Hello from Malaysia! I am currently writing this sitting in my room on campus. My suitcase lies on the floor still unpacked, and my shelves are crammed with cleaning supplies I still haven’t gotten round to using. I am avoiding cleaning and long showers and even going to bed as there are many, many spiders lurking in various nooks in my room. The past two days have been hectic and it is very weird to think that I have not spent a longer time here. Not because i feel settled or anything. Oh no, it feels like am on a very strange holiday and I will be going home soon, like this is not quite real.
Moving day came quickly. I was pretty unorganised despite my packing list which proved quite useless when I realised my suitcase was hopelessly overweight. I ended up leaving behind most of everything. The flight was long and exhausting, but the seat in the middle of my row was fortunately free the entire time,and the guy sitting at the last seat was pretty nice. Eventually I was in Singapore, gawking at the huge, shiny airport, in a state of excitement and nervousness for being there. How to even begin talking about what I did in Singapore? It was only a few days but my friend and I did and experienced so much in that time. Things that stand out? I think the bus journey to the hotel and stepping into the hotel for the first time, just staring at it all in amazement that I was actually there, and later window shopping in orchard road and making my first in store laneige and etude house purchases, eating curry udon that was too hot at nearly midnight whilst sitting overlooking the river at clarke quay, messing about in the long bar with my friend as we drunk or slings . There are so many good memories.And it was a good few days to have fun and ease into Asia- to have that time in Singapore to get over jet lag (I spent my first day in Singapore in bed, fighting dizziness and nausea and exhaustion but by the next day I was cool) and to adjust to the heat (the humidity, too. cannot forget that lovely sticky, sweaty feeling) and to experience this side of the world as a tourist first. not everything was perfect, of course. I was still taking my antibiotics and it was annoying to remember to take them. there were also a couple of moments where things were a little tense between my friend and I, and a few times when i did something awkward which was embarrassing but thankfully our friendship survived. overall, it was a great trip.
Then it was on to Malaysia. The flight was only about 30 minutes, but there was no one from the university to meet us at the airport so we had to wait for 2 hours for them to come, without anything to eat or drink and our baggage unclaimed. Eventually they came and we went through immigration and found our baggage lying unattended by the belt. Both my friend and I were furious. The university has not been particularly organised about this whole affair, and this ws the icing on the cake. We did make it to the campus eventually and got checked in to our accommodation.
From then on its been quite hectic. The days aren’t busy but there is so much to take in that every day is quite exhausting. It’s really quite different here. The weather is hot as hell, my room is filled with creatures I am terrified of, the food is ridiculously cheap but overwhelming in its sheer unfamiliarity. the drinks here are good though. There is this one shop that sells fresh juice blended with ice, which is heavenly and I’m helplessly addicted. I also tried bubble tea the other day, and it was nice but a little too sweet and milky to have an entire glass of. I am trying to be open minded and to try things, but it really is so hard to know just what to try and the portions are so large and its so hot that you barely even want to eat! Went to subway today and it was wonderful. The breaks for western food no matter how crappy it is are really so lovely, and I am not sure if I should feel embarrassed about this. I’m just not used to Asian food!
I’m also starting to understand why groups of international students always stick to each other in the UK- as these past few days me and the other students from the UK have been getting to know each other, and sticking close to each other. I’m pleased to know people though, although in truth it is thanks to my friend I came with that I know these people. :/ We’ve been out grocery shopping together and today we visited the town close to the university and were embarrassing tourists while trailing around the malls. its a small campus so we bump into each other frequently, and generally we gather together to have drinks or eat at the food courts. Everyone is quite nice and it is OK to hang around them, but at the same time it is so nerve wracking going through this process of making new acquaintances all over again. This is my third time already and I still cannot make small talk! I am surprised by how much I am enjoying myself despite this, every one really is quite nice and very friendly, although i am very tired. it is exhausting being around people so often, and overwhelming trying to settle in and trying to get everything done that needs to be done in regards to admin type things. as i said, everything is very hectic and the days feel long, even though they seem to be passing quickly.
I don’t miss home just yet, thankfully. Instead I somewhat superficially am longing for the things i left behind- the books i still wanted to read, the foundation i thought i could buy here but can’t, my collection of nail polishes, my favourite bed sheets even. these are the little things that made up my life back there, and the absence of them is what really makes me so feel so far away. So far i’ve skyped my family often, and i text my dad all the time, so it doesn’t feel bad yet that i cannot see them. adjusting to the time difference is a little weird, when i call my dad and he is about to have supper while i’m about to go to bed!
overall I am really just trying to settle into this place, trying to find some routine and trying to do things and eat things that might make me uncomfortable because I want to enjoy my time here. because thats always what makes one feel settled isn’t it? knowing people and knowing where to go, what to eat, thinking of my crappy room in halls as home. I really want to start to feel more settled here, and for it to sink in already that I am living here. Most of all I hope I enjoy this.