and I feel closer to her than ever. All the tears, the anger, the pain, the elation, the growth, the light – she has felt that with me, and been my absolute person during this journey. I love you, mom ❤
I am so grateful for the ways in which this experience has challenged me and forced me to grow through my discomfort. At times, it has been very painful to be here, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

More to come. With love,


ClareAbouts is not an official U.S. Department of State publication, and the views and information presented in this blog are entirely my own, and do not represent the Fulbright U.S. Student Program or the U.S. Department of State or the Fulbright Commission or Malaysia.

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