I visited Big Ben at Westminster with Kenzie and his parents. It was nothing much, just a trademark building many people take photo with to show that you’ve been to London. You couldn’t really enter the Big Ben itself, so that was as interesting as Big Ben could get. But I’m happy I have this badge. I’m happy I have the bragging rights of going to London at least once in my lifetime. And if you haven’t been to London, you’ve been missing out, honestly.
Zoo badge. The ultimate childhood badge. I’ve been to the zoo a couple of times. Not many times, but it was a good dose of zoo-sage for a kid like me at the time. I can’t quite remember the zoos I went to as a child, but I knew Taiping Zoo was definitely one of them. In 2011, I went to Taiping Zoo with a bunch of my other schoolmates as part of a Form 4 Biology educational trip, apparently. That was the only time I went to the zoo as an adolescent. And apparently Effie wants to bring me to the zoo when I go to KL, so that’s cool.
Horse riding badge. I think I’ve ridden two horses in my entire life. The first one was a pony, at A Famosa I think when I was about five or six. The second, much bigger horse was ridden at the beaches of Tanjung Bungah when I was about eleven, probably. Both times, I wasn’t a very good horse rider. It’d be great if there were equestrian lessons available widely here, though. That would be an interesting activity to delve into.
Safari badge. I’ve been on the A Famosa safari twice; once when I went there with my family when I was about ten and once with my schoolmates on a graduation trip when I was twelve. I’ve been on the Singapore zoo day and night safaris too, when I was seven, with my parents and cousins.
Pet-owning badge. Boy, do I deserve this badge. The only pets I’ve ever owned are dogs and fishes. No cats. Quite a shame, actually, because I kind of like cats too. I’ve owned about ten dogs my entire life, but currently I have two dogs. Golden is about 10 dog years and is a Golden Retriever, whereas Heart is three dog years and is a mixed poodle. They’re really different; where Golden is tame and obedient, Heart is ferocious and stubborn. But he’s the cute and small one so everyone spoils him. Life.
Chess badge. Not much to say here, since I’m not a professional chess player, but I learned to play chess when I was about nine years old. I loved it. I learned how to play Chinese chess when I was 12, but that I didn’t really like. My chess skills are pretty rusty now but it’d be cool to revive it.
Video games badge. VIDEO GAMES. I was a Playstation nerd when the first PS came out, and the first thing I would do when I went to my uncle’s house was play the PS for hours. I used to play games like Crash Bandicoot and Puzzle Bubble and Tekken and really childish games. Same thing happened when I used to go to Joshua’s house. And then I grew up to become a girl (ooohhhh stereotyping here, guys) and my parents weren’t the kind to buy video games so I stopped playing for a good few years but I recently rediscovered my love for video games when I went to Beneh’s place after SPM for a good gaming session. That, and also because of Dan and Phil’s influence.
Rubiks cube solving badge. I KNOW HOW TO SOLVE THE RUBIKS CUBE!!! Or rather, I knew. Back in Form One or Two, I can’t remember, but the Rubiks cube was so popular among my classmates and literally everywhere you went, there were people solving it. Even during class. We used to have competitions to see who could solve it the fastest. That was when I picked up on how to solve it. I wish I still remember how to solve it, I probably do, but it’s been so long I can’t be sure.
Scrabble badge. Scrabble used to be my favourite game. You can see I was brought up rather intellectually (cough). I haven’t played Scrabble in years, though. People these days don’t exactly turn to board games for entertainment anymore, do they?
Bowling badge. I actually bowled for the first time in December 2012, when I followed Beneh and Putri and many other schoolmates of mine to Pacific after SPM finished. I mean, actually, really bowled and not just go to a bowling centre and watch other people bowl. I was terrible at it. I still am. I have terrible coordination skills and stamina so that was expected, at least.
Currently listening to:
Because let’s face it, it was probably the most interesting thing to happen before the event in itself had even started.
I sent out invitations to a couple of friends who were still in Alor Setar/back in Alor Setar to come to my house on the Sunday evening at 7PM but 15 minutes past 7, only my uncle had turned up so I began to get quite antsy if anyone would even turn up at all. Literally everything was already almost prepared, but no one had turned up yet. So I started to scroll through Twitter to…calm my nerves or something and saw that Khey Ken had tweeted that it was flooding outside his house and he couldn’t get out. Immediately after that, Ching Ju and Hui Ying called up to tell me that they couldn’t make it because of the flood as well.
I started to feel really dreadful, like of ALL the days it could rain and cause a flash flood, it happened on the night of my birthday. I was sad at first, but then I felt indignant. And then I laughed because it was the greatest story ever. It would be the greatest story I would ever tell. So I went with the next plotline in the story: my dad and I drove around the flooded neighbourhood to pick up my stranded friends from their houses; like a Flood Bus or something. A Flood Party Bus. It felt strangely exhilarating.
We picked up Ching Ju, Hui Ying and Khey Ken and by the time we reached my house, Yi Jing and Peter were already there. Jia Yuan and her sister came later, also braving the floods.
We had a barbecue (graced by the presence of self-anointed Masterchef Mr Teoh aka my dad) and pasta and salad and everyone was talking about everything and it had been so long since I last met up with so many of my old friends so it was pretty rowdy and I yelled my throat sore that night trying to talk to everyone really loudly. We had a cake and everything, and desserts and also Jaffa cakes courtesy of Peter. Needless to say, I was really, really full before the night had even ended. And then it was just a lot of talking and laughing until 11PM, when everyone realised how late it had already gotten. The Flood Party Bus dropped off those who had arrived the same way, and my birthday ended.
It was truly an amazing birthday; the floods somehow made it even funnier (when its nature shouldn’t have been) and the food was really good and the company even better. Reuniting with old friends was lovely, even if it’s just a short time before we leave for college. I’d like to thank everyone who made an effort to turn up and also to everyone for the lovely presents. But more importantly, many special thanks to both my parents, and also my uncle (whose birthday was also the same as mine) and his family for preparing and holding this huge party for me which surely had been pretty stressful. I am really, really thankful.
That night, I fell asleep listening to Dan and Phil’s radio show on BBC Radio 1.
And now for photos!
WATCH OUT, WE’VE GOT A LEGAL GIRL OUT AND ABOUT RIGHT NOW (loljk I still live on the Internet)
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I went to PJ on Thursday and Friday, with my parents. A lot of people thought I would start college then, but no, I was just looking around the place where I would be studying and staying at. Always good to know new environments beforehand before you completely dive into it. Also, there are a few edits in my previous post concerning FAQAMCF which you might be interested to know.
The whole college environment and having a college room to yourself was very…foreign. Everything was so brand new and different it felt surreal. The people, especially. One of the admins advised me to “make friends with KL people as they have different mentalities” and while I have many KL friends already myself, I still wonder how it’d be like to live with these people for 18 months. Quite daunting, if you ask me. I don’t know if I’ll be able to adapt. I know I did a one month internship at The Star but this was different. We weren’t a tight knit group. Not really. And these weren’t people I knew beforehand. Again, pretty intimidating.
But the prospect of having a whole college room to myself is pretty exciting, I should say. Also daunting, but nice, because I can decorate it however I like and it’s something I own. Mine. Makes me feel pretty adult-ish and independent. I don’t know, honestly. The whole going to college thing makes me feel excited and scared at the same time. Ready and unready. I can’t tell. It’s a mixture of both.
Oh well, just like the title suggests, it’s time I expand my horizons and explore the world, right? Well, I did a fair share of exploring the United Kingdom, maybe I should explore my own country, too.
My birthday is in 27 minutes! Friendly reminder, guys.
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Two posts in one day. And this is why, kids, you should never put off blogging because the guilt will just well up in you and you find yourself writing multiple posts a day.
Where are you going to study?
Sunway College in PJ.
Are you taking a scholarship?
Yes, I’m taking the Ministry of Education (almost said “Magic” there) SPM Bursary.
What are you studying?
What subjects are you taking?
Not entirely sure yet, but probably a combination of law, economics, math and (blank).
*Edit: I’ve decided to take physics, chemistry, math and economics. WHOA what a contrast, right? The Sunway admin advised me against taking law despite the fact that I wish to pursue a law degree; that’s because we found out you didn’t have to take subjects that related to your degree. Nuts, I know. So why the science subjects if I don’t want to go down the science path? We also found out humanities subjects gives you lower points in your UCAS application and would put you in a disadvantage. Also, should I ever change my mind in the long run, I’m still able to switch to science stream. I can’t take law as a subject anyway so I might as well do this.
How long is your course?
*Edit: You can only take two years if you’re taking pure science subjects. So now I’m taking one and a half year. Aw sad.
Why (not take one and a half year)?
Because if I take one a half year, I’ll finish my A levels in November and since I want to enrol in a university in UK, I’d have to wait nine more months for the English intake in September so I might as well do two years.
*Edit: Refer above.
Where will you be staying?
The Sunway Monash residences.
*Edit: No edits here, just wanted to comment that my room is pretty freaking cool.
Why don’t you go to Taylor’s?
[Controversy warning] Because I prefer a different environment from Taylor’s also Sunway offers free accommodation and book vouchers for bursary scholars.
When are you going to start studying?
3rd of July.
I think that’s about it for now. So there you have all your questions answered!
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Yes, yes, I’m a terrible blogger, no need to remind me about that. I come home for a week and don’t bother to update anything about my life here. Not even to say if I arrived home safely! But I think that’s general knowledge since I’ve already stated in my previous posts that they were written on Malaysian soil. But still! The novelty has vanished, sigh.
I arrived at Penang International Airport at 8PM on the 27th of May Malaysian time where I was greeted by my parents and Si Pek plus his family. We had dinner (LOCAL FOOD OMG) at a Chinese hawker centre and in the space of that hour everything felt so FOREIGN. The weather -the WEATHER oh my god it was so HOT- and the tall, dull grey buildings and the cars and it just felt so WEIRD. Returning home was even weirder. You know those moments when you just feel so dazed that you don’t know what to do or what’s happening? Yeah this was one of those moments. I guess it was one thing to go to a foreign place altogether and then return to a familiar place but feel that that is foreign. So I started crying for a while, which was silly, in retrospect, but I guess I was just kind of confused at the time.
There was also the issue of the yawning gap of seven hours between the English and Malaysian timezones. For the first three of four days, I went to bed at 5/6AM and woke up in the afternoon. It’s improving, thank goodness, but it’s almost made me nocturnal. And then there’s the thing of sleeping in itself. I don’t know if anyone else who has ever slept in cold climates have ever noticed this but I find it more comfortable to sleep in colder climates. Obviously, right, Michelle thanks for being captain obvious. Over there, it was like a natural air-conditioner and not a machine that, like, expels artificial air, I guess. I don’t really know how to explain it but basically, what I’m trying to say is sleeping in English weather is nicer than sleeping in Malaysian weather!!!
Next on my list (because I always, always have a list duh) is the manners of the general public. Being in England was so nice mostly because of the people. You enter a shop, they say hello. You leave, they say thank you. You can’t sneeze in public without getting a “bless you”. And basically, people say “thank you” for everything. So I became the same. I started to say “thank you” and “sorry” for every single thing and then I when I was aboard the plane from KL to Penang, I said “thank you” to someone who had allowed me to walk out into the aisle first and all I got was a pretty grumpy face. That made me feel nostalgic for England a little bit more.
The last difference, and it might not be a wholly important one to anyone else, is the fact that I can’t watch Dan and Phil’s live radio shows and liveshows anymore. Well, I can, but then I’d have to stay up till 2AM. Which, considering my current altered timezone, shouldn’t be quite a problem but still, theoretically!!! We’re not in the same timezones anymore, and it makes me feel left out once more.
I slipped back into routine rather quickly though, as now I have another, well, date to look forward to, aka the date I enter college. Scary yet exciting all at once. I’m considering a new category to sort my college posts into on this blog. I feel like I’m going to embark on a different journey.
It’s also June now! Which means it’s birthday month.
I’ve also cut my hair!
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But, yes. Let me just say how incredibly lucky I was that I was in London when MCM Comic Con/Vidfest UK was on. And it was a mere 10 minute drive from Kenzie’s place. Again, a unicorn moment. When I came to England, I hadn’t really expected to meet any youtubers. I mean, of course I hoped I did, but there was a higher possibility of that not happening. And when I couldn’t go to the BBC Radio 1 station in London to meet Dan and Phil the two weeks they were around before they were off to Comedy Week at LA and Radio 1′s Big Weekend at Derry, I thought all my hopes were dashed for good.
Until the Friday before this day, when I saw Tomska and Dean Dobbs and several other youtubers tweeting about their presence at Vidfest. I wasn’t doing anything on that day so when I saw the tweets, my first instinct was to get up and change and walk there with the help of Google maps on my phone. But then it was raining and I hadn’t bought any tickets (you had to have tickets for Friday entrance because it was a preview day) and also I was staying at the Woolwich area aka the place an English soldier was recently killed at.
So I didn’t go out that day, and I was in central London the whole of Saturday, so at around 10.30AM in the morning on Sunday (the doors to Comic Con opened at 11AM), Kenzie drove me to London Excel at Royal Victoria Dock where Comic Con/Vidfest was. And let me tell you, the place was full of all kinds of cosplayers. Followers of my twitter would know what I’m talking about since I was tweeting the entire time I was queuing up for the tickets. And it was a long queue- like, really, really, really, REALLY long. But it was a fun queue because I was exclaiming internally whenever I saw a particularly interesting cosplay. There were people dressed as Star Wars Imperial Stormtroopers, interrogating people (humorously) before they joined the queue and one of these people so happened to be a Thor cosplayer. It was hilarious. There were people cosplaying characters from Super Mario, Adventure Time, even Wreck-It Ralph (I was fangirling so hard) and Harry Potter and it was so cool and some were holding signs saying “FREE HUGS” and strangers were high fiving each other and god bless conventions like these.
And then I was in and I was giddy with excitement and the first place I headed for was the Vidfest section at the far left of the convention. The first people I saw were Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs aka Jack and Dean JACK AND DEAN OH MY GOD WHAT IN REAL LIFE OH MY GOD and that was literally my reaction and I was so emotional oh my god just thinking about it I am so emoTIONAL and they were THERE IN THE FLESH like REAL PEOPLE like I CAN TOUCH THEM and after calming myself a little, I decided to explore the whole Vidfest section before joining the long queue of people lining up for Jack and Dean. So I went into a tented area where the cast of the Chronicles of Syntax webseries were having a talk and I expected Chris Kendall to be there but unfortunately he couldn’t turn up and that was one of the downlights (get it? Highlights? Downlights? Okay whatever) of the event but still, I’ll get what I can get. So after that I started lining up for Jack and Dean and I was so anxious and excited at the same time and just??? Didn’t know what to say??? What if I made a fool of myself??? And then the guy in front of me started talking to me and three other girls who were behind me and we were practically fangirling over Jack and Dean and he asked if we were nerdfighters and I said “YES” really loudly and honestly, this was my favourite place to be.
Soon it was my turn and I said “HI” a little too loudly when Jack and Dean looked up and on the outside, I was a clear and calm facade, all smiles, but inside I was a RAGING HORMONAL FANGIRL WHO WAS SCREAMING TO THE HEAVENS!!! I said I was from Malaysia and today was my last day in England as I’ll be flying home tonight and Jack said, “Oh, so you decided to spend your last day here at Nerdcon?” and I said yes and then I started to choose a shirt of theirs I wanted to buy and the shirt I chose, Jack said, “We only have this left in XL size” so I was um okay let me choose another one but then he said, “Wait you know what? Actually I think we have an M sized one here” and he took it out and I was like yeah is it okay if I get that one? I’m so dumb oh my god I wonder why they haven’t laughed at my dumbness yet and they both said “Yeah sure of course” and I paid and I NOW HAVE A TEN POUND NOTE GIVEN TO ME BY JACK HOWARD AS CHANGE. And then I said “Would it be weird if you guys signed my shirt” and they said “Yeah it’s no problem” and then they both signed at the same time and Dean said, “Oh, it’s blink-182 yeah we love blink we even wrote a song for them once” and Jack laughed and said “Yeah, we write songs for blink” and I just. I knew wearing my blink-182 shirt to Vidfest was a good idea. So after they signed my shirt I requested to take a photo with them and then I hugged both of them saying “thank you so much” endlessly and when I left the booth they said, “It was nice to meet you, have a safe flight home!” and I legit thought I was going to faint after that because my legs were shaking and had turned into jelly. OMFGItsJackAndDean Video Recommendation:
After that I decided to search for Alex Day’s Lifescouts booth. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I sometimes write posts about a certain Lifescouts project. I’d made an introduction post about it but in case anyone missed it, here it is. Basically, Alex was the one who created this project and he was selling Lifescouts badges at a booth at MCM. His booth was, ironically, nowhere near the Vidfest section so I had to search for it but MCM was such a HUGE place and I had no idea where it was and I couldn’t possibly ask any random person where “Alex Day’s booth” was because most people that were there weren’t exactly there for Vidfest only like me.
So in the end, I resorted to good ol’ Twitter to see if Alex might have tweeted about his location and- he did! He tweeted that his booth was under a huge Wolverine poster and in the end I found it and Alex was just sitting there and I went up and said, “I finally found you!”, holding up my phone to show him his tweet and he laughed his ALEX DAY LAUGH and lord help me. In my nervous frenzy, I asked him, “What’s the difference between the 3 pound badge and the 5 pound badge” without looking at the words on the signs put up at his booth that clearly said the corkboard was 5 pounds and the badges were 3 pounds. So when Alex explained it to me I wanted to slap myself oh my GOD Michelle you are so intelligent A+ for making a fool out of yourself. So I said, “I’ll have the Big Ben badge” and when Alex gave it to me I said “this is my first time in England” and he said “oh did you have a good time here?” and I said “yeah I did I’m flying home tonight” and he said “oh have a safe flight home!” and then I asked him for a photo and he said sure and came out of his booth just to take a photo with me and also signed my shirt (Alex: “Sorry but this might tickle a little” [sobs into hands]) and after that people started to notice him so he was busy taking photos for a while but not after he said “it was nice to see you!” but despite that I still lurked around his booth because I wanted to have an intelligent conversation with him (cough) but as he was busy I avoided looking creepy by buying another four badges. Haha. Hahahahahaha.
nerimon Video Recommendation:
After deciding that continuing to lurk at Alex’s booth might get me kicked out of the convention itself, I returned to the Vidfest section. The line to meet Tomska was still pretty long so I decided to leave that for last- and went to find Bing first. To my dismay, Bing looked like he was getting ready to leave his Hi, I’ma Draw Ya booth but I was determined to corner him even if I have to. I was going to be leaving in about an hour and I wasn’t going to leave without a photo with Bing, that’s for sure. So as he came out of his booth, I went up to him and asked if I could have a photo and he said, “Yes sure but I’ve got to take a photo with these guys first” and I was like “of course no problem” so I waited because there were quite a bunch of people waiting for him just like me and when it was my turn, I got him to sign my shirt and we took a photo together! Let it be known that he was bending his knees to match my height I just THAT MAN and the person who was helping me to take the photo started laughing so I suspected Bing must be doing a funny face and I was right. I said my thanks and he left for his lunch break. Unfortunately, that meant I couldn’t get him to sign any merch I might buy off him but that was alright. In the end, I just bought a postcard of his When Cyborgs Attack video aka my favourite video of his.
slomozovo Video Recommendation:
After Bing left, I decided to get some Tomska merch at last. Here was where I met Jenny Bingham, aka Bing’s sister and Tom(ska)’s girlfriend. I’ve always loved Jenny because her videos have a special originality trait to it and one time she replied to my snapchats twice and I almost fell off my couch at the time. I was also right to think that she was a really, really lovely person. She didn’t have her own booth but she was manning Tom’s really huge one and when I approached her and said, “Hi Jenny!” she said hi and asked if it’s ok that she took a photo with (she pointed at a guy who was standing next to her) him first and I said sure but there was no one to help him take the photo so I volunteered to help them out. After that, he offered to help me and Jenny take a photo with my camera so really, it’s a cycle of life. Or something. I don’t make sense but I didn’t make much sense at all at Vidfest anyway. After that she signed my shirt and I said “You were really good in Charlie’s Tea Chronicles video!” and she said “Thanks! Everyone did a really good job with that video!” and I said “I also sent you a snapchat once” in which she replied “I’m sorry I get a lot of snapchats all the time” which was fine by me because I didn’t expect her to remember me but it was something to keep the conversation going. And then I said “it was really lovely to see you!” and she said “you too!” and askjfhsdjfjksdgk she’s so lovely do you understand!!! Omg
thatjennybee Video Recommendation:
Since I’ve already gotten my Tomska merch (a shirt) (the same one Jenny was wearing in the photo she took with me) I started to line up to meet him in person. At one point in the queue, the people in front of me started to recite lines from his asdfmovies and when I was second in line to meet Tom, someone in the queue shouted, “EVERYBODY DO THE FLOP!” but of course no one fell facedown like in the asdfmovie 6 video otherwise there would be quite a commotion. It was then that I told myself that this was where I was meant to be all along, where people recite lines from their favourite videos and right then I wished I’d come with someone who was as passionate about youtubers as I was. But again, I’ll get what I can get.
Tom has been portrayed in a very negative light on the Internet, especially in Becoming Youtube videos but in real life he’s so much more than what he puts on the Internet for people to cruelly dissect and tear down. I was next in line but someone came up to him with a phone asking, “can you talk to my brother on the phone please?” and Tom said to me, “Hang on one moment, okay?” and I nodded and when he spoke into the phone he greeted, “HELLO BROTHER” and he’s so nice to fulfill that little request which might’ve meant so much to the person on the receiving end. Brother. And then it was my turn and when he saw me he said “HI!” and I just went forward to hug him saying “can I please have a hug?” and he said, “Of course you can!” and he enveloped me in one of those bear hugs which were tight and firm, the kind of hugs that make you not want to let go forever. And then he released me from the hug and asked “how are you?” and I said I was good and that I was from Malaysia and that I would be flying home today (the only conversation starter I could come up with) and he said “wow, that’s far, have a safe journey home!” and then we took a photo together and he signed both my blink shirt and his merch shirt that I bought and when he did he said, “I’ve got chalk all over my hands from signing shirts” and then I said “it was good to see you!” and then I left and I was so full of emotions by then I just wanted to jump around and scream with joy.
Tomska Video Recommendation:
I was pretty much already done for the day and contemplated calling Kenzie to pick me up since it was already 1.30PM and he said we had to leave East London by 2PM the very latest. But then I saw Tim and he was the remaining youtuber at Vidfest that I knew and liked. Like Jenny, he was manning Eddsworld’s booth where a small line was starting to form to purchase Tomska merch and I joined it but little did Tim know that I was only joining the line to meet him and not buy any more merch so when I got to the front I said hi (the trick to catch one’s attention quickly is to say HI in a really enthusiastic way; I mean, it’s worked for me) and asked if I could get a photo and like Alex, he said sure and came out of the booth to do so, carrying a bottle of orange juice in his hand (???). Tim??? What??? After the photos and him signing my shirt I told him I loved his new video which, coincidentally, I’d just watched the previous night and he said, “Thanks, it really means a lot to me” and before leaving I said, “See you later!” and then realised that I’d made a mistake and wouldn’t really be seeing him later so I paused and said, “Or see you again. Sometime. Soon. I hope.” and Tim said, “Yeah, see you later, I’ll be here till 3.” But I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was leaving soon because thinking about leaving was making me sad so I didn’t say anything.
TimH Video Recommendation:
I met two girls who were sitting on the floor in front of Bing’s booth as I was lining up to meet Tim and when they saw me they asked if I was waiting to meet Bing and I said no I was meeting Tim and then I asked, “Isn’t Bing having lunch?” and they said “Yeah, we’re just gonna wait here until he comes back. These people have taken over my life. Like Youtube is literally my life now.” and I shouted “SAME” because she literally just described what I was feeling and have been feeling for months. Vidfest: the place where you meet potential soulmates. And then I decided to leave and rang Kenzie up. Right after that, I saw Benjamin Cook (of the Becoming Youtube series) tweet that he was going to come to Vidfest and I STOPPED IN MY TRACKS and tweeted him back:
So obviously I had no chance of meeting him but ’twas okay. I comforted myself with the thought that this wasn’t my last trip to England. It was just the first of many to come.
Returning to Kenzie’s place, we packed our stuff before Kenzie drove us to central London where we walked around Harrods for a while. I wasn’t really paying much attention to my surroundings as I was still smiling about my youtuber encounters just hours ago and I was literally in such a good mood the whole day. But if you want a photo, here’s a photo:
At around 6PM, Kenzie drove us to Heathrow Airport and thus, this post comes to an end, as my England trip has officially done the same.
I’d been having England goggles the whole day, but my emotions from Vidfest managed to cover them up. Pair the goggles with post-Vidfest depression and you get a very emotional Michelle on the plane. Still, I reminded myself this wasn’t the end, not exactly. There’s also one cheesy saying that goes, don’t be sad because it ended, be thankful because it happened, and yeah that’s basically it. There’s also a line from the Warm Bodies movie that goes, every great thing starts out a little scary. So, so accurate. I never mentioned it, but I was actually pretty reluctant to go to England initially. I was afraid of leaving home for a month, of being alone, of airplanes, of being in a foreign country, of many, many things, but my pride forced me to ignore my fear. And for the first few weeks, I was quite homesick. But towards the end, I realised I’ve changed as a person. And perhaps it wasn’t a huge change, or to some people it might not even be a change at all, but I know myself, and I know I have, and I know it’s a good change. And I’m thankful for that. Aunty Sue also told me that I’d come to England and stayed here not only as a tourist, but I’ve also lived the English life like an English, technically, while staying with them, and that’s better than living a tourist life in a foreign country, and I agree with her. Learning to adapt has also been one of the tougher challenges here, surprise surprise. Because while I might be a strong advocate for all things British back at home, I still got a cultural shock when I was here. But everyone adapts eventually. It’s human nature to do so. I might not have been as adventurous as I’d like in my time here, but I’ll gradually foster the seed that’s been implanted in me due to this solo trip. So hyperbolic, man. But also true.
So, kids, here’s a life lesson for you from me: if you ever feel afraid of doing something huge, do it anyway, because chances are you’ll learn to enjoy yourself and love it at the same time, and it’s worth the initial fear and anxiety. Getting out of your comfort zone once in a while is a good exercise.
Note: This post is late, as usual, but I finally finished my England chronicles! Don’t know whether to be happy or sad, but there’s another post I have in mind about post-England trip Malaysian life so stay tuned for that, although that won’t be a Michelle Takes England post anymore. That project’s finished and shall be archived forever.
Days 28 and 29 were skipped because I literally just spent the two whole days at Kenzie’s flat with his parents. On the Internet. No surprises there.
On Saturday, I had tickets booked for Madame Tussauds and London Eye so Kenzie and I headed for Central London. We took the DLR at Beckton to Canning Town where we switched to the Underground Jubilee Line. I was lucky because since I was going to be exploring London alone, it was easy to go to all the places I wanted to go since all of them are reachable by the same Underground line, the Jubilee line.
From Canning Town, it was about half an hour tube ride to Baker Street where we collected my tickets before heading for Green Park by tube. There, Kenzie left me to do the exploring while he went off to sort out his stuff. I was quite antsy and nervous because it was my first time exploring a whole foreign city by my own, and I’ll be commuting between places and also there were so many people in London! It was also the day of the Championship League or something so the tubes and streets were filled with people in red and yellow singing and shouting in German.
After coming out of the Green Park station, I arrived at Buckingham Palace in time to witness part of the changing of guards. Again, there were SO MANY people!
After that, I took the tube back to Baker Street and I entered Madame Tussauds. It was so packed. And what can you say about wax figures, really? I was only really excited at One Direction’s figures and it was at a separated section so you could choose to take photos with them or not and the ones lining up to do so were ALL teenage girls. Like me. So. And they were playing 1D songs so that was nostalgic because YES, I haven’t listened to 1D in a really long time wow shocking. But I liked my photo with them so much that I bought, a photo, a magnet and a keychain of the photo for 12 pounds. I’m what Aunty Sue would say, “a sucker”.
After the walk around the wax displays by foot, there was a Spirit of London ride and then I went into the Marvel Superheroes 4D Experience theater which was pretty cool.
At around 3PM I left Madame Tussauds and headed for the Sherlock Holmes museum at 221B Baker Street after picking up an egg mayo sandwich (literally that’s all I eat at England, egg mayo sandwiches) at Pret A Manger. The queue wasn’t long but it was a long wait because they only allowed about 10 to 15 people into the house at a time. That was understandable, considering how rickety the building was. The floorboards creaked wherever you stepped and everything was so quaint and delicate.
After that, it was to the Underground station again to take a tube to Waterloo for my London Eye trip. I got lost for a while after exiting the station but with the help of people at the station and phone calls to Kenzie, I finally found the London Eye. I was pretty reluctant to go up the London eye because I was antsy at great heights and also there were so many people. But I went in anyway after waiting for an hour and a half and can you believe it??? There were three Malaysians in the same pod as mine! They were a family, a mother, a father and a daughter, who were standing behind me in the queue. My interest was piqued because they were conversing in Malay so at first I thought they were Indonesian because they looked Chinese. But then I caught a bit of Mandarin too so I was pretty skeptical. In the pod I asked them to help me take my photo with my camera in Malay and they were shocked, it was quite funny. So I said I was Malaysian and they said they were too, from Sabah. They were here for 12 days, and the daughter was taking SPM this year. She was here to scout for colleges. I honestly thank god and all the heavenly powers above because their presence made me feel…calmer? to take my mind of my nerves. I call these moments unicorn moments. And I was still thinking about it on the tube all the way to Stratford to meet Kenzie and his parents.
I also saw a lot of cosplayers on the streets especially at Canning Street because of the MCM Comic Con. I saw Link (Legend of Zelda), Mario, Finn (Adventure Time) and Jack Frost. The DLR station at Canning Street was FULL of them. And also a lot of people in red and yellow because of the championship league at Wembley Stadium.
I’m not even going to deny that I was anxious the whole time I was alone. But I told myself to just keep going with the schedule and it’s ok, there’s always people to help. In the end, as I arrived at the station at Stratford, I was happy and triumphant. I managed to complete all tasks on my schedule without chickening out. It might not be very impressive to many but it was a start for me. Something Brianna Cuocco once tweeted was also my constant source of motivation: Feel the fear and DO IT ANYWAY.
That morning, I woke up super early to finish my packing and after saying goodbye to Grandma and Sapphire, Aunty Sue, Sa Pek and I left for London where I would be going to HOGWARTS aka the Warner Brothers’ Harry Potter Studio Tours in Leavesden, London. It was a two hour drive there and not even gonna lie, I was giddy with excitement as we approached the studio.
My tour time was 12 noon but because we got there early, at around 10AM, Aunty Sue and Sa Pek dropped me off and I whiled the time away at the merchandise shop which was already so GREAT before I’d even experienced the tour itself. They had literally everything from shirts and scarves and robes of every house to wands (cough cough) and badges and diaries and coffee mugs and Firebolt broomsticks and Marauder’s Maps. In the end, I got a wand, Harry’s wand (laughs all the way to the sun), house badges and a magnet because I always get magnets from everywhere I’ve been to.
And then I started queuing for the tour and the first part was a mini introduction of the studios on screen panels on the wall and then the second part was a slightly longer introduction video by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson themselves. Before the show began, the tour guide said, “And now enjoy all eight films back to back.” Which everyone laughed at but to be honest, wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.
And then the screen rolled up and the giant doors to the Great Hall appeared. By then I was so excited and wanted the tour guide to just open them and let us in!!! But she explained a little bit about what the doors were to people who didn’t know and asked whose birthday it was today and a girl raised her hand and she was invited to the front to open the doors together with her. (But like how did they know it was her birthday and how did they know it was anyone’s birthday today?) When we got inside, I heard her say to her boyfriend, “This is the best day of my life.” Same girl, same.
And then the doors open and HOLY SCHMOLY!!!!?????? I????? Wow?????? Literally that was all I could think of because IT WAS THE GREAT HALL and there were the long tables with the golden goblets and plates and cutleries and there were uniforms of all four houses on the side and the Hogwarts fireplace and the TEACHERS’ TABLE and it was all so magical. It was like my favourite universe coming to life??? Like a dream come true?????
I’m blogging according to these photos so feel free to do a photo-by-blog tour if you want.
And then the tour guide said it was a self-guided tour from there and I started to explore. The place was filled with sets and costumes and props from the movie like the Boys’ Dorm, Gryffindor common room, Potions classroom, Dumbledore’s office…everything.
At one point that was a booth that allowed you to drive in the flying car and mount a broomstick in front of a green screen and get your photos taken. These (1 / 2) were my photos which cost 16 quid for both of them.
Onto the next part of the tour, it was out in the open- and there was a Butterbeer booth! There was a long queue in front of the booth which I joined but when I was the second person from the booth, it suddenly closed. Apparently the Butterbeer machine had broken down and they didn’t know when it was going to be up and running again. How ironic right? A machine that produces a beverage from a magical world breaks down.
So I decided to continue with the tour and took photos in Hagrid’s flying motorbike and Arthur Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia. At the Hogwarts Bridge, I requested the person in charge to help me take a photo and it turned out to be three photos as she became a photographer and suggested several other poses. English people are so lovely I constantly have the :3 face whenever they do things like that.
The tour resumed inside the building where creature masks were displayed such as the goblins, mermaids, giants etc and then I rounded a bend and I WAS AT DIAGON ALLEY!!!!! It was so cool that I got to see all the shops in the movie and also Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes and it really felt like I was actually there, which I was, right???
The next part were the sketches and designs for the movies, as well as the cardboard models of the buildings and also concept drawings of the scenes and characters of the movies.
The moment I walked into the next room, I was so emotional I cried a bit. IT WAS THE FULL SIZED MODEL OF THE ENTIRE HOGWARTS BUILDING!!! Full-sized in this sense was a rather big model and it was so emotional, honestly. I was at Hogwarts. This was really happening to me.
The next room was the last room, and it was a room made to look like Ollivander’s shop which was full of wands. But instead of boxes containing wands, it bore the names of every single person who contributed to the movies. I found the names the likes of James Phelps, Tom Felton, Rupert Grint, Nat Tena, JK Rowling and even Bertie Gilbert (who is currently 16 years old and played Scorpious Malfoy and is also a youtuber)!
And then I realised after the wand room, it was the exit and once I exited, I wouldn’t be able to head back inside but I hadn’t forgotten about Butterbeer so I went back to the booth and thank goodness it was opened again. By then, I’d already run out of money because I’d forgotten to top up my purse before leaving the house and I only had enough money to buy the cheapest Butterbeer. But that also meant I didn’t get to buy the one in a cup that says “Butterbeer” on the outside which I was able to keep. But the Butterbeer was pretty good and it tasted like root beer with caramel foam as the topping. By then my stomach was already empty and I had no money left to get anything to eat so it probably wasn’t the wisest thing for me to drink root beer on an empty stomach. Oh well, yolo right? (I had to use that horrible meme at least once on this blog right? Don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming.)
I left the studios at around 3PM and with Aunty Sue and Sa Pek, we went to a place called Seven Sisters (I think!!!) where Sa Pek had to pick up some stock for his shop. After that, we went to Kenzie’s place where we dropped off my luggage and picked up Kenzie’s parents to go to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Kenzie turned up a few minutes after we did from work and it was one of the best dinners I’ve had for a while. One does get sick of Western food after three weeks…unless one isn’t Asian then I guess not.
After that we were all dropped back at Kenzie’s place and I said my farewells to Aunty Sue and Sa Pek before heading back into the flat.
Note: I know I’ve already come back to Malaysia but I still owe Careful Confessions four posts (now three) so I will get to that as soon as possible.
I miss England already.
I’d put off writing this post on that day itself because I know I’d get super emotional but now it’s just overdue due to heavy procrastination on role-playing and Youtube. This is the part where all of you go, “I’m not surprised!”
Anyway, yes, it was my last day at Sa Pek and Aunty Sue’s house and you know what they say, when you feel the actual looming of something ending, you start to get goggles, and that was precisely what happened. It’s pretty confusing since I was reluctant to leave and also eager to go back home at the same time. FEELINGS. SORT YOURSELF OUT.
I spent the day packing (my luggage is currently 25kg CRISIS AVERTED but it also means two hand luggage, one which is filled with books omg) and in the evening, I went over to Jess and Tara’s house which was just next door. In one of my previous posts I mentioned that I chatted with two neighbours of Sa Pek’s who had came over, and since it was my last day in Wiltshire, they decided to invite me over for a movie and supper (English supper is the meal before dinner and not after dinner, just to clarify because at first I was like, what) and I agreed.
It was just a five minute walk to their house and there I met Jess and Tara’s parents, Gemma and John, and also their little sister Tabby. They also had a brother who was in France for a student exchange programme. We watched St Trinians and then had Mexican fajitas (so GOOD omg) and then we walked down to the mill where an old couple were rearing some horses. I had such a great time there and Jess and Tara were so lovely it made me even more reluctant to leave. But I promised I’d see them again in the near future and I wanted to keep that promise.
I’d like to take this moment to once again, thank Sa Pek, Aunty Sue, Richard and Sapphire and Grandma and everyone else for allowing me to stay at their place for a whole three weeks and putting up with my terrible habits. Sorry and thank you for everything!
In case you’re wondering if you’re gonna get a Harry Potter post, the answer is YES. VERY SOON.
If you follow me on my social networking sites, you will know that I was unable to blog for a week because I had problems with accessing my blog. It was hard to explain at first, but basically, I’d set up a two-step authentication feature for my blog for security purposes. After logging in with my email and password, a verification code would be sent as a text to my phone, and I would have to key in to access my blog. But obviously, the problem here is my mobile network had changed. Never mind that I changed to a UK number, I switched back to my old SIM card and all that but after waiting for two days, I still hadn’t gotten my verification code. That was when I started sending emails to the support team at WordPress, but apparently, it wasn’t the official email address of the support team. WordPress only lets you use an official contact form if you’re a premium (paying) member. Otherwise, it was up to you to search the many WordPress forums for the answer to your problems. Then there was the matter of not being able to post in the forums unless you were logged in. Do you understand my frustration now? I used to love WordPress dearly but now I’m just really disappointed in it. Customer service? Negative a hundred million.
Anyway, I then asked my friend Ann-Marie who had a WordPress account to post on behalf of me. Guess what? Got no response. However, after a browse through the forums, I realised I wasn’t the only one with this problem. Many people were facing the same problem and many didn’t get replies to their enquiries too. The last post before the forum was closed was a post by a WordPress staff asking everyone to send an email to the very same unofficial WordPress support team email address. By then I was so frustrated but I still sent them emails anyway because THAT WAS THE ONLY THING I COULD DO. And finally, FINALLY, by the end of the week, just hours ago, to be specific, I got a reply. Thank goodness. The first thing I did was disable the two-step authentication feature. So if there are any WordPress newbies out there who are seeking for advice, DON’T enable that feature. Unless you’re Beyonce and people keep wanting to hack your blog then maybe that’s fine.
Anyway, with that out of the way, I shall proceed to give you a brief summary of what happened over the week as I was blog-less. As you can see on the left, I made a list of events so I don’t forget. And also because I like to make lists. It’s a very useful hobby.
Anyway, right after my previous post in which I said England was getting really hot, the next few days it just rained non-stop coupled with strong winds and it was just the worst thing ever because it made you not want to go anywhere.
The day after my previous post, last Thursday, I went to a small town in Wiltshire called Marlborough where we dined at this really cute and posh tea room called The Polly Tea Room and just walked about around the shops because apparently Marlborough was a pretty renowned shopping town. I didn’t quite feel up to it though, because I was kind of having motion sickness from the car drive there. And here I will point out an observation which is that English roads are all…curvy. Un-straight. Because while at Malaysia, you can just say “go straight along this road then make a left turn” you can’t really do the same here because literally, they are all curvy. I don’t really know how to say this I should take a photo the next time. What I’m trying to say is England doesn’t really have 90 degrees turnings. Even in London.
The next day, a Friday, I didn’t go anywhere but Sa Pek and Aunty Sue had guests over and it was nice, sitting down for a proper English dinner. It was quite weird at first because I was subtly stealing glances at everyone, watching them do something before I do it myself. For instance, I thought it would be quite rude to use hands to take the breadsticks from the plate so I used my fork. With difficulty. Until I realised everyone else used hands. It was also my first time eating pâté so I didn’t quite know how to eat it with breadsticks so I just glanced around innocently before knowing the right thing to do was to spread it on the breadsticks. And so on and so forth. It also reminded me of the scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where the Masons were coming over except it was a whole lot more pleasant and nicer.
On Saturday, I went to Bath city centre with Sa Pek and Aunty Sue where we visited the indoor market (equipped with astonishingly realistic cardboard cut-outs of Queen Elizabeth and Obama for tourist purposes) and also the Bath Abbey. The highlight of the day however, was visiting the Jane Austen Centre which is basically a Jane Austen museum which was established in the exact same house Jane Austen lived in when she was living in Bath. It was on Gay Street, if you’d like more specific details. I even got to dress up with a gown and bonnet and write with a real feathered quill. To experience the real magic, the photos are here. That same night, I attended a concert at St Andrews Church in Castle Combe and I was highly impressed, to be honest.
Moving on to the next item on the list: on Sunday, I went to two carboot sales. Yes, two. Before you ask, yes I did buy things and before you ask again, yes, I bought a lot. The carboot sales were at Castle Combe and Lacock, and I got some clothes and books because what else could I get? And then we wandered around Lacock (photos) for a bit where I saw the outside of the Lacock Abbey aka THE PLACE ONE OF THE HARRY POTTER SCENES WAS FILMED. And then we went back for a while before setting off for Bristol where Sa Pek was going to have a cookery school at his Teohs restaurant. I also discovered the magic that is Primark for the first time and I BOUGHT TWO PAIRS OF SHOES AND A PAIR OF PINSTRIPE PANTS. Photos here.
The next day I didn’t go out but I watched some TV and that night I caught the livestream of the Sony Radio Awards and Dan and Phil won the whole thing!!!
The next day, Aunty Sue brought me to Bath again where we visited the Roman Baths. Bath was one of the English cities which the Romans ruled over for a while and it was a couple of years after the English took it back that the Roman baths were discovered. And that was literally what the name suggested: baths. Big pools of water in which the higher Roman individuals bathed in. Like spas. It was a rather interesting tour and after that, we went to Tetbury for a while, aka Prince Charles’ town village. As you can see in the brackets on the list I visited charity shops there again,what’s new. What’s new? Oh, let me tell you what’s new. We went to this shop called Highgroves which is basically run by Prince Charles. Not that he mans the till or anything but all proceeds from the sales go to the Prince’s Trust Foundation or whatever it’s called. That also meant that the things they sold were really expensive…but what’s new. That night, it got so cold that Aunty Sue decided lighted a fire at the fireplace. So that was eye-opening. Photos.
Wednesday and Thursday were lazy days during which I watched a couple of episodes of How I Met Your Mother and on Friday, I went to find Sakina in Bristol again and this time, we basically just lazed around and I WILL GIVE YOU A PHOTO THIS TIME to prove that SAKINA EXISTS:
Saturday was a day of helping Aunty Sue prepare for the church’s spring fair the next day and also my cousin Sapphire’s birthday that night. It was one of the most wonderful nights I had and the food was brilliant and Sapphire had a few of her friends over including Kenzie and his parents and at night while Sapph and her friends went out for an afterparty, I watched the Eurovision finale! It was my first time knowing there was even such a thing as an Eurovision and it was also my first time voting for a singing competition and I could because I had a UK number and I voted for Denmark and Ukraine and guess what? Denmark won and Ukraine came in second! UK came in 19 which wasn’t as bad as last year’s last place but it’s okay UK, nothing will beat my love for you but Denmark man, totally called it. Emmelie de Forest was the representative and she was so brilliant I’m not even kidding I was so emotional.
The next day, which is today, a spring fair was held at the St Andrews Church at Castle Combe and I was running the booth for the White Rabbit Treasure Hunt which I’d spent yesterday preparing for. Basically, there were ten posters around the village and people had to look for stickers on the posters and complete a list of stickers they had to find and the person with the best time wins. There were also many other booths like ones selling plants, cakes, bread (Aunty Sue’s booth), Raffle tickets (lucky draw for those who don’t know aka me initially), handicrafts and others. It was a fundraising event so it was very light hearted and there were quite a lot of people who turned up, including Japanese tourists. The theme was Mad Hatter’s Tea Party so I also did the “Drink Me” and “Eat Me” labels on bottles and jars which you can see here and Sapphire and her friends turned up as well as Kenzie and his parents. It was a really great event and I enjoyed it a lot.
AND THAT IS ALL FOR NOW. Mind you, blogging is a terrible chore because my computer lags the worst and the Internet connection in my bedroom is faulty and might break at any time and uploading photos is worse and it hangs every two seconds and I need a new computer, man.
Don’t get me wrong. I hate that song. Except for that time I jammed to it in my car. Several times.
But really, it was more of an advertising strategy. Besides, it’s relevant to the topic I’m going to be talking about today!
Anyway, before I say anything, I never thought I’d ever say this but England is SO HOT. Like literally, I don’t even have to wear a cardigan anymore. Sitting at home is like switching on the AC. And out in town, people walked around shirtless! Well people meaning men and not women. Sorry to crush your dreams.
Now you ask, what is it about that Thrift Shop song by Macklemore again? How is it relevant to any of your adventures in England? Well, it is relevant because I’ve discovered thrift shops here…which they call charity shops which are basically shops where they sell things people donate at a cheaper price and all collections go to charity. For example, some of the charity shops I went to supported the British Red Cross, Bluecross for animals, YMCA, British Heart Disease Fund etc and while it might not sound so glamorous, hold your horses because the stuff they sell there aren’t quite bad. In fact, they’re pretty much like carboot sales, except perhaps not so cheap but hey, it’s for charity. To prove the not-so-lameness of English charity shops, I got myself a Dorothy Perkins top, a pair of Topshop shorts and a H&M dress, all under 5 pounds each. All in good condition, and you’re donating to charity! The existence of these shops makes me contemplate ever stepping into another branded clothing store again. God bless England.
I also visited this shop called Poundland where everything they sell is 1 pound each and it reminds me much of you know, RM5 shops and that kind of stuff but this kind of shops were never enticing back home because the stuff they sell were crappy and brandless and not durable BUT in Poundland, most of the stuff were branded, so I had no qualms about whether spending a pound on these things was worthwhile or not. For instance, I got a box of Maltesers for 1 pound. This is the part where you laugh at me, because I just wrote all of that so vehemently to tell you I bought a box of chocolates for 1 pound. Well, screw you if you’re laughing at me…because Maltesers mean more to me than you’ll ever fathom. Ever.
I also went to Waterstones, which is a bookstore much like Borders except they don’t have Borders in England anymore since they went bankrupt. Borders, I mean, not England. They had a “buy one get second at half price” promotion so I got Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star and The Madness Underneath because it was thanks to her that I knew about Waterstones in the first place anyway. I’m still not quite sure whether it’s a better buy here compared to Malaysia in terms of prices, but I know for sure it’ll be hard to find Maureen Johnson’s books in any bookstore back home so I don’t quite regret it. They also have loads of John Green’s books available there. God bless England #2.
One thing I found out about England after chatting with Aunty Sue is that recycling is compulsory here. Or you get threatened. And fined. No one really does recycling at Malaysia, and that’s a shame. Most choose to burn them (whoever I’m talking about, you know who you are) and that’s terrible and pisses me off so much. I wish I could threaten and fine them if they didn’t recycle too but alas, I am not part of the British council. Even if I am I wouldn’t have much authority over you back home anyway. Sigh, problematic neighbours. Back to the topic, they recycle everything here, even the grass you cut (so you don’t BURN them, I suppose). I know many might think that it’s just an extra chore but really, if you look at the whole picture, it helps everyone in the long run. God bless England #3.
Because literally, shopping in England does make you want to sob. BUT no one should worry because these are happy tears.
Also, I’ve gotten really lazy with the “featuring” section I should’ve known it was a bad idea because obviously there’s gonna be a day when the people and places involved are gonna be more than what I can fit in that small space.
Anyway, morning of Day 10, Sa Pek, Aunty Sue, Sapphire and I went to Bicester Village, which is basically a designer village. It’s an area full of nice little houses and they are all designer shops like Dior, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Burberry, Ralph Lauren etc which are, you know, expensive beyond belief so all I got was a Cath Kidston sling bag I got for 20 quid, which I thought might be really useful for college plus it was at a half price discount. Sa Pek also got me some L’occitane products which were on discount so, thanks!
After that, we went to Oxford where I had a look around the University of Oxford campus and buildings. Oxford reminded me a lot of Amsterdam because every single building in that town was old, but that enhanced the “Old English” vibe even more and that was nice. It was also a very conducive place for studying, might I add. The few places we managed to enter and explore in the university campus was so breathtaking that that was reason enough for me to want to study there. We also made a brief visit to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. After that, like the tourist I am, we entered a shop called Flaggs, also deemed “The Old College Store” which basically sells University of Oxford merchandise and I got myself a shirt that says “Oxford University” and a University of Oxford magnet for £3.99 and £2.50 respectively.
The next morning, we went to a carboot sale somewhere near Bath, I think, and I got a bunch of books and clothes and ridiculously cheap prices and I have to admit that was my favourite shopping experience of all time. Shopping at carboot sales doesn’t make me feel so guilty.
That evening, the Teohs’ neighbours’ kids, Jess and Tara who are my age, came down for a visit and I met new people! (!!!) It was awkward at first but I slowly warmed up to them and although it would be incorrect to say that we’re “good friends”, they were really nice people and I really enjoyed talking to them.
PS. If you’re thinking I’ve forgotten about the Malaysian GE13 then you’re wrong because I’m going to make a separate post about it…someday. The Internet is a dangerous place.
I was really looking forward to this day because it was the day I would be meeting Sakina in real life for the first time. For those who didn’t know, I knew Sakina last year, when I started delving into the One Direction fandom and after a year, we finally meet!!!
Before all that, Aunty Sue drove me to Bristol city which took about 20 minutes and it was nice to finally see people and buildings again. Not that the countryside wasn’t nice, because it was, but like what Aunty Sue said, it was like reminding yourself that civilisation still exists. I went to The Hawthorns first, Sakina’s hall of residences at University of Bristol. She was an undergraduate currently pursuing her first year of degree in politics and philosophy. Her little green room was as nice as I’d pictured and we spent the first few hours of the morning watching YouTube videos of Dan and Phil and also of 5 Seconds of Summer which Sakina is trying to convert me into liking. That was when I realised that real life!Sakina and Internet!Sakina were the exact same person. And that was good. Mostly I was just really happy to finally meet her and fguhseigdjgkjsgfds my feels!!!!!11
At 1PM, we decided to head out into the city, where we grabbed lunch at a place called Roosters Piri Piri which is a restaurant very much like Nando’s.
After that, we walked to Cabot Circus, which is basically like a shopping complex and passed by the place where Effy met Freddie and Cook in Skins and also Harbourside (I think that’s what it’s called I don’t remember I’m a bad tourist I only remember that the name has the word “harbour” in it). At Cabot Circus, we got ourselves pretzels and Sakina brought me to Lush, this cosmetic shop she’s the ambassador of. I’m just kidding but she might as well be their ambassador judging by how frequently she visits the place as well as the number of Lush products she owns. And then we went window shopping (I think that’s how you use the phrase) at places like Hollister, Urban Outfitters, Republic, Internacionale, H&M etc and wow I’m pulling all the big names here considering how I’ve never once stepped into these franchises before in my whole life because 1) there aren’t any shops of this kind where I live and 2) these brands are expensive as heck. But here, their clothes on sale are mostly less than 10 pounds and even if you converted them into Malaysian ringgit, it wasn’t that bad. So in the end I got a shirt (one that Zoella wears in her videos) and also a pair of jeans for £8 and £12 respectively. I didn’t take photos of them but hopefully I’ll wear them here someday and post it as an ootd on the Internet or something. I am becoming that kind of person. Ah well, at least I don’t do that everyday so cut me some slack here.
I know I’m late to discover this, but shopping in England is quite stressful in the sense that in some bigger shops, people literally snatch stuff on sale and are very impatient in queues. Or maybe this happens everywhere including KL and I’m just too isolated from this culture to actually notice it until now.
Our last stop was the highlight of the day: Shakeaway! I have to admit I was most excited for this because of Dan and Phil and oh my god what is my life. I got a butterscotch with white Maltesers mix, same as Dan’s usual whereas Sakina got Oreo and Daim mix, same as Phil’s usual. What are our lives.
I know there are no face photos here and you must be direly disappointed because I FORGOT TO TAKE PHOTOS OF OURSELVES but don’t worry because there are definitely more Sakina and Michelle adventures in the future so stay tuned!
First of all, yes I am aware I have been MIA for quite a few days but fear not for you have not missed much. The morning after I got back from Amsterdam, Sa Pek and Aunty Sue, who had been in the United States for two weeks, picked me up at Kenzie’s apartment and it was a two-hour drive to their home in Bath. To be specific, it wasn’t exactly in Bath. It was in Wiltshire, somewhere near Bath. Yes, it is a farm. Yes, it is huge. Yes, there are many houses inside the farm.
We didn’t do much on the first day as Sa Pek and Aunty Sue were busy people but I also met Grandma, Aunty Sue’s mother, as well as my cousins Richard and Sapphire, who were as busy as their parents. My uncle runs a wooden furniture business and operates a shop and restaurant business called Teohs in Bristol. (Yes, the very same Teohs Restaurant that Benjamin Cook once visited and tweeted about to his other YouTube famous friends.)
The second day, Aunty Sue took me for a short drive in her convertible around Castle Combe, a very nice and traditional English village where the movies War Horse and Stardust were filmed at. It was a complete antithesis to busy London, much like being teleported from year 3008 to year 1856. It was a huge contrast between city and countryside.
Today, we drove to Chipping Sodbury and went grocery shopping at a local store called Lidl (much like Asda, Walmart, Tesco etc) and had lunch at a pub called The Dog’s Inn (I’m supposing you’re getting the vibe of the Bath villages now, right?). Some of the hobbies I’ve picked up here is watching Suits (I love being hooked onto a new TV series!!!) and reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series books (I love being hooked onto a new book series!!!).
Did I mention that the English weather since I’ve been in Bath has been absolutely wonderful? Not a single grey cloud and not a single raindrop. Just sunshine and more sunshine.
Also, I’m meeting Sakina for the first time tomorrow at Bristol! Yay!
Today’s post is gonna be quite short because nothing much happened today and also (surprise, surprise) I’m really tired. I think all I’ve said since I’ve been here is “I’m tired” “It’s cold” “What is this weather” so it really gives you valuable insight into my thinking.
Today we visited Zaanse Schans in Zaandam which is basically a village of windmills. While yesterday was a day of tackling the city centre full of people rushing around (much like sperm), the Zaandijk village was peaceful and serene, save for the tourists that were also visiting the area but even that couldn’t compete with the hustle and bustle that is Amsterdam city. The cottages there were like the scattered houses we saw at the countryside on our way to Keukenhof on the first day. We also visited the windmills, Dutch cheese factory and clog factory. Then we had lunch at a pancake house (apple & cinnamon and bacon & cheese pancakes oh my lord) and headed back to the hotel to check out, hung around at the airport and finally flew back to London City Airport at around 6 PM.
It was really windy and cold when we visited Zaanse Schans. After all, they didn’t call Netherlands the country of windmills for nothing.
At the Dutch cheese factory, I saw many Dutch girls wearing white hats and aprons and went into a thinking stupor wondering why it seemed as if I’ve seen those images many times before when it was my first time in Holland and then it struck me that I’ve seen it on the Dutch Lady milk cartons and then oh! Dutch Lady. Michelle, you’re so intelligent oh ho ho
It was also Queen’s Day in Holland so I got a free orange scarf from the hotel I was staying at and it had a crown symbol on it as well as the date 30.4.2013 which is really cool.
Now I’m back in London and ready for another round of adventures!
Photos here, as usual.
The Dutch tour guide on our canal cruise tour today said, “Amsterdam is three metres deep: first it’s the cannabis, then the bicycles, then the water.” And he is a hundred percent correct. Which he should be because he’s a tour guide.
Anyway, today we went into the central Amsterdam city by train and arrived at the Amsterdam Centraal (that wasn’t a typo, that’s legitimately how it’s spelled) before delving into the city’s core. I’m not really going to elaborate much on the places we went to but rather of how I perceived this city to be.
First, guided by a map, we visited the tourist attractions such as the Royal Palace and Madam Tussaud but only from the outside. In my previous post, I mentioned how beautiful the buildings at the Amsterdam countryside were? Well, it wasn’t just the countryside, the buildings in Amsterdam city were equally beautiful too. They were all tall and narrow but wonderfully designed.
After that, we visited the Anne Frank House but didn’t get to enter because the queue, holy crap, stretched on for two streets so I just took a convincing photo outside of the building and dined at the cafe next to it. It was a shame because I really wanted to live the Hazel and Gus Amsterdam experience but I got a photo of the stairs that Hazel climbed so that’s 0.5% of the experience, I guess.
Following that was a canal cruise through the tourist hotspots and that was when the sun came out to illuminate the initial gloomy grey clouds. After that, we basically walked the whole town, passing by the Red Light District rather too frequently for my liking. We lurked at the Rijk Museum park a little and then walked back to the central station to head back to the hotel.
What I noticed, while I was in Amsterdam, is that they have very confusing streets and it’s mainly made up of four things: pedestrians, bicycles, buses and trams. There were tram tracks running throughout the roads, criss-crossing each other that it was understandable why no one really drives a car around here. There were hardly any cars and most of the people get by with bicycles. There was a huge building for bicycle parking and it was literally four storeys (and perhaps more) of parked bicycles. Another thing I noticed is the taxis in Amsterdam are all either Mercedes Benzes or BMWs which makes the taxi driving profession look a little cooler.
Amsterdam is also nothing without water (specifically canals) and bridges. The entire time we trudged through the city, we crossed at least six or seven bridges and also oh! The houseboats! The same Dutch tour guide mentioned that in Amsterdam alone, there were approximately 2500 houseboats moored in these canals, which, I think, besides the constant staring from tourists on canal cruises, was pretty cool because their houseboats were really, really nice and pretty.
Amsterdam, you will also find, is full of graffiti, which really isn’t shocking but it literally is everywhere. And also, I’ve come to a conclusion that Dutch words are just combinations of multiple English words with a single syllable with double vowels.
And finally, we touch the topic of Red Light District. For those of you who know what that is, I bet you’ve been expecting this, silently screaming, “WHEN IS MICHELLE GONNA TALK ABOUT THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT” while reading this entire post and for those of you who don’t, good for you because it’s not something you might like. Or maybe it is. I don’t know! I don’t know any of you that well! I think.
Anyway, my thoughts on this is that Amsterdam is a really liberal city and they take pride in these activities, which are considered illegal in most countries, that they do. I’d say Amsterdam is the European Thailand where this culture is concerned. And I’m not saying it’s wrong, but I’m not saying it’s right, either. I really don’t have a say in this because I don’t know enough to actually know, you know? Like, to many people it might be horrifying and disturbing and should be banished but to the Dutch it might just be something really, really normal. It’s like the existence of Japanese commercials. There’s no wrong or right in it. For me, anyway. To quote the Dutch waiter from The Fault in Our Stars, “Many think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but it is actually a city of freedom; and many people find sin in freedom.” Perhaps not the exact words. I’m too lazy to search for the exact quote, I’m just reciting off the top of my head.
The basis of right and wrong aside, I personally felt really uncomfortable in that area and was glad to be out in the city instead of those alleys. Dodgy and sketchy people terrify me, which is a really reasonable fear, I should add. I was hugging my backpack tightly to my chest the entire time, afraid to make eye contact with anyone at all. It was called a Red Light District, after all, as in, danger red light?
The irony of the Red Light District located right beside a church though. Biggest irony in the history of all ironies.
Speaking of The Fault in Our Stars, I was rereading the Amsterdam parts of the book and started shouting, “I know what you’re talking about I’ve been to that place too!” So I’m really glad I was given the chance to live the Hazel and Gus Amsterdam experience at all. I know it sounds pretty weird to some people that I’m being excited over something fictitious but you don’t know me, okay. In the wise words of Clarissa Kendall, you don’t know me. #YOUDONTKNOWME
Anyway, my Amsterdam trip is coming to an end and I’ll be flying back to London tomorrow evening. Amsterdam has been a city of surprises, but it’s definitely one of the most interesting cities around.
Again, too tired to upload photos into this post (you have no idea how long it takes to upload multiple photos into a blog post, no idea) so the full album is here. I might edit photos into this post when I’m free. I might.
Today we woke up at 4AM because we had a 7AM flight to catch to Amsterdam. It was an hour’s drive from Fishguard Way to Gatwick Airport and there, we boarded a one-hour British Airways flight and arrived at Schiphol International Airport at around 10AM Amsterdam time.
I was pretty excited to arrive at Schiphol since it was an important setting in Aku Anak Timur, the Malay literature book we all had to study in Form One. Schiphol Airport was enormous and after collecting our luggage, we checked into Citizen M hotel, which was right next to the airport itself. Somewhere in between that, it just dawned on me that I was in the same city that Gus and Hazel had been in. Granted, they are fictional characters but STILL. Damn you, John Green.
After that we took a bus to Keukenhof, a destination I know thanks to Aku Anak Timur, again. It was basically a tulip garden/park and it was huge. Along the way, we passed by the more rural areas of Amsterdam and this city differed from London in the sense that there was a lot of bare land and scattered cottages with the most beautiful architectural designs I have ever laid my eyes upon. If there is one place I want to live after I retire, it’s the Netherlands just so I can own pretty houses like these.
Keukenhof was filled with people by the time we were there and there is nothing more to say to this other than there were too many tulips and flowers of every colour that exists in this world. The weather was also wonderful, as there was actually sunshine, much unlike gloomy London. Keukenhof was literally filled with people from all over the world, so far I’ve seen Koreans, Arabians, Spanish people, English people, Chinese people, Americans and probably a few Malaysians too. I wasn’t entirely sure, but I suspected as much. Many also brought their dogs along for walks and it was literally one of the highlights of the visit.
We spent half of the day there before returning to the hotel. And even the hotel was worth talking about because it was the weirdest yet coolest hotel I’ve been too. It reminded me of IKEA a little and it was, how do I say it, very interactive with its guests. A lot of the functions here are self-serviced and the overall design was retro and modern at the same time. Kind of reminded me of the Japanese a little.
And here’s a short video to prove how weird this hotel can be:
We had dinner at Schiphol Airport that night and after that we went shopping a little where I got myself some sweets because I can and also I am such a tourist.
I apologise for the lack of photos but it is late and I am so tired and maybe I’ll post some of them up when I’m free but meanwhile here’s the entire album of today’s photos on Facebook.
I thought it was pretty silly to put “self” under the featuring section because of course my “self” would be featured otherwise why would I even be writing this?
Anyway, yes! Day two! The day Michelle takes London! By storm! Literally because it started hailing halfway through today’s London tour. Just kidding, I would never do that to you Londoners.
I mean, it did hail. Just that it wasn’t my doing. Okay.
I woke up at 7AM this morning because 1) I slept really early the previous night and 2) it was already really bright by 7AM. I woke up, had homemade sandwich breakfast, cried a bit at the weather (SEVEN DEGREES), changed into multiple layers and then went out to explore London with Aunty and Uncle Ooi and Kenzie.
In the car, we passed by the O2 arena and the Olympic stadium. Our first stop was Canary Wharf at East London and we boarded a ferry on River Thames to Central London. On the ferry, we managed to catch glimpses of The Shard, Tower Bridge, London Bridge and many other really beautiful English buildings. Also, I was enlightened about the wrong assumption that Tower Bridge was London Bridge because London Bridge was actually quite bland and well, unattractive so perhaps Fergie wasn’t quite accurate when she sang about that bridge.
We alighted the ferry at London Bridge City, crossed Hay’s Galleria and headed for Borough Market. There, I saw English fruits and vegetables and they had enormous strawberries and thin carrots and white asparaguses. There were a lot of food stalls there selling all sorts of food as well, and even chanced upon a stall selling Thai food. I also got to see huge English bread and big blocks of cheese. In the end, we feasted on a plate of fried scallops which were HUGE, Portugal fried rice and also the real, genuine, authentic English fish and chips which was the size of my entire left arm.
After that, we took the Underground!!!! Kenzie got me an Oyster card earlier which is basically like a Touch and Go card except that you can use it for all public transport such as buses and trains. We took an underground train to Westminster, where we stopped by London Eye but didn’t go on it because there were so many people there and I don’t know which line was longer, the line to buy the tickets or the line to go on the carriages. So we headed to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey after that. Again, the line to enter Westminster Abbey was really long so I chose to just skip that. Also, I got to hear Big Ben’s 1 o’clock bong it was like living the @big_ben_clock twitter dream.
After that, we took a bus (one of those red double deckers) to Piccadilly Circus where it was quieter in some of the streets and had lunch at a restaurant called Burger and Lobster which sold precisely what it said, burgers and lobsters. I ordered a lobster roll which was £20 and REALLY HUGE but also really nice although I got quite sick after a few bites of lobster meat. Don’t get me wrong, I love seafood and also lobster but too much of something really does make you a little sick.
Somewhere in Piccadilly, I also saw a shop that sold celebrity masks and was tempted to get one but didn’t want to, uh, tarnish my image of being normal.
Then we went to Chinatown! Because it would be a crime if you were Chinese/Asian and NOT visit Chinatown and it was so nice and there was even a stall that sold durians £8 (appr. RM40) per kg whoa. We then went on heading to Trafalgar Square but then it started raining ice so we took shelter at the National Portrait Gallery for a while. From then onwards, the London skies turned grey and gloomy and rained at intervals.
We then took a bus back to Canary Wharf where Kenzie had parked his car. Let me just tell you how much I love the British public transport system, mainly the Underground and the buses because those are the only experiences I’ve had so far. I loved the feeling of professionality and importantness that came with beeping those Oyster cards whenever taking an underground train or public bus. It was also cheap, fast, efficient and just overall so convenient that I want to bring that back home to Malaysia. English people are also generally more polite and friendlier than people back home, and London people are all really well-dressed it was like walking in Manhattan…which is probably just the American version of London. It was a busy city, just like KL, but unlike KL, I seem to love the busyness and rush of London. It was a very comforting sort of busyness, if that makes any sense at all.
Sometimes I feel like it’s all a dream, that everything I’m seeing around me, the Englishness of it all was so surreal. All along, my entire life, the English seem so untouchable, and I think it’s mainly because I worship and obsess over the English so terribly that when I come here it’s like heaven on earth. Being in a movie. Living a dream. And it can be scary sometimes of course but I love it. I love London (although probably not the weather) I love it. Now all I need to do is meet Dan and Phil (or camp outside the BBC Radio 1 station during their radio show) and my London trip would be more or less complete. Oh and also Madame Tussauds. Definitely Madame Tussauds. I can’t not go there since they’d already made a wax figure of my boyfriend there, right?
Today I also watched my first ever Phil (which quickly turned into a Dan and Phil) liveshow live on YouNow and I was really emotional over it.
Click here for more photos yo
That night after I wrote the previous post, I slept for two hours (despite the fact that I didn’t want to sleep) and woke up at 3AM to commence our car journey to Penang airport since my flight to KL was 0700 hours. I was going to be on the same flights as Aunty and Uncle Ooi so after hugging my parents goodbye, I boarded the short one-hour flight and spent the time on the plane reading Chamber of Secrets. It was a very short flight and we transited at KLIA for an hour before boarding my 13-hour flight to Heathrow.
It was very emotional for me okay, it was my first time travelling abroad without my parents and the 13 hours on the plane was terribly torturous. It was hard to sleep on the plane because every time there was even a slight turbulence I would be jolted awake and my sentimentality still prevailed as I questioned why on earth did I leave my comfortable home to take this freaking thirteen hour flight without my parents. So in the end, I ended up watching almost all the movies and TV shows they provided on the plane and six episodes of Pretty Little Liars on my laptop. Oh the TV console thing on the plane was pretty awesome I might add. I watched all three episodes they had of The Big Bang Theory and also New Girl and they also had movies like The Hobbit, Les Mis, Sherlock Holmes etc??? How cool??? AND their music albums are mostly UK artists aka my cup of tea.
When the 13 hours was up and I could finally see London through the window, I thought I was going to jump right then and there because I was that excited. I was giddy and ready to unboard the plane because I was in London. I was in London. London. Holy crap. I was functioning on merely two hours of sleep and I was ready to go out and explore the world around me.
I was really excited and energetic for a person functioning on two hours of sleep when I checked into the UK border and there, a conversation went down between me and the immigration officer. Officer/me: “So you’re still under 18?” “Yeah.” “Where are your parents?” “Um, they’re not following me here.” “No, where are they now?” “Um back at Malaysia?” “Do they know you’re here?” “YES THEY DO”
And then we exited Heathrow Airport (Heathrow Airport!!!!!! I walked where One Direction had walked before!!!!) and Kenzie was there to greet us and then we stepped out and IT WAS SO COLD until we got into the car heading for Kenzie’s apartment and by then I was so sleepy but I was so hell bent on looking out of the window at EVERYTHING that in intervals when I dozed off and woke up suddenly I was sure all this was a dream because London is so, so beautiful and we passed by Central London when I got to catch a glimpse of Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace etc but in the end my fatigue won and I was too tired to even open my eyes.
An hour later, we arrived at Kenzie’s place at Fishguard Way and it was such a nice place and everything about this place is so nice I want to cry but you know what else makes me want to cry? The WEATHER WHICH IS SO COLD!!!! And suddenly I was very grateful that I’d packed for winter. After having a very small portion of dinner (noodles cooked by Aunty Ooi) I fell asleep straight away wearing two jackets with socks on.
I think that’s how you count it? The day before Day 1 would be Day -1? Although it would seem more appropriate for it to be called Day 0 but then that would sound incorrect. Oh ho ho look at you Michelle, trying to sound smart and all that.
Anyway, yes, for those who didn’t know yet, I will be going on a one month trip to England (and Amsterdam for 3 days 2 nights) not alone…but without my parents either. I will be following some family friends there and then eventually stay at my uncle’s house at Bath.
And why am I going to the land of tea and crumpets you ask? To visit family and friends, to scout for possible future universities, to stalk youtubers (cough) and because it’s England! I don’t really need a better reason than that.
So in T-minus 13 and a half hours, I will be boarding my transit flight to KL from Penang and then a straight flight to Heathrow Airport in London which is all very well and excellent aside from the fact that airflights have always made me nervous even when I was a kid and also 12/13 hours of not doing anything??? Also travelling abroad alone for the first time. Gahbufsjfgdguergdbgfd
Anyway, I have the entire Season 3 of Pretty Little Liars downloaded onto my laptop and also I have RP replies to write and also I brought along two Harry Potter books because I can so I guess I am prepared, in a sense.
I realise I don’t make much sense. I still haven’t completed my packing yet. Whoops.
See ya in London! Xx (because that’s how the English type, right?)
As you can see above, I was one of the selected candidates to participate in the Petronas YoungStars Day event (also a slightly less intimidating term for “scholarship interview and assessment”, don’t you think? Good going there, Petronas) and so on the 12th of April, a Friday, my parents and I drove down to Subang as the programme commenced early in the morning the next day.
When we finally reached Subang, we had no idea where to go to Taylor’s Lakeside (because my GPS broke down OF ALL TIMES) but in the end, thanks to some frantic calls and texts to family members and friends, we managed to find the place out of sheer luck. Then, next came the problem of finding a place to stay as San Ku’s place (which we almost always crash at whenever we go south) is in PJ and that would be quite a distance. So we tried asking at the hotel at the building adjacent to the campus but found out it was booked so we had to get back into the car and try to find a nearby motel based on pure instinct (broken GPS, remember?) and we finally checked in at De Uptown Boutique Hotel near Taylor’s College because Dad stayed there once when he was scouting for colleges. After settling down and everything, would you believe it when I found out that Ken (who was going for the interview as well) was staying in the same hotel on the same floor in the room directly opposite ours???? TALK ABOUT COINCIDENCES
The next morning, Ken hitched a ride to the university and when we reached the campus, we bumped into Jing Sheng (who was also joining the interview on that day), Zhe Han (who was joining the interview on a different day) and their other Kolej friends and NOT ONLY THAT because William, a fellow debater, Mea, a schoolmate and Farhanah, a friend I made at MCYDS last year were also there! AND NOT ONLY THAT because Ju Mei appeared too (who, according to her, only managed to find me because I dropped my water bottle in front of approximately 500 other candidates while we were lining up) and the world honestly cannot get any smaller (actually it can but I’ll get to that soon enough).
So we registered and headed for the hall for a briefing where we were also sorted into groups A, B, C and D. I was in group B, sat next to a girl named Amani whom I found out was from SMK Wangsa Maju (right? I’m sorry I can’t remember clearly but if it’s wrong I’m so sorry!!!) and immediately warmed up to. After being briefed about our schedule for the day, our group was sent to a holding room where we waited for an hour plus during which I felt like throwing up multiple times because I just wanted to get the interview over and done with. It was my first interview, so naturally I was scared and didn’t know what to expect. After the wait was over, we were finally brought to Level 8 where we were once again put into a different room and given different case studies (on “corporate social responsibility) each. We were then given half an hour to complete our analysis and reasonings on the studies and then subsequently sent to individual rooms in groups of fours and fives. My group consisted of me, Mimi, Alia and Mai (whom I later found out was friends with Anis, a girl I’ve been following on Twitter for a very long time now [The World is A Small Place #2]). First, we had individual interviews and I was the first to go in. I was, quite surprisingly, calm and perhaps even a little confident, something that was nice to have despite the fact that I knew, subconsciously, I was a giant ball of nerves waiting to be unravelled. Instead of the stereotypical interview questions I’d expected (“Why did you choose this field of study?” “Why do you think you deserve this scholarship?”), the entire session was about presenting the analysis we did during that half hour period in one of the many rooms we were placed in. Basically, to me, it was like being given a caseline in a debate and giving your own reasons and elaborations on why you supported aforementioned caseline (which, in this case, was called “recommendation”). I didn’t speak for 10 minutes, but I thought I did okay. After that, we had a group discussion during which we had to come up with a general consensus from all our recommendations. By the time we were done, we were terribly behind the schedule as it was already 2PM and according to the schedule, the next test was at 2.30PM which meant we only had half an hour of lunch.
But then later, we found out the entire schedule was delayed by an hour so our tests only began at around 4PM. As my first choice for my intended field of study was finance, I, unlike Amani and the other candidates who were opting for engineering courses, only had to take the math test, as opposed to their math and science test. That paper lasted for an hour while the subsequent two papers, critical reasoning test (verbal) and critical reasoning test (diagram) were 30 and 20 minutes respectively. I was glad that I had experience in this field after taking tests like the UNSW Global ICAS English test and the IQ test during last year’s ASEAN scholarship selection test. After that, the YoungStars Day officially came to an end and some of us briefly exchanged contact numbers before separating.
After dropping Ken back at the hotel, we started our journey back home but not before I finally got to try Subway for the first time! It was a tuna sandwich and tasted like heaven.
Despite the fact that I walked into the campus filled with dread and fear, I have to say that I did have a good time there. Bravery always feels good no matter the outcome. Whoa Michelle, that was deep. Of course I hope the results of my assessments will be adequate enough to be honoured the sponsorship programme, but even if I fail to get it, it was a fantastic experience and I’d do it all again.
So, I made a video today. Technically, this video took two days to make. Yesterday, I woke up in the morning and thought, “Hmm, why not learn the cup song today?” And so I did, with the help of Carrie Hope Fletcher’s tutorial video. Literally the whole day was just spent learning the original cup song (You’re Gonna Miss Me by Lulu and the Lampshades) and perfecting the cup movements until I “upgraded” and realised that I could cup (it’s a recognised noun now, don’t tell me otherwise) (also, get your head out of the gutter) along to other songs and did just that. And then I thought, why not record this and upload it on YouTube? Because obviously, my life is currently surrounded by YouTube and I daresay it was a valiant effort that I recorded over a hundred attempts until my phone battery died twice and still I wasn’t satisfied with a single video.
Today, I continued with these attempts and although I still am not satisfied with the most satisfactory video (which is this one), I’ve decided to just leave it for another day because (THIS IS AN UPDATE!) I will be heading to KL on Friday till possibly Saturday or Sunday for a Petronas scholarship interview on Saturday at Taylor’s Lakeside Campus and I really hope everything goes well. So wish me luck! Or not. I can’t tell you what to do.
Well, to be honest, I’ve never actually seen a proper, real, genuine sunrise before. The only time I was even remotely close to witnessing a sunrise was when I was at Eight Acres, Pahang for a Young News Network camp. My group and I had woken up in the wee hours of the morning just to try to get footages of the sunrise but as we waited at the porch with our camera equipment ready and all, we realised that we weren’t going to be getting what we had wanted after all because it started raining at about 6AM. So technically, yes, we did witness a sunrise, just not, well, a visual one.
I went to Sydney, Australia for the first time when I was eight years old, thus you would forgive me if I cannot remember the exact details of the trip. What I do remember though, is visiting the Sydney Opera House, but get this, we didn’t even enter the House. I don’t remember but I think we weren’t allowed inside if there weren’t any events going on inside. But we did take photos outside of it, so I guess that counts.
I think I’m cheating the system here. All the badges I claim to have are for half-assed achievements that aren’t even complete.
OKAY, this is a real, full-assed complete one. Last year, to celebrate Leea, Anum and Lela’s birthday altogether, my gang and I went to Taman Jubli Emas for a picnic. There were doughnuts, pizza, cookies, spaghetti etc and it was splendid. We picnicked by the lake until the sun set and I even filmed a video of our time there but somehow I’ve lost it but here’s a photo collage by Beneh:
The first (and currently, last) time I went fishing it wasn’t by using a contemporary fishing rod by a lake or pond or anything. My first time fishing was on a fishing boat in the middle of the sea using the traditional bottle and string method. My uncle and aunt had flown down (or up? Geography what is that) from England so my dad and my other uncle thought it’d be fun to bring them fishing the traditional way. Needless to say, our catch at the end of the day was non-existent, but it sure was fun.
Okay, another half-assed one. I’ve never actually done real CPR to a real person before but I took a CPR course once for St. John’s and I did CPR to a dummy and I passed and yep
I started learning swimming at the age of 11, with Jia Yuan at ASRC. It was a 12-lesson schedule held every week, and I remembered it being one of the highlights of my primary school life. At first I was a flailing fledgling (say that ten times fast) but in the end, I turned out to love it. It always made me peaceful, even now, whenever I go swimming– except of course when there are a lot of people around screaming and shouting and bumping into random body parts (um).
And you have reached the end of this post! Phew!
And by it I mean Armageddon and by Armageddon I mean the day I took my SPM results.
The night before, wouldn’t you be surprised that I only managed to sleep for three hours before waking up in a state of anxiety where I felt like I’d swallowed a washing machine. I cleaned up and put on my uniform, all the while behaving like a zombie, always keeping track of the time and feeling like every tick of the clock was hammering me further down into the ground. You might think I’m being overdramatic with all these hyperboles but believe me, at that moment, everything moved too slowly and too quickly at once. Anyway, la dee da and then I’ve arrived at school and met my equally anxious friends and that made everyone even more anxious. Finally, the headmistress appeared on stage and delivered this year’s SPM analytics (100% passing rate, 37 straight A students out of 180 candidates and an average grade of 1.7) while I was hopping from foot to foot feeling dizzy and nauseous and a bajilion feelings all at once. And right at the moment when I thought I was going to vomit on everything she loved, she started announcing results and my name was called and I started to melt into myself right then and there.
I was filled with such relief and started crying and I’ve done it. I don’t know how I did it but I did. Until now, I am still baffled. Grateful, of course, but semi-baffled.
It’s been an overwhelming day of endless kaleidoscopes of emotions, but I am thankful, and I am happy. I am thankful for everyone who has ever assisted me along the way, both directly and indirectly. And to those who are sad, it’s going to be okay. You can’t remain sad forever as you watch silver linings headed your way.
Did I tell you this post was going to be cheesy? No? Sorry.