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Well, they are gone. It seems they only just arrived and they are gone already. ‘They’ being of course our daughter Liz, son-in-law Greg and wee babe Russell, who at five months has already begun to be a world traveler, having been to Paris, Malaysia and Amsterdam.

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Christmas is always a difficult time for us. All the expats go home so there are precious few people to socialize with and all the people you really want to be with are impossibly far away opening presents, going out to movies and eating dinners with family and friends. Lord help my envious spirit!

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So when our youngest ‘child,’ now a grown woman with a husband and child of her own, decided to make the long (24 hours, door to door) trek to Malaysia to visit us, we were more than just grateful; we were ecstatic!

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We were fortunate in that close friends Jim and Karen were willing to allow us the use of their apartment while they were in Canada, so Greg and Liz had plenty of room to relax and a place they could call their own while they were here. Pam had rented and bought a few things to make life a little easier for Russell, such as a baby walker – now unfortunately banned back home, much to every child’s loss of mobility and joy of exploration – and a pool float which got a lot of use. Liz and Greg brought their own stroller/car seat which was invaluable.

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Suitably equipped we went everywhere that we were collectively inclined to go. We drove out to Genting and took the longest cable car in Asia across the ancient tropical rainforest and tended Russell while Liz and Greg climbed up to see the Batu Caves at Thaipusan. We saw our local supermall/theme park, Sunway Pyramid, strolled through the lovely KLCC park, designed by famed Brazilian landscape artist Roberto Marx, and ‘window shopped’ in Pasar Seni and Jalan Petaling. But mostly we hung out at our own elevated pool where we got a nice breeze to cool us down while watching Russell work out the logistics of forward motion.

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While Liz and Greg checked out the sights in Singapore and the sands of Langkawi, Pam and I – well c’mon, mostly Pam! – entertained our grandson with more local walks and occasional splashes in the pool. It was great to get to see Pam with a baby in her arms again. She was a wondrous mother when our kids were little and I remember being very much in awe of her understanding and care for our kids. It was nice to be reminded of that again after so many years!

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After a final meal at the Oasis where Greg and I got in a couple of games of pool and Pam and I got to dance, it was time for Liz and Greg to go back to Calgary and more familiar surroundings and weather, and for us to get back to our regularly scheduled lives. We made a final run to the airport to see them off and drove back home in complete silence just thinking through all the joys of the last two weeks. It was a glorious visit and very much appreciated.

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