What with two great holidays, one horrid cold, and a whole lot of laziness on my part, it’s been a while since our last weekly challenge. When I left for India, I had grand plans of continuing the challenges while I was away. The first week that I was gone was a joint challenge week. But being in different countries wasn’t going to stop us. No way! We would just have to be a bit creative.
So the idea of the ‘Do Something New’ challenge was born. I didn’t really know what my schedule would be like while I was away, and I didn’t want to leave The Engineer with anything too hard, so I picked something not too prescriptive. And when we’re both in Asia, finding something new and different to do is easy. So the challenge would just be a matter of snapping a few pics, loading them up, and creating a beautiful post. Easy as that! Well, not quite…
You see, the thing is that when you’re on holiday you lose track of the days. So by the time I realised that it was Friday, and the right day for my challenge, it was late at night, and we were in bed, resting before our morning yoga the next day. We were stuck at our (admittedly amazing) yoga retreat, and didn’t really have anything in the room that could count for a challenge. I knew that The Engineer would have forgotten too (and I was right).
But when we talked about it a little later, we realised that both of us had tried new things that day. And it doesn’t matter that there aren’t any photos to prove it.
The Engineer’s ‘something new’ was going to Oz Sportz. The group started out as a group of Australians and New Zealanders in Brunei who gathered to watch antipodean sporting events. But, friendly as those from down under are, the group soon expanded to include anyone who wanted to come along. And has basically become an excuse to get together and have a few drinks. We’ve been told about it so many times since we arrived, but the regular Sundowners have always coincided with us being away or being forgetful, so we hadn’t made it. Until the Friday of the challenge that is, when The Engineer and some of his work colleagues headed along. From the sounds of it, it’s nothing too exciting. But it’s socialising in the way we’re used to – with booze. And we’re not going to complain about socialising with booze. I’m sure that when they kick off again in the new school year, we’ll head along again.
My ‘something new’ was quite different. I was in India, so you could argue that most things I was doing were pretty new. The Friday of the challenge was the start of my first yoga retreat, my first time on an Indian bus, my first Indian street food. But the thing that really felt new to me was my first ride in a tuk-tuk (/rickshaw/auto/whatever you want to call it). The fact that I’ve never ridden in one before just goes to show how little I’ve travelled around Asia. Despite living here for six months (!) now, we’ve mostly been in Malaysia and Brunei, neither of which are keen on that kind of transport. It’s cars and motor bikes all around here. So on that Friday morning, I was pretty excited to catch one to the bus station. The ride was, frankly, underwhelming. It was breezier and bumpier than a car, and I couldn’t see as much of what was going on on the road. But it just felt pretty normal. The roads in India are pretty crazy anyway, so being in a more open form of transport doesn’t really make that much difference. And of course after that first ride, there were many more tuk-tuks to come (both in India and in the Philippines). After a while it just feels like the normal thing to be doing.
But I guess that’s the thing about these challenges. Once you’ve tried them, they just don’t seem so different anymore (except for the century egg, that one really was weird). All the differences that strike you when you come to a new country quickly become the new normal. And the more things you try, the more it seems normal to be trying new things all the time (and the less you need a challenge to make you do it). This isn’t the end of our challenges, no way. But it’s been a good chance to reflect on what’s weird/new/different, and what has just soaked into our psyches as normal.
This week the challenge cycle starts again, with my challenge for The Engineer. So let’s just forget how many we’ve missed, okay? And I’ll be back soon with more holiday updates.
Because neither of us took photos of our ‘something new’s, here’s a picture taken on the day of the challenge. Of the very beautiful Kaivalyam Retreat in Munnar.