BITTERSWEET: Coming to terms with the familiar and unfamiliar
I LOOKED forward to returning to Malaysia but it was rather daunting to go back to a place that I had not been to in two years.
Yes, I was regularly updated on happenings in the country via social media and friends. I also braced myself for hot, humid weather.
Yes, there were many things I wanted to do, hundreds of people I wanted to meet and millions of dishes I wanted to devour. However, being a stranger in my homeland haunted me.
What if my favourite shops are gone? What if the bus routes are different? What if my pals had changed their personalities and our friendship had taken a different path?
Questions fuelled by worry and doubt lead to chaos. “What ifs?” cause your mind to spiral into a bottomless pit of gloom.
Ultimately, I had to face the fact that I was not going to find the exact place that I had left behind. Change is inevitable, be it for better or worse.
So, I announced my return on my Facebook page. Then I was left to hope that my friends would reconnect with me.
When I touched down at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, I sprinted to the arrival hall with my bags and was welcomed by warm familiar faces.
I had expected a friend to be there as promised but was pleasantly surprised that there were two waiting for me instead. I had my day of arrival already planned. I wanted to meet my former schoolmates, visit my secondary school and run errands.
I unexpectedly bumped into more friends as I was strolling around and they offered to ferry me around on my errands.
I feasted throughout the day and satisfied my craving for local cuisine. Nasi lemak, kaya and butter toast and otak-otak were the start of my food adventure.
I tried to adjust to local time but unfortunately I woke up at 5am. To make full use of the early hour, I decided to stroll to SS15 for a bite but forgot about the barricades due to the extension of the Kelana Jaya line. The train line construction made it rather difficult for a pedestrian but I found an opening through the barriers and made it across the street.
I was obviously not familiar with the new shops and found it rather surprising that everyone used Whatsapp and Viber to communicate on their phones instead of texting.
I had lost contact with many friends but there were a handful who adjusted their schedules for a reunion. Going home was a bittersweet experience but I would do it over and over again.
There is just something good about Malaysia. There is just something good about home.
The writer will enter university in September and loves to try all things but is a Malaysian at heart