Well hello everyone! I realize I left everyone hanging and y'all probably have been wondering your little minds off (or I spoiled y'all with a blog every day) BUT, it's back to the real world, and this past week has been SO crazy, in a good way. I'm not even sure how I'm going to be able to put everything into words...but maybe pictures will help. :)
I have arrived to my real housing!!! (6 days ago) I have air conditioning, my own room, clean sheets, hot water, etc... It's still not the cleanest (ants and roaches are my permanent roommates), but I'm extremely thankful for what I have. We also have toilet paper now, and of course... I clogged the toilet on day ONE. The sewage system here is a wee bit different I’ve learned. My room looks beautiful as I have everyone's cards and gifts throughout, along with pictures of all my friends, family, and teammates. The view out of our dorm is even more beautiful though.
First off, there’s something I’ve learned. They tell us to be at the bus stop at 7am, however the bus didn’t get there until 8am. EVERY morning. Now, if y’all know me, I’m NEVER on time for anything so if the trends continue, I’ll never be late! We joke around now, and whenever a time is planned for something, we ask, “Is this American time or Malay time?” During orientation, we learned the “rules”, got a tour of the library, went to the town, did outdoor activities, had breakfast, then tea time, then lunch, then tea time, then dinner. They are in NO rush to get things done. Fine by me. With my curly hair (extra curly because of the humidity), the locals are calling me Shakira. However, my fellow Americans have nicknamed me Finnegan because I look German and our lonely male american needs some manliness. I came up with Susie (my go to name for EVERYTHING) for him, but it hasn’t stuck yet. A prank war has also been started with the women vs. the man so his room got TP’ed and in return, I got an egg cracked in my drink. YUM.
My fellow roommate Marlee bought one of the head coverings that Muslims wear and some of our new Muslim friends invited us to go to the mosque with them. We had to cover completely though, which was really cool as I felt like a true part of this culture!
A couple funny moments during orientation... on the first day of orientation, everyone was given a polo shirt (mine is XL) and hat. Now being American, the first thing we all do is put our hats on backwards. We keep our hats on during the entire session until we get to the rules and learn no hats are allowed. So we all laugh, take our hats off, and say, “Of course the Americans would be breaking rules already.” Then we continue to listen and learn that you aren’t allowed to have pets in our room (we were considering keeping a cat in our room), no shoes left outside the door (we had shoes outside our door), no opposite gender in anyone’s room (we had all JUST been playing Scrabble together the night before), and a ton of others that we could be fined for. Come on now, we’re Americans! ;)
First off, we were told we had to wear “track pant” which we found out were sweat pants or long, sporty pants. However, I didn’t pack ANY of those because it’s like a sauna here! So, I wore jean capris, my tennis shoes, and my XL polo that we were told to wear. I assumed our outdoor activities would be soccer or some game in the field. After waiting on Malay time, our transportation showed up which was a truck with wood sides and a black covering. It reminded me of some military transport truck. But the Americans, Koreans, Indonesians, Malaysians, and a few others piled in this truck and headed through the jungle. Just imagine...
As we rode, there were tree limbs constantly slapping the truck and pieces of branches and leaves were flying in, and EVERY time, all the girls would let out squeals. Then all of a sudden some kind of organism fell in and man oh man, you would have thought it was an anaconda. (It ended up being a grasshopper.) During this commotion, my water bottle started rolling towards one of the Koreans named Opa and he about jumped out of the truck because he didn’t know what it was at first. I, however, was laughing hysterically because all of this was happening at once, and it was one of the funniest moments of my life. If no one is laughing yet, this may be one of those “you had to be there” moments.
We finally arrived to our destination which was a river, and we went tubing! Now remember this was a surprise, so here we are in our polos, jeans, track pant, running shoes, hiking shoes, and absolutely no water attire. HAH! This river was also the shallowest rapidy river ever, and boy oh boy it was awesomeeee. My butt didn’t agree though as it hit EVERY rock.
After the tubing adventure, the river guide took us up a mountain and it was the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen.
Meredith and I then rode in a pick up truck back to the school. That was also SO fun, but probably looked hilarious with the locals and two blonde pasty girls (shout out to my pasty pals).
After the amazing river adventure, we went to Kuala Lumpur for the rest of the weekend. We literally trekked through the entire city, and I felt like the straggling duckling. I’ve realized I have absolutely NO sense of direction (actually, nothing new).
As Chinese New Year is surprisingly STILL being celebrated, we ended up being in the middle of a parade with dragons, fireworks, phu dogs, and more. It was soooo cool.
For dinner, Jocelyn/Hank (her manly name) ordered frog. And I tried it!! It was very chewy.
The rest of the night consisted of going to a disco club and pretending to speak Swahili and people believed us! I’m known to pretend to speak in different languages, but I never imagined someone actually believing me.
Also, I finally saw a REAL American flag. Hehe.
After the weekend in KL, it was time to head back to school, which consisted of a “bedtime” story of Goosebumps by Denisse on the bus. She definitely brings some laughter which I love.
Final note: Class has started! I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO EXCITED TO GO TO CLASS. NOT being sarcastic. But those details will be in a later blog post. ;)