There were several temples inside the great Batu Caves. This one was quiet and serene. In side a priest came out to greet us and asked us where we were from. He also gave us his blessings….
We chose a Saturday to take the trip to Batu Caves, a Hindu holy site on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. The dramatic limestone mountains can be seen from miles away, but close-up the view is incredible. Built into the caves and around the entire site are several temples and impressive statues.
The gold plated statue of Lord Murugan, to whom the cave temples are dedicated, is a thrilling sight to see.
We stopped before the gate to the steps, because this was a banana tree with bananas and pod included! We’d seen so many banana trees nearby, but no one had spotted the bananas on the tree like this one.
And they were ready to begin the climb to the top….
Next: the view from inside the caves.
Teaching is what the student teachers came here to do, and they were eager to get into the routine of teaching. They seemed to settle in fast, thanks to the support of their cooperating teachers and the enthusiasm of their students, who were very excited to have American teachers. Take a few moments to get acquainted with this group, the 3rd cohort of Wilkes University student teachers in Malaysia:
1. Amanda Bast is seeking certification in Pre-K through Grade 4, Early Childhood, and Special Education. Under the tutelage of Miss Jeaniene Ganisan, Miss Amanda is teaching Mathematics, Moral Education, Physical Education, Art, English, and English Oral to some very lively and lovable second graders. Meet Miss Amanda:
2. Paige Trusty is near completion of her degree in Mathematics, with a secondary teaching certificate enabling her to teach Mathematics to students in grades 7-12 (Form 1-O/A Levels). Her cooperating teacher is Mr. Casey Dhevan. Meet Miss Paige:
3. Chase English (all 6’6″ of him) will soon be certified in Pre-K through Grade 4. He has established a wonderful rapport with students and staff alike! His cooperating teacher is Mr. Alfred Sy, who has welcomed Mr Chase as an equal partner. Meet Mr. Chase
4. Mitch Yamrus is pursuing his degree in Biology with a teaching certificate in Secondary Education, 7th through 12th grade. Mr. Mitch is being mentored by Miss Zainurain Binti Zainal Abidin, and he is teaching Biology and General Science to Forms 1-5 (High School). Meet Mr. Mitch:
5. Robin Sorber will soon graduate with a degree enabling her to teach Pre-K through Grade 4. Ms Robin’s cooperating teacher is Mrs. Lalaida Appukutan, and Robin is feeling very comfortable with her colleagues in the Kindy . The children have really taken to Miss Robin! Meet her:
6. Last but not least is Rachel Gill, who is soon to graduate with a degree in Chemistry and a certification to teach secondary students. Her cooperating teacher is Miss Shariza Sharir, and the two of them have become good partners and colleagues. Rachel teaches Chemistry and General Science to students in Form 1-5 (Grades 7-11). Meet Miss Rachel:
While their days are filled with teaching and lesson planning, they do manage to get out and experience the sights of the local area. Next: the 2014 trip to Hindu holy site, the Batu Caves.
Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days. On the last day, Chap Goh Meh, Sri Utama was visited by two mischievous New Year Lions and their entourage–to the delight of all!
The children enjoyed the prankster’s antics, as he taunted us and teased the lions.
When Valentne’s Day rolled around, it was hard to believe that two weeks had passed so quickly. And it was Mitch’s birthday, too! So we all took him out to Secret Recipe to have a little celebration with our principal Annie Termaat.
It is just wonderful to be over here during Lunar New Year. Everybody gets off work, and the shops have great sales. Restaurants and packed and generally, there’s a lot of hustle and bustle.
The only problem for us was that ALL of the cellphone and sim card places were closed because they were owned by Chinese Malaysians, who were busy celebrating the New Year traditions with their families. So it took us about 5 days until we were able to phone our relatives back home.
Meanwhile, we certainly enjoyed the sights as Kuala Lumpur welcomed the Year of the Horse!
We spent the next day, January 31, getting used to our new home. We were joined by Dr. Linda Winkler of Wilkes University (above, far right), the Special Assistant to the Provost/Director of International Initiatives, who had come to meet our hosts at Sri Utama as well as potential partners at Malaysian Universities.
The first thing we noticed was that everything was decorated for Chinese New Year. Bright colors, especially red and gold, were in every public place to celebrate this big national holiday. What a time to come to Malaysia! With a day off for the holiday, we were able to fight off jet lag and get acquainted with the neighborhood.
The condo where we were staying was just beautiful. Situated next to the Wangsa Maju Mosque, it is nestled into the side of the hill. We heard the call to prayer six times a day, and we loved the view from our 11th floor windows.
The weather was beautiful, about 80 degrees and windy. We were able to get our bearings and explore the area, where the cat-lovers among us made friends with the cute cats that hung out on the ground floor (which we would call ‘first floor’ in the US).
Coming up: Malaysian pizza party