Six years ago, when Angel visited Malaysia with the purpose of meeting my family, proposing to me, and getting to know a little bit of the world I came from (tall order for a two-week trip, huh?), we decided we ought to show him Cameron Highlands. Problem was, his trip was already packed with sightseeing and social events, so there was no time. While visiting a cave on the mainland, however, we spontaneously drove the extra two hours to Cameron Highlands, stopped for a snack of tea and scones, and turned right around and drove the 4+ hours back to our home.
So, technically, this weekend wasn't Angel's first visit to the cool, green, beautiful highlands...but it was his first visit of more than an hour, which makes it a pretty momentous occasion.
The true reason for going was for a spiritual retreat in the highlands for a small group of teens and young adults at a secluded, inexpensive bungalow that my family has stayed at several times on past visits.
If anyone ever said that spiritual retreats can't be loads of fun, they were totally and completely proven wrong by this one.
As per tradition, we stopped first for tea, scones, and strawberries. Cameron Highlands are well-known for their tea plantations and greenhouses, where lots of fruits and veggies are grown--especially strawberries! We bought a few boxes of strawberries to take with us to the bungalow where we were staying, because we'd toted along a couple of homemade shortcakes from home and had delicious dessert plans.
Cameron Highlands are much cooler than the city where we live. For comparison, on a typical day here, Dad's car thermometer will read in the high 30s in degrees Celsius. Once we arrived at the bungalow, it was reading around 18 degrees Celsius. We were chilly! We'd all packed jackets and cardigans, but a few of us had trouble sleeping since we're used to sleeping in muggy heat, not cuddled under piles of blankets and trying to stay warm!
Sunrises were beautiful over the hills. On Saturday, we had several educational sessions planned and organized activities, but right after breakfast, we had about an hour of free time. The more athletically-inclined spent that time playing basketball together, while other of us opted for peaceful morning coloring or the reading of books.
One of the coolest games that we put together for the weekend involved a field of lies ("landmines") that had to be defused with the appropriate application of Scripture verses that directly combated those lies with truth.
It was a beautiful weekend, filled with good food, beautiful scenery, important lessons learned, and funny memories with good friends. You may notice that the only people who appear in the photos are my own family members--they weren't all who were there, but for blog purposes, it just seems right to only choose those photos. :)
Oh yeah, the swingset turned into a place where everyone tried to perform their best gymnastics tricks. Just what everyone needs on a spiritual retreat, right? I'm glad Angel finally got to spend some time in the beautiful highlands of Malaysia...looks like the atmosphere suited him very well.