There is a significant Australian expat community here in Penang, as the Australian Air Force has a number of families stationed here. The Royal Malaysian Air Force operates a base in Butterworth, just across the bridge from Penang Island. The Australian Defence Force still maintains a presence at this base, and many of those military families live in Pulau Tikus, Tanjung Tokong and Tanjung Bungah–the neighborhoods west of Georgetown.
The Hostie is in Pulau Tikus. I’m still a little unclear who owns and operates it, but it functions as a social gathering site for Australian Defence Force families and their guests. There is a landed house with a big grassy yard, a playground, a pool, and a bar and grill. There are bicycles and tricycles for the kids, plus an air-conditioned toy room inside.
A committee of parents organized an Easter celebration for the kids today, and we were invited to attend. It was quite lovely. Hot, of course, but there was plenty of shade for us to hide under. I was so happy for Simon to get to participate. It was the first time he ever got to experience a typical Easter party. When he was a baby, I had intended to take him to the Jaycees egg hunt in Saint Peter, but he was sick and fussy. When he was one, we spent Easter in China and There’s No Easter Bunny in China. Last year, we decided to spend Easter by camping in a yurt in central Minnesota. And while it turns out that the Easter Bunny does visit yurts, it was still a rather untraditional celebration.
I was sort of expecting to be in the hospital today. But since I wasn’t, we got to celebrate with lots of other families.
There were dozens of little kids and lots of special activities today. Lots of families brought treats–cupcakes, hot cross buns, there was even a chocolate fountain. Somebody set up a bounce house next to the playground, which is always a hit. The Easter Bunny was present and a little intimidating to many of the smaller kids, but it was a good lesson that conquering your fears may lead to chocolate.
And finally, there was the Easter egg hunt. Many small children scrambling around a house to find treats can be chaos, but everyone shared and I saw some bigger kids helping the littles, which is always heartwarming.