In Conversation

While up in Kuala Lumpur just a little while ago, I took a break from my break to do a little writing. And I must say, so much time spent together as a family, with no distractions is a pretty nice lead up to Christmas. Especially when there’s good food to go around…

Earlier this week, my family drove up to KL, a trip we like to call our “rotting time”. As I am writing this, my sister is soaking in a long hot bath while my parents are enjoying the peace and quiet away from home watching a movie on cable.

It’s been a relaxing week so far, with mornings starting no earlier than 11am and the days themselves comprising no more than massages, shopping, movies, eating… and some swimming to… you know… somewhat compensate for the amount of food we’ve been indulging in.

But along with the consumption of food comes wonderful conversation. The first night here, we had dinner at a restaurant that had a box full of cards with various themes for table topics on each table. Amongst them were amusing questions such as, “What food do you find the sexiest? What would you do differently if you were the opposite sex for 24 hours?” and some perhaps slightly more meaningful ones like, “What was the worst advice you’ve ever received?”

And just tonight, we had a dinner of scallop porridge, soya bean milk and ‘youtiao’ at a small stall in the shopping mall. A dinner that brought back fond memories for some of us. Over the meal, my parents shared with my sister and I, their happiest memories of food they used to have while they were…mm… younger.

Over these few dinners, my sister and I caught a glimpse of the lives our parents had. And those snatches of conversation about apparently silly topics can sometimes lead the conversation into more meaningful territory, areas that reveal much about a person’s thoughts and values.

Conversation over a meal can truly be a powerful bonding tool, if it is steered the right way. I’m thankful that my parents have taken advantage of these times when we’re all seated together to tell us stories they find meaningful or amusing, or to ask us probing questions, or just to catch up with us (my sister and I) and lend a listening ear. That’s a gift that I’ll always appreciate and one that doesn’t only come about at Christmas time. It’s a gift that I hope I can continue to give to my own children too in the future.

What do you think could be a gift that you could keep on giving to your loved ones all year round?

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