Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 2, 2011

Life is About the Moments

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

“Daddy, I can’t believe you’re here … that we’re here, together in Malaysia.” Those words have been the chorus of this day with Gina, repeated after the various verses of our day together. This morning, a Malaysian friend named Wilson picked Gina, Abby (her roommate), and me up for breakfast. “I want you to enjoy a typical Malaysian breakfast,” Wilson said to me. So, he drove us to a little restaurant where he ordered noodles with pork and a dumpling soup. It was delicious. One of the things I enjoy about travel are the colors of the foods and desserts. The taste is often another matter. Thankfully, the food at breakfast was really good. A women brought a tray of beautiful breakfast desserts to our table — little colorful works of art waiting to be consumed. Gina inspected everything set before me to make sure I had the best cut of meat and that everything was perfect. And then she made eye contact and said, “Daddy, I can’t believe you’re here…”

After breakfast, Gina and Abby took me to the train station for a trip across town to the central market, one of the best markets I have visited on any of my travels. Gina guided me through the maze of people and kiosks at the train station to purchase our tickets. And then I followed her up and down escalators to our particular terminal. I have been on some of the world’s most amazing rail journeys, including a 27-hour train ride across the Gobi Desert, but today I followed my daughter as though I was riding a train for the first time. She was concerned about every step I took and wanted me to have the best experience possible in her city. While we waited for the train, Gina stood next to me, put her arm around me, laid her head on my shoulder, and whispered, “Daddy, I can’t believe you’re here…”

At lunch, Gina and Abby took me to the place where Wilson had brought them for their first lunch in Malaysia — a place called Old Town White Coffee. And then, after a bit of shopping, we traveled by cab to downtown Malaysia to see the Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world. Magnificent architecture. Once again, as Gina and I posed to have our picture taken, she said to me, “Daddy, I can’t believe you’re here…” And then, we traveled by cab to the night market to meet some students. Gina wanted me to experience the crowds and the energy (and the unusual smell of stinky tofu) of this market that is only open on Wednesday evenings. As we slowly ambled through the crowded outdoor market the skies opened up and it started to rain. Without missing a beat, Gina turned to me and smiled as she said, “Daddy, I can’t believe your here, standing with me in the rain…”

I saw lots of really cool sights and stuff today, but this is not what I will remember about this day. What I will remember most are the moments that Gina and I spent together. She was excited about showing me the interesting places where she lives. But it was clear that she treasured sharing the experiences of the day with her Daddy. Throughout the day I found myself more interested in Gina than the sights of Kuala Lumpur. I enjoyed watching her and being with her in this place she calls home for this season of her life. Now, when she calls to tell me about her day, I will have a clearer picture of the context of her experiences here. I am now dreading getting on a plane to Cambodia on Saturday because Gina will remain here in Malaysia and I may not see her again until July of next year. So, I am treasuring every moment with her.

It’s late as I write this post. I am in a hyper-pensive mood as I consider how God has led my youngest daughter to serve Him half a world away from home. I can see how she has grown in her faith, in her ability to navigate around one of the largest cities in Asia, and how she has endeared herself to so many students and people here. As I write I keep hearing the words of Gina’s chorus, “Daddy, I can’t believe you’re here…” Just before I started to write I searched my iPod for George Strait’s song, “The Breath You Take” and listened to it once again. The chorus was strangely familiar…

Life’s not the breaths you take
The breathing in and out
That gets you through the day
Ain’t what it’s all about
Ya just might miss the point
Try’n to win the race
Life’s not the breaths you take
But the moments that take your breath away.

Today was a great day for me here in Malaysia, one that I will never forget because today God reminded me that life is about the moments that take your breath away. And today, He took my breath away!


  1. This made me cry. Proud of your girl!!

    • Thanks, Kay. I wrote this one with tears in my eyes. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It’s going to be hard for me to leave on Saturday.

  2. God is so good to allow us to parent children! So happy for your experience with your daughter.

    Tonya V.

    • Amen, Tonya. Thanks for your kind words.

  3. Totally a treasure of experience and memories. Be safe and travel well. I tried to find Gina on Facebook but was unable to determine which was the right person. Ask her to try to find me. Have a fun time. Blessings!

  4. Made me cry too. Gina will never forget these moments either!

    • Yes, it’s been great spending these days together. We’ve made lots of good memories. I am dreading tomorrow when I have to leave.

  5. You are such a special Daddy! Praying for you. And how sweet this post is, I am so thankful for Gina that she has this kind of support from her family. These blogs have been such a blessing to read, and thank you for sharing your heart. See you soon!

    • Thanks for your kind words and for following our journey. See you soon back at Kingsland.

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