Welp, this past week was little busy, but it was a goodin'!
First off... I'm turning into a Malay person. And by that I mean I'm developing good sleeping habits which are nonexistent...hence it is 2:30AM and I'm starting my blog post. When we first arrived, I noticed that the Malay people never seem to sleep...and now that's ME. At 11:00 PM, they will be eating dinner, at 1:00AM they will be playing drums or dancing outside our window, and recently I've noticed they play volleyball and ping pong and handball and a ton of other sports at least till midnight. Not only are they extremely active (which explains their perfect figures), but they are the most down to earth kind of people I have ever met. Whenever I am feeling down or stressed, all I have to do is find me a Malay person because just being around them for a little while is all I need to make me feel better. They are thoughtful, caring, and just so real compared to most Americans! (Sorry blog readers from home, but it's true!) They never seem to be judging others or act like someone they aren't. Even when they are eating snacks, they constantly are offering some to share and come on Americans from home, when you have one Reese's to eat, are you really going to give it away? I know I wouldn't! Or my Mama! ;) Then they always smile at me, wave at me, make me feel welcome wherever I am, and ask me if I'm ok... At first when they would ask, "Sarah, are you ok?", I would say, "Yeah, I'm fine!”, and on the inside I would be worrying and thinking, "Do I look like something is wrong?" But I have come to realize that's their way of saying the normal greeting of, "Hey, how are you?" I feel so mean, selfish, and unfriendly compared to the Malays and that is one my top goals now... to bring home the Malaysian personality and well-being (and I'm not just saying this because my new Malay friends may read my blog). I'm serious!
Something that is still being portrayed as the same ole' me from home though is my indecisiveness. Last Friday afternoon, I could not decide what to do to save my life. I could either get all my work done because the weekend was going to be packed, go to a Malaysian dance performance, or go explore some little waterfalls in the jungle behind campus with some Malay friends. Those that know me well know I took forever to decide, but I eventually decided to just go to the waterfalls. It was very peaceful and relaxing to just listen to the water flow and cool off our feet in the water.
After being in the jungle for a couple hours and on our way back, I realized if I ran back I could still make it to the dance performance. So I ran home, showered, got dressed, and...missed the 6:00 bus to the meeting spot, where I was supposed to be at 6:00. And it started pouring rain. AND I was wearing white pants. One of those moments when it's so not funny, that it's funny. (Anna, that's a better example than the funeral one, right? HAH!) However, I talked to Rachel who had invited me and she said they would wait for me, which they did and I'm so happy they did because the dance performance was so cool. The other dance performance I went to was true traditional Malay dancing, however this was about as contemporary and one of kind dancing as it could get. There was crawling and yelling and hissing and jumping, and so many props were used including babies, benches, balls, and boys (I had to add an extra "b" word). One part was a guy and one of those huge exercise balls. He pretty much laid across the ball doing weird, but cool things with his hands and body and would randomly jump across the room like a frog. Which must have been what he was trying for because they had a "princess" come out and kiss him on the cheek! So artsy and creative I must say.
Saturday, Erin, Carson, and I went trekking/hiking/camping in the jungle to find an even bigger waterfall. After hiking for a few hours and hearing thunder in the distance, we decided to set up camp before the rain and darkness caught us. We slept in our hammocks along a stream, and woke up to butterflies EVERYWHERE. I wished I could have gotten a picture of one, but they were the biggest butterflies I had ever seen! There were also some lovely ants that decided to build their “home” in and around my shoes all night long. The next morning, we continued our trek to find the waterfall. This trek was not an easy one, that’s for sure! From picking leeches off, getting scratched by bushes, bit by mosquitos, hearing wild hogs, seeing monkeys in the trees, seeing a HUGE snake, AND seeing tiger prints, this trek was quite different than what I have done in the past. I have never gone off trails, especially in the jungle, and I don’t really plan to again in the future. As we were walking, Carson said, “Sarah, how do you like this kind of backpacking?” I didn’t want to complain so I just said (with a smile), “I like other things better.” In the end though, it was worth it because we came upon a big waterfall. Carson climbed all the way to the top, Erin got about half way and fell down, and of course I fell down the first little incline. This was one of those moments when you’re falling and there’s nothing you can do about it except pray the landing is soft. Thankfully mine was, and the only injury was a just a bruised pinky toe that got caught on a rock. Side story: While trekking, this was my first experience with leeches! They were so disgusting and even though it didn’t hurt when they sucked on you, you had to pry them off with sticks and rocks and once you get them off, you continuously drip blood. Erin got one on her stomach, and I got to enjoy dreaming of leeches all over her stomach and that we had to cut her open to detach them from her veins. Sorry if that was too vulgar. Hehe.
After the exciting weekend, I found my new favorite hobby here at UPSI. And that is playing/practicing with the UPSI futsal team (all girls)! When I’m at Queen’s, one of my favorite things to do at soccer practice is play futsal, but it usually lasts for no more than an hour, and we don’t always do it. However, this is 3 hours of playing 2 or 3 days a week! And I LOVE it! I love the game and my teammates here who remind me of my team back home. They are welcoming and loud and funny and we all have something in common.
Another new hobby that I hope to continue weekly is going kayaking. Some guys Meredith and I met invited us to go in the lake behind campus, and goodness, it is just like our new friend said, “A time to release tension.” The mountains stand directly behind us with the clouds going in and out, there’s a soft breeze, and the ONLY sounds are from paddling and when you’re still, a few birds in the distance. While just sitting in the kayak, gazing at the mountains, it was the first time I thought to myself and truly felt, “I could live here forever.” Don't worry Mama, I'm still coming home!
After the kayaking, I met some of my futsal teammates and went to some type of ceremony. I’m still confused about what the ceremony was all about, but I didn’t care, because I loved the company of my new teammates. I also left the ceremony early and met one of my classmates and new friends named Amera. We walked through the market that was set up on campus, looking at all the traditional clothes and the beautiful pins, enjoying each other’s company. This was one of those times when just being around a Malay person is all I needed, especially one like Amera. She’s definitely one of the sweetest Malay friends I have here, and bought me a cute little key chain with my name on it.
As far as classes are going, metal craft is by far my favorite. I just finished one of my final projects! We sketched a design, traced it onto copper, and embossed away!
To treat ourselves during the week, the Americans and Koreans like to go to one of our favorite restaurants called The Blue Garden. The owner/cook is SO nice and always gives us free samples of his dessert and bread. Here are some pictures of us...
Pina Colada! In Malaysia!
Me and Erin
Me and Meredith
Opa and Clara
Denisse (Mexican) and Harold (Korean) could pass as siblings. HAH!!
Ko and I thought about bringing this kitten home to play with Lasak....
Tomorrow is our last day before mid-semester break (our SPRING BREAK!!), and we are going to Bali!!! For 10 daysss! I’m so excited if you can’t tell… but I’m getting dive certified the first 4 days and then I’ll be relaxing on the beach, exploring the islands of Indonesia, and maybe even learning how to surf! Please keep me in your prayers, as I’m sure this will be another exciting adventure. I’ll definitely take lots of pictures!
Selamat Malam! (Goodnight!)