We turned a junction into a dark and quiet neighbourhood, looked for the house in between the multiples rows of terrace houses and pulled up in front of their house at about 8p.m. with dad cursing under his breath about all the lousy drivers he met today. Mom hushed him down and we made our way safely across the road after dad parked his car in front of someone else's house, blocking a tiny part of its entrance. The whole lane was really dark, no lamp posts or anything. The only light that shone so close to the road were the lights from windows of the houses that piled up on both sides of the road. Joshua (Aunty G's 9 year old son) was with us the whole time as dad pciked him up also together with Edmund from school (they go to the same school).
Joshua and Edmund didn't need any further invitation cause both of them just barged right into the house greeting everyone uninterestingly with 'hello's and made their way into the play room. I entered right after them, with mom and dad behind me, into a cosy living room, basked in the warm light from table lamps located at strategic places of the house and greeted by the people who were already there and finished with their dinner. The walls were beautifully adorned with framed paintings and scrolls of Chinese proverbs from China and opera and musical posters from Spain (or Italy) and the living room was decorated with numerous unique antiques and thingamajigs collected by Uncle G(erard) from all his world travels and the furnitures were embelisshed with expensive lamps, cloths and frames of family pictures taken during their holidays or on special occasions.
Adrian and Carina were already there and so was a few other close friends from the church, which includes Aunt Amy with both of her daughters, Kathryn and Karyn, Aunt Julie, Uncle Sunny and his son, Andrew. The aroma of something brewing in the kitchen made me realise how hungry I was, pulling me back to reality after being mesmerised by the state of the house. Mom called me to the kitchen, located at the far end of the house, where she was helping Aunty G serve. I glided past the people who were seated around the table, busy slurping noodles down their throats, and found mom in the kitchen. "Come, come and help yourself, don't be shy," said Aunty G, moving around the kitchen holding multiple bowls as I greeted her. "It's jawa mee lah," mom said when she noticed me staring enquiringly at the big pot of bubbling orange liquid.
Mom grabbed a bowl, put in some noodles and some other ingredients and filled the bowl with a huge scoop of boiling, hot, orange, creamy gravy that attacked my nostrils immediately. She told me to go outside and wait for her. I did as I was told, seated comfortably at the table with Aunt Amy, Aunt Julie, Kathryn and dad and waited patiently for mom. She came out with a tray of four bowls of jawa mee and carefully placed them in front of dad, me, Aunty G (she was too busy to eat) and then herself. We dig in at once and let me tell you, it was the best jawa mee I've ever had in my entire life. It's true, I'm not exaggerating! I've never been a fan of Penang's jawa mee or anywhere else's jawa mee for that matters but I seriously liked Aunty G's jawa mee.
She told mom that her gravy was only tomatoe based but everyone agreed that it tasted like oxtail soup with noodles. She had minced beef in her jawa mee and I believed it was that that made the noodle taste so good. Small conversations were conjured when our mouth was busy munching. "I chew my food for at least 40 times before I swallow," Kathryn said defensively when her mom told her to hurry up to make space for other people to eat (which wasn't entirely necessary cause we were the last ones). As usual, I went for a second serving and was full enough to lay off the carrot cake (Aunt Julie brought it) and the tau fu fah (mom's special) we had for dessert.
By the time everyone had their share of carrot cake and tau fu fah (I could tell they were practically stuffing themselves), they decided to have a little chit chat around the table. I couldn't be bothered to join them cause I was busy taking pictures of the house and the unique antiquities arranged properly all over the house. I got bored with taking photographs under the dim light and asked permission to put on a CD. Handpicked Josh Groban's CD and meddled a little bit with the CD player before getting the CD to play. There was something wrong with Josh Groban so I had to change it with a random CD entitled The Sounds From Heaven. It was practically wrong for me to only sit and lay on the couch with good music and Chinese tea without a book.
Aunty G led me up to one of her rooms filled with books and left me alone there. Nothing really caught my interest as there was a huge amount of Law books and city guides. Seeing that Uncle G is an estabilshed lawyer himself, I could've predicted this earlier. I left the room and went downstairs where evrybody were and went into the playroom and spotted a copy of True Singapore Ghost Stories 14. Slightly pleased, I grabbed the book and settled comfortably on the couch with the soft music. Uncle G had already fallen asleep on the opposite side of the living room and the rest of them were talking at the table, so I took the liberty to retreat myself from their activities to reading. Wasn't exactly the best choice of book but it way better than Law or city guides.
They thought that the children ought to be sleeping already, so we bid farewell and left with a happy note. The women seemed to share something personal and intimate cause they looked as if they've grew closer compared to the time we walked into the house. Reluctant to leave as I was, but we had to attend the 7a.m. mass the next day. I mean, who wants to leave reading a good book in an extremely cosy setting that it could even make you fall asleep? Well, I'm definitely looking forward to our next gathering!