Reflection: The Idea of Home

Friday, May 13th, 2016 

Minneapolis, Minnesota IMG_7392

As I’m typing this out, my room looks like an actual Midwest tornado churned its way through and strewn my things everywhere. If this is how moving feels like, I don’t think I could ever go through it again.

I just bought 4 extra packing boxes to my already packed 3 medium-sized boxes, which I thought were enough to store all of the items I owned. Man, do I have so much stuff. One large box filled with winter clothes, another my kitchenware, another for my duvet and comforters.

What about my normal clothes? Books? Junk that I’d never have the heart to throw out even though I know I would never have any use for them?

I also don’t have food or anything to cook with anymore since I’ve packed all of them up. I’ve been swiping my debit card so much, I’m actually terrified of checking my bank account. At the end of last month, I told my father I had saved enough to cover for the first two months of my new apartment’s rent and now I’m too scared to tell him I might have used a little bit of next semester’s school fees – the one he said not to touch.

I had no idea leaving for home would cost a lot.

I can’t wait to actually be at home and not have to worry about spending so much. I’m sure it’s way easier to cook at home where my fridge would usually be stocked with produce my mother gets on her Sunday market trips. If I felt like eating out and craved nasi kandar, how much could it possibly be? RM10? What is that? $2.50 je?

Another thing I’m excited about is being able to buy and read novels again. I miss reading till the wee hours of the morning and just laying there in bed, staring at the ceiling and letting the story sink in.

The books here are expensive, about $15 a pop, so not only do you just not have the time to actually read, you’re also turned off by spending that much money on a college student’s budget.

Sadly, I could actually count on two hands a number of novels I’ve read in the past year and I think about the two large bookshelves in my room back in Malaysia. I imagine myself standing in front of them, wondering how on earth I had the strength to go through so many when all I do now is stick to a strict 10PM bedtime just to function properly the next day.

There is a list next to my laptop here, of places Marsya and I hope to get to in the 3 months we’ll be back home.

We plan to do tourist-y things in KL and maybe venture out to a few other states. I’ll miss Yi Peng and Amanda because they help to balance out the loving arguments between Marsya and Eurica, but I know it would still be a ball.

I miss everyone’s faces. I miss my mattress with the springs poking through. I miss my green-eyed bossy cat. I have an internship coming up that I’ve spent months trying to get.

I don’t think I miss the heat very much but I know sunlight makes me happy.

Monday, July 4th 2016

Subang Jaya, Selangor


I’ve been home for more than a month now, three weeks into my internship and one week before it ends. Excuse me while I squeal with excitement in my head.

Raya is in two days, so everyone in the office is pretty much gone and I have zero assignments to get done since my final presentation was about an hour ago. This means I’m basically waiting for 2 more days until I’m off the hook.

What was I thinking; trying to go on road trips while undergoing an internship?

So far, I haven’t gone anywhere further than KL with them. I’ve only managed to spend a total of 4 days with Eurica and now she’s away until we meet up again at the end of this year. It’s a good thing I shortened the length of my internship or else I’d probably never get to spend time with any of my friends here.

Reading my May post up there made me sort of laugh and want to cry.

I was still caught up in the memories of Marini ’14 when really, things have changed even when they still look the same. As I drive around Subang, buildings still look the same and it sometimes feels like I never left in the first place.

If I looked really closely or stayed in a place too long, though, I began to notice the little things that do not belong.

Sunway Pyramid was literally my third home, next to my actual home, and Guardian (because I love pharmacies). Naturally, it would be the first place to have lunch at right after I landed. However, once I got there, I felt so out of place. There were just so many people and where did the TWG Tea place that looked so posh in the middle of one of those atriums go?

I used to eat at the Delicious restaurant pre-States quite frequently but when I skimmed through the menu, RM30++ for a plate of pesto pasta? Mahalnya.

As I converted currencies in my head, it amounted to about $7 and that’s actually how much I used to pay in MN. This is when I realized that Malaysia’s currency value is low and it might feel that I’m paying a lot for food, but it’s pretty normal here.

Sorry, terkejut for a sec there.

This goes the same for books. When did they cost so much? I used to spend RM30 at most for paperbacks in MPH but now, they’re RM49.90. Honestly, what. Forget that. Maybe being in the States has taught me not to spend freely and I actually applaud myself for still keeping it that way back here, but a girl’s gotta get her new arrivals. To Summit’s Bookalicious I go.

It’s funny how sometimes things just doesn’t go the way you hoped it would.

Whatever you wished would happen back home, wouldn’t. All those past daydreams about the boy I used to stay up late nights with on the phone, how he would realize I’m home and ask me out.

I’m learning the cold hard truth that they don’t come true because people change. Carving ideas of how you expect them to be is unfair. It simply doesn’t work at all.

I was excited to hang out with my high school friends but just one conversation with them made me realize I missed out on a huge part of their lives, like university. I had to keep up with the names of friends they made while I was away and understand that those people want to hang out with my friends as much as I do. This time, I had to learn how to share and be okay with it.

I thought being away from home made me grow up and that is true but honestly, being back home is really shaping me up.

My internship made me learn that working life is not going to be easy and nothing will get handed to me on a silver platter. There are obstacles I’d have to go through just so it will all be worth it in the end and even though the idea scares the crap out of me, there are honestly other worst things in life.

It’s also painful for me to watch my father pay for my tuition fees and my brother’s all at the same time, whilst preparing to move into a new house. You’ll see it when your mother slowly hints at you to save up the duit raya cash you’ll be getting or tells you to graduate ASAP just so you could put some ease on your dad a teeny bit.

It’s just the little things, you know? You never saw it before, thought everything was going great but after a year plus and growing up a little, you can’t un-notice it.

In a way, I just want to feel good about myself again. I want to know that I’ve done whatever the heck it is I want to do with my family and friends this summer, go through senior year, graduate, travel one last time, and figure my shit out after.

I don’t want to force myself to wear the clothes or the shoes Marini ’14 used to wear if I don’t feel good about them at all.

I think summer in Subang is all about living in the moment and not worry about the future.

And the food I thought my mother has stocked up in her cupboards? The woman still has the same white sugar we had back then and unopened cans of tomato paste that expired last year untouched in the pantry. Also, a close-to-empty fridge. Bless her heart.


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