[TOTAL RECALL Ed.]
The absence of hard-blowing winds;
The warm touch of heat, the feel of Sun on your skin;
The lightness of thin comforters;
The abundance of foods waiting!
And those lovely faces of your own family members you haven’t seen beyond the realm of Skype for almost 9 months.
Despite the 10 rude Malaysian behaviors easily listed on the Internet, there are, other things really worth coming back for.
Give thanks for your experiences in overseas, and give thanks as well for the opportunity to come back home.
Especially for those who are about to set out into this whole new journey – appreciate every single detail around you today, for there will be times you wish for nothing more but to be where you are right now.
I was once the ‘lucky’ few to spend my early days in Cork with my luggage bag that was still somewhere in Amsterdam. I only had my departure attire with me, a small backpack containing laptop, important documents and a pair of woolen coat for three miserable days. That was when a few kind-hearted seniors came to my apartment and brought along a bag full of pants and clothes for me to wear. For someone who’d never has to ask for anything from anyone her entire life, that’s sort of life changing.
There are many other instances where you’ll find unexpected turns of events somehow find their ways to you. The only difference is for this time around, your families are not here to attend to your every need. Your only lifeline is God, you’ll learn that soon enough. He sends you friends, seniors, and a few who actually care. Appreciate them for who they are, what they provide you with, and try to give more than you receive. In Cork, we’re a small Malaysian community, but we’re pretty close-knit. Maintain good relationships with them and they’ll become family in no time. In terms of international / local community at large, you’ll find them to be as friendly. Of course by now you should realize that we are bound to be socially different from them in certain ways, but honestly, these differences are altogether very interesting and in due time you’ll learn how to mix around without compromising your own set of values and principles. Keep an open heart and an open mind; you’ll be Just Fine.
There’s a Mini Mart called The Station, nearby Castlewhite Apartments (in which you’ll be staying soon). You can come one day and ask for Mozzarella Pizza, and the shop boy will comb through his entire stock just to get what you want. Or you can come on another day, ask for the same thing and no one gives you a shit. At times like this, Tough Up and face the day head-on. This is one simple example that shows it’s not always rainbows and butterflies over there.
It rains EVERY DAY. It can be the cats-and-dogs rain, or it can be the 5-minutes drizzle. A few of the best things I could possibly packed and brought along with me to Cork, would be my sport shoes and sweater with hoodie. Get decent ones, because you’ll need them for a long run.
For the Muslims, you’ll be taken care of if you decide to take good care of yourselves. You’re all grown up, so you ought to know how already. If you take great comfort in weekly gatherings where you’ll be frequently reminded of the path you choose to take (read: Islam) and not to be led astray, then you will definitely be joined with those of the same page. If you’re not, well take your own time; but just so you know, they are there – and they say, and do, nothing else but good things in strengthening your faith.
And oh Sports! I’m not that type but there’s a sport center just 5-minutes walk from Castlewhite. I joined Fencing last time and it was great! Google for Sports Clubs in UCC, take your pick and send out e-mails enquiring them for details. They’re really helpful and responsive. There are gyms as well, so if you feel like working out at the end of the day, you Can.
Cork City? Ask a creepy guy with FB name of @Cielo Noche and he’ll tell you all about it.
Classes classes classes! There are three semesters altogether – FM1001, FM1002, FM1003. In each semester you’ll be learning these three core subjects – Anatomy, Biochemistry, and Physiology. It’s the traditional lecture method, and you’ll cover them system-by-system (Respiratory, then Cardio, then etc.). You’ll also get tutorials on BH (Behavioural Health) & CP (Clinical Practice) that’ll complement whatever you’re currently learning in lecture that week. I choose not to elaborate more on that here, you’ll have the whole academic year to figure that out on yourselves Haha, I’m trying not to spoil the fun.
HOLIDAYS! I went to Spain for my winter break, and France for spring. The former with 13 other girls from Cork and Galway; and the latter with my friends from UK. I was three months into my Spanish class when I went to Spain and it’s pretty useful. Apparently you Can afford to go to these places on your allowances alone, but you need to save up ahead of time. I’m quite a traveller and some people just can’t seem to get that, but in my opinion you’ll learn a lot from these two things – Reading and yes, Travelling. However, maybe that’s just me. It depends on your priorities; you can stay in Cork and save some money for your wedding.
My last few words of advice – Be tactful. Be flexible. Keep your expectations at a minimum. Try not to accept things at face value, take some time to just get to know more. Hold strongly to your Faith, and things you believe in - no drugs or meds or listening ears can beat that.
Selamat Hari Raya.
I hope I'm some kind of a benefit to those who read this.