ramblings and rantings

a journal documenting my experiences throughout my stay in the USA

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


yup yup, contrary to what I originally planned, this blog has, so far, not been the hub of my usa experience.

but no worries!

go here for further updates ::


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

the 'pre' orientation

My flight for Paris is tonight, so this is officially my last day here in Malaysia. (Unless of course, some delays or other unexpected events occur).

I have a feeling I will be missing the heat of Malaysia.

Anyway, orientation days!
I might not be able to post up pictures, because the internet connection isn't very good.

The first day, students mingled around to get to know each other and briefings were given by US embassy and AFS staff. I got to meet up with the students I met during my interviews and visa applicaiton days, as well as some other new people whom I have not met yet.

Sharon and Iffa were hearing impaired students and they were very friendly :) I communicated with them using incoherent movements of my arms, mouthing out words, pen, paper and other methods but later that night when I hung out in Qistina's room, Sharon taught the both of us a few basics of sign language. That was definitely an interesting experience.

The volunteers with us were tons of fun. During the time I felt unwell and decided to stay outside the hall to rest Divan saw me and asked if I wanted company (couldn't really refuse, it might seem rude) and we sat and chatted, later when the other volunteers walked past and saw us, they joined our convo and in the end everyone was laughing and cracking jokes and I didn't get much rest XD. I enjoyed myself though and was asked questions from the volunteers about what 'the students thought of the volunteers'. (I also realised that Jess was actually my roomate during my BRATS camp).

Oh yes, and during the second night, most of us went up to the rooms of the volunteers and chatted till about 4 in the morning.

There is so much more I want to say, but I can't seem to be able to express it. Oh well, the bottom line is that I had fun.

So in case I don't have an internet connection there, or if I have a hard time updating I want to say goodbye,and sorry for all the wrongs I have done, and all the best in your future pursuits.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

part 006 : the embassy trip

A few days ago AFS called me and asked if I was interested to stay overnight at the home of one of the American Embassy staff. It was a bit last minute but I agreed and so I spent yesterday over at the beautiful home of Shirley Jane Crowley.

A.F.S. and the American embassy planned this ... 'thing'/(trip?) ... for a few students who are planning to go to america so they could have a slight taste of what it's like to live with an american, and will be able to ask questions about the american way of life.
Other than myself, 5 other AFS students also were on the short programme and each were assigned an embassy staff to spend the day with. Shirley's house was very near to the embassy so we half-walked, half drove there. Another friend/coworker(?) of shirley's (whose full name I can't remember) joined us for dinner.

Shirley's home was beautiful. It was a roomy apartment with good view of the petronas twin towers and it was also very nicely decorated. She has two cats, one female one male and both looked very well fed. They were black, with shiny coats. Reminded me of the cat on the cover of Kafka on the shore, except perhaps this pair was a little larger. I slept with the lights switched on because Shirley told me about her friend who slept over and had Sebastian (the cat) lick his (the man's) eyebrow at night. I didn't want to be surprised in the middle of the night by a black, camaflauged cat.

Anyway, I learned quite a lot from my stay and I am thankful to Shirley for taking me in =)
oh well, gotta go. I have to go for an afs orientation in a few hours.

p/s : i'll probably be staying in or somewhere near illinois during my stay in america.

read the introduction ?

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

part 005 : the hometown goodbyes

I went back to Penang a few days back to say my goodbyes to the family there. It was only for a few days, and so I didn't have time to meet everyone. The problem is that families in Penang are very close-knit and well, nearly everyone is related to everyone else. For example, the 'cousin' who sits next to Azhan in school? Nabil? He isn't really my cousin. To go into specifics, I think he is my grandmother's sister's husband's cousin's nephew. Or my grandmother's sister's husband's cousin's son. I'm not too sure.

Anyway, I hitched a ride to the Island with my Grandmother's sister's daughter who is a really fast driver. Reached the Penang bridge in about 3 hours only. Aside from the family visits, I contacted a few old friends from MGS Penang and we went out to the Gurney Mall to catch a movie. At the mall met a few other old classmates.

Relatives were very generous, bringing me out for dinners and giving 'green packets'. Thank you very much :).

Wanted to buy some souvenirs from penang for the american family but seeing as how I'm still host family-less, I will probably get some things from central market back in KL instead.

AFS letters stated the requirement of imunization for their students. I don't want to get immunisized. What do I do?

Have not proof read and edited this post yet. Excuse grammatical and spelling errors pls.

read the introduction ?

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

part 004 : the letter

Ah, I was supposed to write another full entry about my second day at the US embassy wasn't I? Actually I was waiting to be sent photos of the day by the embassy people so I could include them in this post but I've not gotten them yet. Anyway, the second day was a lot of fun, we (Sook Yi, Djawad, Hidhir and I) were ushered inside by some of the embassy employees once we arrived and were brought to a room with reporters and other students to America. The four of us were the only AFS YES students to my knowledge, as the rest were students under different programes. Basically we had to give interviews about our plans to america, our programes and student visa applications. Later we were given our visas by the American ambassador to Malaysia and many photos were taken with him, none of which have reached me but hey, at least we had a blast. The ambassador was a really fun guy as well, always cracking jokes and just being plain, all out friendly.

Yesdarday I received a guarantee letter from AFS / ABM saying that I was assured a place in the United States. No news of host families yet, but at least there's the guarantee. Predeparture orientations are scheduled (pronounced shed-jual or sked-jual? I think the former is the British way) on the 5th of January to the 7th.

Flight plans below ::

Date Sector Departure Arrival
9 Jan KUL/CDG 2325 0605 (10 jan)
10 Jan CDG/IAD 1235 1509

Allright, so that doesn't really make much sense, but after serching through google, I found out that CDG is actually Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and that IAD should be Washington Dulles International Airport.

Paris !
(for only 6 hours, and we probably won't be able to go out of the airport, but hey)

read the introduction ?

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

part 003 : the application

Today I had an interview for my application for an American visa at the United States Embassy, Malaysia.

(Does it seem strange to anyone that north Americans are called Americans. And why are south americans not called americans, although technically they are in America? Maybe USAians don't roll off the tongue quite so well?).

Anyway, I managed to get a ride to the embassy with Uncle Mizi who was nice enough to come over at about 6.30 am. At first I was hoping that I wouldn't arrive late because despite Uncle Mizi arriving early, we actually left the house at about 6.50am but it seemed that I was actually 20 minutes early to the embassy (which, may I add, is HUGE) and was also afraid that I would be the only one waiting but I was pleasently surprised to find Siyan and Nick waiting in line as well. They remembered me and waved, I recognised Siyan no problem but I had a bit of a hard time figuring out who Nick was but I eventually got there. He doesn't need to know this, by the way. My memory isn't the best, especially when it comes to names. (I'm so and so with remembering faces).

After a while a few more people whom I met at the previous AFS interview arrived; Djawad, Hidhir and also a few new faces such as Agan and Sook Yee.. urm, there were more but I can't remember their names! I'm so sorry guys!

To get into the embassy was a tedious task in itself. We first had to line up for quite some time outside to wait our turn to state our reasons of visitation to the embassy at the guard house (I got really annoyed here for reasons that I shall not disclose for fear of embarassing other parties, none of which are under the AFS, and I think the US embassy isn't really to blame either). After that was done with, we had to go in one by one into a room where our possesions were screened and we had to go through a metal detector doorframe, much like those in airports. Electronical gadgets and weapons (?) are not allowed in the embassy. I'm not sure if that only applies to visitors or to embassy workers as well.

After getting through the gates, we went into the main building where we were screened yet again for metallic items. (The lady working there was really nice and friendly. I felt the need to write this down.) Went into the waiting room and surrendered our documents to the person in the first counter and waited for our numbers to be called.

Our group was very very noisy. It was even up to the point that many of the people in the room turned to us and as one, made big SHUSH-ing sounds . That was embarassing, but partly (or mostly) our fault anyway. On the other hand, it showed that us students were using the extra time to bond. That's good, isn't it?

There was also a nice old lady waiting with us who wanted to go to the States to visit her daughter ( I'm not too sure about this). She was about 80-90 years old (?) and as far as I know, could only converse in Chinese. Nick and Siyan, being the responsible, caring youths of today made small talk with her as to not make her feel uncomfortable, afraid or lonely. Once in the interview/waiting room, her number was called and she walked up to a caucasion man behind a desk. The two good youths were afraid that there would be a language barrier there and prepared themselves with looks of concern plastered to their faces should the need to translate arrive. Imagine their utmost surprise when the caucasion man behind the counter started speaking FLUENT chinese with a beautiful chinese accent and pronunciation. Now I don't mean to be discriminative, and by no means am I being a racist, my own host sister from Germany speaks fluent Malay and has shocked many Malaysians throughout her stay here. Its just that the extremely surprised faces of Siyan and Nick were just too funny for us not to laugh.

When I was called back to the interview counter to get my old passport returned, the interviewer lady asked me if I was interested to join a discussion tomorrow among other students (college/afs and other things as well I suppose) regarding visa applications. I said I was ok with it and so tomorrow instead of just dropping by to retrieve my passport and visa, I have to extend my stay at the embassy a little longer.

That's all for now I think, and oh..

Unrelated to AFS, tonight was my prom night. It was fun, and tiring as well.
read the introduction?

P/S : if my spelling is way off, forgive me. I'm too lazy to spell check.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

part 002 : the preparation

My major SPM examinations are done with and now is the time for me to slack off without feelings of guilt about the neglection of my studies.

But apart from the slacking off I also have some preparations to do for my trip, namely souvenir gathering, the mending of my bajus, learning how to cook simple Malaysian dishes (I don't need to tell you how catastrophic this is going to turn out), getting all my gadgets in working order and so on and so forth.

What's more, I have an interview at the United States Embassy next wednesday for my VISA application. It's at 7.40am and right now I don't really have a good idea on how to get there quite so early. Is it safe to ride on the LRT at 6.40 in the morning?

I doubt it. I really don't want to get mugged.

P/S : Not related to the AFS exchange, but I finally know what to get [ seafolding ] for her birthday. A pair of hermit crabs. They're cheap, easy to keep and oh-so-cute. I've also decided to take on the task of naming them for her (not too sure if she'll be entirely pleased with this) but I'm insistent about it and so her crabs would be called Sabor and Joyah.

read the introduction ?

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