At last.

The kids are asleep. The gulai is simmering, filling our home with a tangy, spicy aroma that will surely sting the eyes of unexpecting house guests.

And I have many, MANY hours to call my own as I properly reunite with my PC.

Ah, my dear PC. ‘Tis pure love, it is. Your black exterior, coated with a stubborn layer of dust, undisturbed since we dragged you half way across the world.

Your useless transparent acryllic window through which noone ever gets to admire because it’s facing the inside of my desk.

Your 3.02Ghz heart, still faithfully chugging along after three years.

Yes, I’ve missed you.

Still. You can’t compete with five days and four nights of sun and sand and sea. It was just pure R&R. Nothing exciting. No thrills. Even the kids assumed a kind of placidity that made us contemplate for a moment the notion of moving out to the country where the phones don’t work and the pancakes are to die for.

But let me begin, from the beginning.

Long Beach, Washington, is a quiet little one-street town sandwiched between a couple of smaller beach towns and park reserves, all serving the tourist trade which seems to be its main economy, after which we assume is the farming of oysters.

Driving through Long Beach, Klipsan (where we stayed), Ocean Park and Oysterville is like driving through pockets of America that time had forgotten. There were even moments when time actually stood still, when the streets emptied into buildings and nary a soul was in sight.

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While some of the architecture seems to have been purposely refurbished to give off a rustic or antiquated look, much of the towns’ businesses and residences, apart from a smattering of new developments of beach front homes, look like they’ve been around since the turn of the last century.

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For a Malaysian family, visiting Long Beach (which, from here onwards, will mean the whole Peninsula) was not unlike travelling back to one of our rural towns. Batu Gajah, where my parents live now, comes to mind. But for the chilly evenings (and it rained the last two days we were there), one could easily have imagined being back home, with the heavy foliage that fringed the main street that led us towards the park reserve sitting on the tip of the Peninsula. It was both new and familiar, fresh and nostalgic, if you can imagine.

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Driving on the beach right next to the water was a totally new experience for us. You can’t do that in Malaysia, although I’m not sure why because it really is quite fun. Of course, being paranoid, I was always worried that the kids playing on the sand would get run over so it took me a while to relax and enjoy myself.

Also, getting stuck in parts of the sand which were soft, is not so fun. One of the evenings, I’d taken off on my own for some me time. Parked the minivan on what I was sure was hard surface. And for one heavenly hour, I shared the roaring Pacific with noone, but a couple of lost seagulls crying for the rest of their flock. The late afternoon sun afforded me refuge from the freezing breeze and warm, fine sand sifted between my toes.

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(taken with my phone cam, so not so nice – why the hell am I wearing jeans?! I honestly don’t know…)

It was enough to renew even the most fatigued of spirits. I was refreshed. Rejuvenated. Made ready for motherhood again.

And then I went and drove my minivan into the sand. Before proceeding to lock myself out while trying to dislodge it.

That’s right. I thought I could pull out a 5000-pound car, ALONE.

“Are you angry?” I’d asked Lokes after he spent $70 getting a mechanic to jimmy the lock and pull our minivan from the beach.

He simply shook his head and laughed.

“It’s just…funny. Only because it’s you,” he’d said.

I love the man. Well, to those who don’t really know me, this incident is classic Jenn.

In fact, it would’ve been insanely out of character if I’d returned without incident.

Suffice to say, I did not drive on the beach much after that, even when Lokes told me that it’d be okay. I knew it was the sort of polite offer that I was supposed to refuse. Which I did.

Well, the important thing is I got my hour of me and the sea. That’s all that matters. And I recommend you ladies do it sometime.

Just make sure to practise working your car jack before you go.