(Little Miss and her grandma and daddy)
My daughter and her dad visits Malaysia, my home country, with me for the first time, and I’m in awe at how much she takes me back to the Malaysia I once knew but hardly remember. With her, I no longer just see the gazillion malls that sprung up in the last two decades and the network of highways that leave me in a daze. In this oppressive heat, the other extreme of the icy winter that we left behind for this vacation, she parades around my mom’s AC-less apartment in just a diaper, salty-sticky from the humidity. Watching her play with the neighbor boy, she provides me with a glimpse of what my childhood was like. Through her eyes, I see the girl I once was. I’m swept with a powerful wave of nostalgia for the simpler days, where kids played outside and roamed about the neighborhood, weaving in and out of alleys, parks and neighbors’ houses until their rumbling tummies brought them home.
Will Little Miss ever know those days? I wonder. I hope. But somehow, and sadly, I doubt it. And maybe that’s why, as difficult as it is, I will always make this trek back to the home of my youth, just so she too can have a slice of the innocence from my childhood. Here in the hot, humid heat of the tropics, where, in some magical pockets, time stands still for some of us.