Debt repaid

It’s always nice to be able to return a compliment.

For as long as I can remember, we have been regularly returning to Malaysia to visit my relatives, making the most of their hospitality and goodwill. From putting us up to taking us sightseeing to paying for countless lavish meals out, our extended family has always been generous in the extreme, even to the extent of organising our wedding for us.

So it’s been lovely to have them – finally – visit us in the UK over the past three-and-a-half weeks. One of my cousins is studying in Nottingham this year, so her parents, her brother and one of my other aunts took the opportunity to come over. In the first week, we hosted them at our house for a barbecue (fortunately, it was warm and dry), and I took a couple of days off work to do the tour guide thing around London – you’ve got to love the London Eye, exorbitant though it is – and at Windsor Castle. They then jetted off to Rome on one of these Europe-on-a-coach-in-11-days tours before returning to London, whereupon the family headed off to Nottingham and Manchester for a few days. In the meantime, my other aunt and my parents stayed with us, and we did Oxford and some shopping at Bicester Village before everyone got back together again last night for a farewell dinner.

And that was it, really. Three-and-a-half weeks gone in a flash. All that remained was the airport run and traditional last-minute family photos this afternoon, and then they were gone. Already, barely hours later, it feels a bit surreal – as if they were never really here at all.

It’s only gone a small way to returning all the favours they have done for us over the years, but it’s a nice feeling to have finally amassed something in the credit column.

And now I’m knackered and off to bed.