It’s been 6 days since I am back (for good, I might add) in the Malay Land, and I am quite surprised to find myself missing (just a little bit of) Australia.
No, I am not surprised to have missed my housemates and the friends I left behind; after all, I hung out with them for most of the last 5 years of my life.
I miss speaking in English. Would you believe it? I am just so used to speaking in English whenever I go shopping that I find myself STRUGGLING to find the right words to converse with the shopkeepers. Huahaha. There was one time when I was trying to buy a new prayer mat (I left mine behind in Australia. Besides I was aiming for the super thick, super fluffy one this time) and I was surprised that my tongue betrayed my native language in favour of English. What was going on there, I wondered.
And I also found myself unable to talk to my grandfather about the danger of his smoking habit in pure, unadulterated, Malay. I was like, what is phlegm in Malay? I was terrible!
Through an enlightening conversation with a junior of mine, I have come to understand that the sort of chest pain common to ischaemic heart disease is usually described as ‘ketat dada’….not ‘elephant sitting on my chest’ the way I was used to describing it. By the way, I used the term ‘ketat dada’ while diagnosing my dad’s first episode of angina. (well, at least, that was what I think it was). I have implored my mom and dad to control their diet and exercise like there’s no tomorrow.
So yeah, the point of my rambling above was just to say that I miss speaking in English!
I also miss feeling like a celebrity every time I walked out of my room. Who will even glance at my direction anymore, now that I blend in with everybody, rofl! Who will exclaim in rapturous admiration at the sight of my really ordinary (by Malaysian standard) hijab? Who will mistake me for being as young as a 14 year old girl in Malaysia? Here, I am like a ‘mak cik’, you know! Not young!
I am gonna miss all that ego-boosting elements that I am so used to after 5 years in Australia!
Oh well, life goes on!
Oh yeah, and I am also gonna miss Masterchef!! Like, seriously! There’s nothing like masterchef to strengthen the bond of the housemates during dinner, I’d say.
Below, however, are the things that I DON’T miss about Australia:
- The Toilet And The Empty Bottle that I have to carry around ALL DAY LONG!
- -For those who don’t know, we wash our private parts after emptying our bowels and our bladders. Right away! So we always carry an empty bottle and fill it up with water whenever the urge to wee/defecate arise. If for some insane reason (which never happened) I just use the toilet paper without using water to clean myself properly, I would psychologically feel smelly all day long! Another Australian doctor (who has travelled a lot) also mentioned that he thinks it is sensible to wash oneself with water. After all, we don’t just wipe our clothes or our plates with toilet paper whenever we want to clean them. We use water! He even went so far as to say that if he could, he would love to use soap and alcohol gel as well. Now, that’s what I called enlightenment!!
- The constant planning of what to say to excuse myself if the ward round looked like it was going to last beyond the time for my next prayer. Or how to ask from the GP I attached with for a small space for me to perform my prayer.
- The constant anger I felt whenever I read the Yahoo7 news regarding my religion and the comments some demented Australian made about it.
- The burden that I felt whenever I was not as good as I could be as a student answering doctors’ question. Because in my heart, I felt like I was carrying the name of Islam as well as the good name of my country.
- Not having my own car to go around town with. (but that’s not exactly Australia’s fault)
- Some of the racist treatment I had experienced (but I am glad to say that it was minimal these last few years).
- Medical studies, in general. No, I haven’t missed that one just yet.
Now, I am in peaceful bliss. Celebrating Eid with my family happily, finally! To quote a shampoo commercial, ‘no more tears!’.
I have also contacted the lady who is going to be my kakak usrah in my locality. I am going to meet her and my future usrah mate for the first time tomorrow. She is also a medical officer in Hospital Sunngai Petani (SP). She told me that being a Houseman in SP does not seem to be as horrifying as being one in Alor Star. Nice!!
All right, folks! That’s all the update from Malaysia for now. I hope this post finds everyone in great shape and form! To my friends who are still studying for exams, best of luck yer! Waktu musafir the other day, saya dah doa pun. Heheh.
Please know that, I am here missing everyone in NC. Mmuahss!!