With Love, From Me

11:37 PM

Reaching New Heights in Beijing, China

When I started this blog in April of 2012, I was so excited. I was excited to choose a name, design a layout, and about the countless regular posts about my exchange in Malaysia that were to come. To some extent this blog served formidably as a platform to do just that—convey the ridiculous excitement I had for Malaysia, and share with people back home what I was eating, doing, and thinking each day. As probably every person who tries to blog during a study abroad experience will tell you, blogging is actually really hard. Conveying how downright difficult exchange was, while simultaneously trying not to come across in a way that would worry people back home, was a difficult balance to achieve. Blogging became more of an item on a to-do list than something  I actually looked forward to doing.
Then everything happened with me becoming Malaysian Twitter famous and writing the post on 9-11 that reached so many more people that I could have ever imagined and suddenly I had thousands of readers and my blog felt so much bigger than just family and friends back home reading my accounts of what living in Malaysia as a fifteen-year-old was like. I wanted to write for Malaysians so they could see their country through my eyes, and I wanted to write for all the people that took the time to send me sweet emails in a way that expressed my gratitude, and I wanted to keep telling my story, and it was, well, a lot. But I had fun doing it and I updated enough that I can look back now fondly on my posts and reminisce, so I guess it worked out well enough in the end.
Then when I returned home from exchange I had no idea on what to write about, or if I should even continue to write on here at all. I missed Malaysia so much in that first year back that I’m sure every post would would read like a forlorn love letter from a begotten spouse, or maybe as a journal entry from an angsty teen. The love and sense of attachment I felt for Malaysia was, and is, hard to convey to someone who has never experienced what it’s like to create an entirely new life in ten months and then have to leave it, knowing that even if one were to go back, things would never be quite the same again.
So I didn’t write except to publish a few pieces I wrote in high school, and then in college for an assignment, I tried to revamp this blog into an account of my travels mixed with some thoughts about life, all while meeting the standards dictated by English 101 professor’s rubrics. I struggled especially with the task of changing this blog’s name, because With Love from Malaysia is clearly specific to my high school study abroad, but I guess in that way it reflects the blog’s origin, and in a sense what I consider the catalyst that set my life on the course that its currently on.
It’s only recently that I realized this blog doesn’t have to be perfectly geared toward anyone but myself. Of course I want people to read what I write, and take something away from it, but exactly what I put out into the interwebs is my decision alone. I had this realization in China (I studied abroad there for four months, but more on that later) that I actually really enjoy writing, for writing’s sake. The process of putting my feelings down on paper and playing with words and sentences and formatting is pretty beautiful in itself.
So over the next seven or so weeks while I’m in Taiwan (another whole story, I really should have updated this blog more regularly…) I want to write something every week. Whatever I want, maybe thoughts on Taiwan, stories from the really cool trip I just finished backpacking around Asia, or maybe a passionate description of the guilty love affair I am currently developing with Taiwanese bubble tea and fruit juice. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I hope to enjoy writing over these next weeks, and I send all my love from Taiwan.

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