8 Beautiful Characteristics Of A Young House Guest

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Joyce & Sharon learning to fly!!!

Joyce & Sharon learning to fly!!!

My best friend’s daughter, Joyce, came and visit us recently. She is also a very good friend of my girls, best friend to my eldest daughter. It has been such a real joy and delight to have her with us for about 2 weeks, so much so, that when she left we really miss her. She promised to return next year, for a much longer holiday. We even videoed her making her promise…*big smiles*. She said we are very dangerous……haha. Actually we had so much fun together that we persuaded her to extend her holidays. She was just all too happy. Finally she managed to extend another 2 days to 12 days here altogether.

This is the first time she has ever travelled out of the country…….and……to Scotland…so far away….alone! That was already a shock to us.

Birthday cupcakes

Birthday cupcakes

Then we were all more shocked to find that she even hand-carried a whole box of beautiful cupcakes (special order) all the way from Malaysia to Aberdeen (more than 14 hours journey) to celebrate my daughter’s belated birthday!!!! All of us went ‘WOW!’ when the box was opened….gorgeous!!! To eat or not to eat…to eat or not to eat?? Of course, finally no one can resist!

Hot pot (steam boat) lunch

Hot pot (steam boat) lunch

In fact, Joyce’s fun started straight after she landed at Aberdeen airport. I took her along to join my lady friend’s hot pot lunch (also called steam boat in Malaysia). We had a great time of food and laughter. She blended in very well and enjoyed herself very much.

My girls had so much fun with each other. The picture above tells it all (taken by my other girl). They even try to fly into the air, walk in the air and performing side kick in the air! The living room is like their gymnasium! Well, this is definitely better than jumping on the bed. I remember when my girls were still young and my nieces came to visit one day. They jumped on the bed and then suddenly…..crrrrraaack….the bed broke!!!….hmmmm. Looks like they have not grown out of all those silly jumps. Oh wait…..now let me think….have they been jumping from the sofa chair behind????? Now I am convinced they had! I need to check that out……*shaking my head*.

Joyce’s name really suits her well. She is just so full of joy, every minute of the day. I guess she even smiles in her sleep! I should have checked it out when she was here! Never mind…next year…*grin*.

I have heard of several bloggers who complained about horrible visitors…..ooooops! I guess most of us had some form of such experiences which is quite sad. I have housed and entertained lots of friends and relatives over the years. But I’m glad almost all of my visitors are very nice and understanding. Too often I heard people say, “I’m so glad they (visitors) have left!” I have also heard of many horrifying stories from friends. Sad but true. I’m sure if everyone would learn some simple rules and courtesy, I’m sure he/she will be dearly missed as he/she leaves, just like we miss Joyce.

I would like to share 8 beautiful characteristics of Joyce as a young house guest who really warms our hearts and make us really want her to come back again. We can all learn from her, including myself. We can also teach it to our children, whether big or small. She is a total blessing to us. Remember she is as young as my daughter. Puts some adults to shame I think.

Here are the 8 Beautiful Characteristics of a Young House Guest. I do hope my girls are just as good as Joyce when they are someone else’s house guests.

1. Polite

Joyce is a very polite girl. She calls me ‘Aunty’ and my hubby ‘Uncle’. This is very polite Malaysian culture. I’m sure it’s the beautiful culture of the all the Oriental countries. It’s a show of respect to those who are older, like their parents’ age. Each morning when she gets up, she will greet me with a big smile, ‘Good morning, Aunty Mary’. Awwww….she just warmed my heart. Of course I keep cooking good food for her…*sweet smiles*. Then when I am very busy, she would ask me, ‘Is there anything I can help you, Aunty Mary?’ Awwww….that melts my heart even more…haha. And…more good food for her of course!

2. Happy

Joyce is really a very happy girl, happy all the time. She brought lots of laughter into my family. There’s so much giggles and chuckles. Even when no one is talking to her, you will hear laughter! She just had so much fun on Facebook…haha. Laughter is just so infectious. Each time she laughs, the whole house seems to vibrate with laughter. All of us must have grown a lot younger when she was around….*big smiles*. Laughter puts everyone at ease.

3. Helpful

Joyce is very helpful. Whenever we need help, even when she is back home in Malaysia, she would be most happy to help. So are her parents. When she sees there are dishes in the sink, she would help me put them away into the dish washer. She learns fast how to load and unload the dishwasher (there’s no dishwasher in her house). She treats my home as a home and not like a hotel and that makes everyone very comfortable and happy.

4. Initiative

Joyce is a very initiative girl. She doesn’t need to be told or instructed. She sees a need, and offers to do it. She is a very responsible person and is always willing to go the extra mile. When she saw me rushing with my food for the business, she offered to help me. She could have gone out to play or shop with my daughter but she chose to stay to help me first, then go out. I really appreciate her for that.

5. Appreciates

Joyce knows how to appreciate others. She is always thankful for what others do for her. She is very humble and sweet and always give credit to others. She knows how to say the right thing at the right time. We sure get lots of ‘Thank You’ from her.

6. Tidy and Clean

Joyce is very clean and tidy. Each morning when she got up, she kept her place very neat and tidy. And dirty clothing into the laundry. She doesn’t leave things around but kept them in their proper place. She also dresses very neat and clean everyday. I must say it’s very pleasant to see someone look clean and fresh.

7. Understanding

Joyce is very understanding. She is not demanding at all. She is very easy going. She is just very happy to stay at home the whole day if she knows we are busy. She will be laughing and giggling away on FaceBook or helping me in the kitchen. There were times when we even sat at the same table and chat with each other on FaceBook……strange but true and fun. She even went with me delivering food to customers! And she loves everything that I cook…not a picky eater at all. With her around I think all of us over-ate everyday….*big smiles*.

8. Talking and Listening

It’s very relaxing and fun talking to Joyce. She knows when to talk and when to listen. Just imagine if she talks non-stop or just listens only. I would be pulling my hairs! Yes, we talked, we teased and we laughed. In that way, we all enjoyed each other’s company and feel relaxed and happy.

A Real Blessing

Joyce is a true blessing to us. She is just like a daughter to me. I told her that I need to change her surname when she is here and change back when she goes back….haha. Ever since she was young, her mom ALWAYS wanted to give her to me to be my daughter….serious. How weird huh! I should have claimed her! But then I told her mom that I know when Joyce grows up, she will claim her back and then I will have a broken heart! These days, she keeps very quiet. See, I know a mother’s heart…haha.

And to make her trip here memorable, we took her to several places of interest. My daughter was the tour guide most of the time as I was busy with my cooking, especially for my food business. They had taken a lot of pictures of beautiful places around Aberdeen and nearby places.

Of course, no trip would be enjoyable without good food. I served her some of the best food from my little Mary’s Kitchen. But it’s all Malaysian food. Just imagine she came from Malaysia to Aberdeen here to eat Malaysian food!!! Not in a million years should that happen, right? But then she said it’s the best food in Scotland and way better than those she had eaten in Malaysia…..wow….wow…wow!!! I can’t sleep at night ever since….haha. Did she eat any Scottish food? Of course she did. When my girl took her out.

Take a look at some of the mouth-watering food……*big smiles and wink*. There were lots more. Most of them ended in our tummies before I remembered the camera!

Learning to make dumplings

Learning to make dumplings

The very next day after Joyce landed here, I taught her how to wrap Chinese dumplings. I told her she has to perfect it before she leaves. So you can imagine how many times we ate dumplings, just so she can practice. Her dumplings looked real bad in the beginning (flat and ugly…haha) but after several attempts throughout her stay here, she did pretty well. Look at the plate of fried dumplings here. They tasted good and look good, too (pictured here below). Proud of her!

Fried dumplings (pot stickers)

Fried dumplings (pot stickers)

Chocken rendang

Chicken rendang

This is chicken rendang, a very popular Malaysian dish. It’s the first time I cooked it. I used corn fed chicken. It turned out very delicious. Not too difficult to cook from scratch as long as the ingredients are all available. It’s very delicious with rice and some cold sliced cucumbers.

Fried homemade egg noodles

Fried homemade egg noodles

Awwww…..my family and friends still love my fresh homemade egg noodles. The texture is chewy and superb. A lot of work to make them but worth every effort. They are good cooked in anyway. I love to fry it vegetarian and topped with any roasted chicken like the picture here. And with some homemade chili sauce from my Malaysian chicken rice, it’s just irresistibly good.

We also love the noodles cooked in the popular spicy Malaysian prawn noodle soup (shown below here). I added big tiger prawns, salmon, crab sticks, omelette and vegetables. Awesome meal in a bowl…..mmmm. We also had it in seafood curry laksa. We were too hungry and forgot to take a picture of it…..*sigh*. I love big, juicy tender prawns. Just the look of those big prawns is enough to energise me…*big smiles*

Spicy Malaysian prawn noodles

Spicy Malaysian prawn noodles

Cream puffs (Paris Brest)

Cream puffs (Paris Brest)

Now, I saw a beautiful picture of a dessert called Paris Brest. Just couldn’t wait to try it. I must say it’s actually cream puffs arranged in a ring which look very impressive. Will share my recipe in another post. I filled it with cream and peaches. It tasted so good that I must have made at least 10 times since. Joyce still misses it very much. I served my youngest daughter a piece and she went, ‘Wow…this is REALLY gooood! I love this soft bread!’ Huh…bread???? Never mind what you want to call. I think it’s bread to all Asians…..*grin*.

By the way, just in case you wonder. Paris and Brest are 2 towns just in case you think crooked! The story was told of a bicycle race between these 2 towns and someone created this lovely dessert in the shape of a ring to represent the bicycle wheel. How interesting!! Guess it’s time I create something about Aberdeen…….*big smile*.

Malaysian apam balik

Malaysian apam balik

The above here is the ever popular Malaysian pancake (also called ‘apam balik’) filled with a mixture of peanuts, sugar and creamed corn. I just slapped it thick with peanut butter. We love it filled with kaya (coconut jam), too. You can also fill it with red bean (azuki beans) paste just like what the Japanese do. Whatever you fill it with, they are great for breakfast or tea time snack or even parties.

Soft chewy peanut cookies

Soft chewy peanut cookies

These are soft chewy peanut cookies, very flavourful and tasty. It’s one on my business menu. They are great to take along when you are out and need something sweet to munch. A nice item to have, too, when friends drop by for tea and chat. It’s also gluten free.

Sweet sunshine puffs

Sweet sunshine puffs

My children love these sweet puffs. It’s fabulous biting into it, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The beautiful flavour comes from the honey. It’s also on my business menu.

Teh tarik (pulled tea)

Teh tarik (pulled tea)

And then, we can’t miss out on the famous Malaysian ‘pulled tea’ called ‘teh tarik’. Ever since my daughter perfected the teh tarik recipe, we had been enjoying it everyday…..mmmmm….just SO goood! She can do it with style.

And then one of the best fun event is a farewell party for a dear friend. Sad that they had to leave but the party was great. The whole family was relocated to the Philippines. They had just left…sob sob. We planned to have a wonderful outdoor BBQ in a very beautiful park but sadly the weather was bad. So we had to cancel it and had it in our home…..7 families altogether. Didn’t regret the last minute change of venue.



On top of all the delicious food, we played Win Lose or Draw. It was totally hilarious….haha!!! This time it was a game of the genders…men against ladies. Result….the men won very narrowly. We had so much laughter over the drawings. Just too many to show here. I think I will show 3. You may want to guess before you continue to read further.

Joyce's drawing

Joyce's drawing

This is Joyce’s drawing. I can’t make out what it was except that it was a ship. Her team finally got it right after she drew the hearts. Yes, it’s Titanic!

Hubby's drawing

Hubby's drawing

My dear hubby drew this. Tell you, drawing is one of his weakest subjects. If you ask him to draw a test tube, he will likely draw you a very tiny worm…haha. I just wonder who would ever guess this. Of course none of his team members got it right. It’s highland cow….haha. That’s just too weird! Looks like potato spuds. And if it’s a highland cow, it must be doing a split…haha. My gosh…he didn’t even draw the head. Who would have guessed it right! He drew the line upward hoping someone would understand that it means highland….laugh out loud!! I think I must have been laughing in my sleep most nights!!

Man's drawing

Man's drawing

The person who can guess this must be the most ‘intelligent’ man in the world. I must tell you. Actually someone really got it right…how on earth!!!! It’s ’super model’!!!! You must be scratching your head like I do. What is the clue??? I have to admit I am really bad in abstract art. We ladies finally conclude that it must be the backside that they were all looking at. Just can’t believe what men think!!!…..hahaha.

You have to know who is this great artist. I think this picture of his will fetch A LOT of money at the auction!!!!….*big wink*. This is the man who drew it……

The real artist!

The real artist!

Now, I think this picture will fetch a lot of money, too…..haha. This friend of ours is a very quiet man, seldom talk and laugh. He’s an avid stamp collector. If you want him to talk, just talk about stamps and he will be all alive and talkative…haha.

Oh, what an evening of great fun! Laughter is the best medicine. Everyone went home very full and very happy! Until today, we are still laughing over the many funny pictures that our friends had drawn and all the weird, crazy answers. And our dear friend, Joyce, enjoyed it very, very much. She is very good in drawing and also guessing.

Hope all of you are enjoying your week. Keep Smiling and have fun in life! If you don’t know what to do, just gather some friends and play Win Lose or Draw! Remember, ‘Laughter is the BEST medicine!’

Quote of the day……

“Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest.”

- Ashleigh Brilliant

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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Belinda @zomppa  on June 21st, 2011

I can’t promise you I’d behave this well, but I’d do it to eat some of this food! Those cupcake are stunning. The girls look like they are having so much fun! I’m not telling my parents about this well-behaved houseguest - they will KNOW that they raised a monster!

Mary  on June 21st, 2011

@Belinda - Haha, I amused when you said, “I’m not telling my parents about this well-behaved houseguest - they will KNOW that they raised a monster!” I’m sure all of us are a monster at some point :D

LeQuan  on June 21st, 2011

Mary, great great post! You had me laughing out loud, then tearing when I read about Joyce, then laughing out loud again as soon as I saw the highland cow picture. What a roller coaster ride you just put me through.

Now let’s talk more about sweet, adorable, dear Joyce. I can really feel the love you have for her when you speak of her. It’s really no surprise though. I have had the joy and privilege of getting to know her better through FB and emailing, and even though I’ve yet to meet her, she has already made her way into my heart. I can just feel her sincerity in every comment and email. She really is a treasure. I really hope to someday meet this wonderful, lovely girl. Joyce if you’re reading this, you are very “terima kasih” (wink) lol. But seriously, terima kasih for your beautiful friendship, my dear. Spam me soon ;)

Lastly, I will be the first guest that you wished would leave sooner. Come August, it’s going to get all sort of crazy in Aberdeen :-D. Be ready for the fly, land, and strangle ;)

Theresa  on June 21st, 2011

Hi Mary, I enjoyed reading your blog. I felt that you are a very kind and generous lady with full of love for others. I envy you that you have so many good friends.I wish I have at least one good sincere friend in the USA beside my husband and my children as companions. Theresa

Joyce T  on June 21st, 2011

Hi Aunty Mary… Reading this post really put eyes to tears…I really thank you Aunty Mary for taking so good care of me when I’m there… Everyone makes me feel like home…Every moment I spent there..still so fresh in my mind..Really I had an amazing 12 days…so much fun n laughing! So glad i extended my holidays n how i wish to stay longer…I miss u all so much…I will keep the promise. Cant wait till next summer! Just wont stop saying it…I love all ur food! Paris Brest will be my fav dessert. Will try out something on cooking like how Aunty Mary told me.=D Again, Thank you for everything Aunty Mary..HUGSSSS… Early in the morning today i came across one passenger goin to aberdeen! Makes me feel like I wan to go also…lol!

Joyce T  on June 21st, 2011

Le Quan…I feel the same when u read this post..tearing n lol. N of coz i am glad to be ur fren even we’ve not met yet..enjoy all the talking wt u…August will be a blast for all of u.. I’m gonna spam u very soon comel! well, amiret hisak! =P

Christine's Recipes  on June 21st, 2011

Mary, lots of laughters, good foods and friends in your house. Big smile!
Joyce is such a wonderful guest, and blessed coz she could have a wonderful holiday with you.

Lisa H.  on June 21st, 2011

OMG what a feast… I too want to be invited to Aberdeen hehehe…
Nice happy photos :D

Swathi  on June 21st, 2011


Joyce is wonderful girl looks like you had a wonderful time with girls and food is delicious as always.

kristy  on June 21st, 2011

Mary, it’s so nice to have someone from back home coming for a visit now & then. Your girl must be thrilled to see her good friend. What a big welcoming party! SO, am I treated the same when I’m there someday????? HAHAHA…. I bet you’re a fair person. haha… Have a lovely day.
Blessings, Kristy

anncoo  on June 22nd, 2011

WOW Mary! There are so much fun in your house..how come I missed this post! I like the pretty fondant cupcakes that Joyce brought for Sharon’s belated birthday and gosh! look at those food you’ve cooked..makes me so hungry just by looking at it and I’m giving full mark for Joyce dumpling wrapping :)

lena  on June 22nd, 2011

you had me laughing at those drawings! who would have guessed that highland cow!i would have thought a chempedak or something but that man’s drawing is quite an artistic one..ha! eh, i think you also missed out one point about Joyce..she’s pretty too!

Barbara  on June 22nd, 2011

What a super list for houseguests! Joyce sounds wonderful and it looks like everyone had fun.
Love the food!!!

Joyce T  on June 22nd, 2011

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments…=)

Aunty Christine.. Really had a wonderful time…Will go back n have some good times n good food again.=D

annchoo…Those cupcakes homemade by a fren’s mum back in my hometown here. n really enjoyed dumpling wrapping..at first it was really hard..just have to keep doin until it looks nicer.. haha… n again, Thanks!

Blackswan  on June 22nd, 2011

Happy belated bday, Sharon! Love those cup cakes :)

Looks like lots of fun & laughter at your place. Thks for sharing the party & the drawings! Would love to join in the game. Hahaha!

I almost travelled the world but not to Aberdeen. Maybe one day……..

sweetlife  on June 22nd, 2011

What a sweet post Mary!! Joyce sounds like a dream house guest. The girls sound like they had so much fun!! thanks for sharing


Angie's Recipes  on June 22nd, 2011

Sharon, happy belated birthday! hallo Joyce ;-)) I love the photo of you two young beauties learning to fly!!!
What a saucy and delicious chicken rendang! And the cupcakes are so pretty.
Thanks, Mary, for sharing it.

Faith  on June 23rd, 2011

What a great post, Mary! It sounds like the girls had such a fantastic time. Joyce sounds like a wonderful house guest and it was so sweet of her to bring the birthday cupcakes! (By the way — hope you had a wonderful birthday, Sharon!) Those dumplings are gorgeous!!

Ananda Rajashekar  on June 23rd, 2011

I see so much of positivity and life full of energy here…loved the post and first pic is the best all food oh my god :)

Catherine  on June 23rd, 2011

Aww, Mary! I wish I had half your zest for life :) what a tremendous tribute to Joyce, she sounds absolutely wonderful! I want to join your ladies group and have the steam boat lunches :D

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