Sunday, 26 October 2014

First Flight All By Ma' Self.

I am aware that a couple of my friends flew to the UK alongside their parents or siblings or friends; those who are scholars with their fellow scholarship holder mates, but because it was indubitably short on notice, and all my friends were already in the UK, I had to board the plane alone. 

As evident by my coat and camera being bought on the day itself that I took off- it was that accelerated. 

The first picture the camera took was taken in the camera shop itself.

The memories of my first time boarding an international flight independently are still fresh in mind. 

I took the Qatar airplane and had to transit. First transit: Malaysia to Doha. 

I was worried because of the several reasons below: 

1) I've never done a transit without adults' supervision  
2) I wasn't aware exactly how long is my transit period (one couldn't help but wonder if a person could be that spontaneous/ carefree/ ignorant) 
3) What if I overslept?! 

Then I got reminded:

Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but doesn't actually bring you anywhere.
That being said, I was incredibly fortunate on my first flight. I was arranged an isle seat (specially requested because I am aware that the frequency of myself visiting the restroom is higher than average people and don't wish to drive the passengers nuts!!) 

The person next to me was a British man, about 30 years of age I assume? And he spent most of time sleeping and didn't once go to the restroom (that I can never understand).

My screen somehow got disconnected- which means I had no access to the TV, movies and songs on the plane- which also translates into a very bored me!! 

But somehow, somehow there was this angelic, beautiful and caring air stewardess who devoted so much of her attention and care towards me- I was touched by her genuineness. I wish I could do something in return to her act of kindness (Actually I could, but I missed the chance).

She would come over and check if I have enough water, food, meals, snacks etc. She also initiated conversations with me and I got to know that Qatar was the 4th airline she was working for! She has a work experience of 10 years. Impressive. 

She felt bad about my device breaking down (despite multiple times trying to reconnect it) that she brought over magazines for me to occupy my time.

What precious hospitality. I made sure to thank her every time she expressed her concern.

Shout out to the delightful air stewardess who catered for my benefit and welfare- I don't know your name but I will pray that the company recognises your dedication and award you for what you so passionately contribute to the image and reputation of the airline company! 
And that wasn't the end of what she did for me. She gave me a big bottle of water and insisted for me to bring along with me during the transit incase I need any water to hydrate! 

Beyond grateful, really.

Soon enough it was time to get down the plane, and bid goodbye to my favourite air stewardess! 

The waiting lounge basically looked like this. Hahahaha... 

I, for one, couldn't take any more sleep/ sitting down (8 hours+ on the plane is no joke man!) and stood up to chat with my family and friends. Pretty much voice messaged them and gosh, I was missing them already. Home sickness kicked in way sooner than I have expected. 

This was a friend I made at the airport during transit, to catch the Qatar airplane to London Heathrow airport. Her name is Natalie Yong, or more commonly known as Yaya. Such a relief to have bumped into a fellow Malaysian and to speak Malaysian Mandarin even after a while is just... Pure shiokness (<-- sorry I had to).

Again, unlike most of my friends whose parent(s) accompanied them to the UK, mine didn't. 

Not because they didn't want to- trust me, my parents had every intention to keep me company, I insisted for them not to because I understand they have work commitments and traveling long hours just wouldn't do their bodies good. 

Many of my friends later told me how their parents played a MAJOR role in helping them settle down and unpack, and while I was genuinely happy for them, I have no regrets- because there were still a number of my friends whose parents didn't come along as well- so I wasn't in the position to complain. 

I have to admit that it would've saved me plentiful of trouble and misery, however I'm extremely proud of myself for making such decision (ahaha so strong-headed but it's okay, there's a first for everything!).

After all, after some time, the wings need to learn to spread.

Unfortunately, on my second flight from Doha to London Heathrow, the guy next to me snored loudly in his sleep and kept leaning towards my shoulders. It made me highly uncomfortable because he'd be mad at me if I were to accidentally wake him up (but his hands were pressing against my hand bar so how was I supposed to lift it up and use the restroom?! 

The air stewardess and air steward provided me with snacks and meals which I didn't bother touching because I was overwrought and edgy.

Didn't know what to expect after all! Ahhhhh!!! Everything felt so surreal and I couldn't believe that I was touching down in another foreign piece of land a few hours later.

Next thing I knew, I touched down in London Heathrow airport, ready to embark on my journey to Nottingham (literally).

The sun was out! Looking back at that day, I can definitely understand how my seniors were telling me, "Oh, trust me, you don't see this often. It's a blessed kind of weather today." 

And I pay the price for not believing them. In my head I thought, 'How bad can it be?' 

It turned out to be... Very horrible. 


Spot my purple luggage!

A law senior, Jai and I. 

(What a coincidence it was!! She spotted me at the airport and approached me, "Hi! Are you June? I recognised you from Facebook."

I just couldn't believe that I'd bump into someone at the airport! In fact, I was (and still am) thankful that I met her because she was a great travel company.

The keep the conversation going, but also let you take a rest (aka sleeeeeep) people are kind of my favourite people to travel with!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Let the Wings Spread.

It's been a month plus since I came to the UK, and boy, is life here way beyond my wildest imagination. 

I've never been away from home for this long (Even vacations with the family have never been so long as well!). 

It's crazy! 

I can't believe all these weeks have just flown by. It felt like I've only been here a while. I guess that's why my bro firmly believes on "pain is temporary, success/ satisfaction/ (inserts whatever positive term) is forever."

The past several weeks haven't been exactly bad or downright depressing. There were darn good days as well, and really fun times with my dearest friends whom I'm so fortunate to have met and known here. 

There are so many I want to document... And this is only the beginning! 

I don't even know how to get started. The last few weeks in Malaysia was rather chaotic. I think deep down inside my heart I hear voices telling me to stay. And so, I kept trying to put packing off. 

I just didn't like the idea of the reality hitting me so soon. Nevertheless, time flies. 

Not long later, I found myself bidding my beloved family and friends goodbye at the airport, boarding the plane, and setting foot into a completely foreign country. 

When the #YOLO badminton group (ha ha what a name) heard the news from me, they were shocked- they would have expected an earlier notice (and so would I but... life). Despite my effort in persuading them not to come send me off because the idea of my departure troubling them made me feel bad, they assured me that they wanted to be there. I was, and still am incredibly touched by their sincerity. They are my sweet, sweet blessings in life. 

My parents, my brother Ken, and my friends came to send me off at the KLIA. 

My beautiful mother.

Papa, mama sandwiching (not-so) little Jun!

Ken who flew 2 days after I did. 

Daddy. I miss all those badminton sessions with him!

Due to some miscommunications (my bad, sorry!), my friends were late. 

I was upset at myself for not informing them well (it was an unintentional mistake) and was fretful at the thought that they could be putting their lives in danger rushing to the airport just so they were in time to see me before I enter the departure gate. 

I prayed they were going to be safe.

My prayers worked! 

Finally they made it. I was SO excited to see them.

Their presence was the merriest gift ever, but these incredible people surprised me with another gift and handmade card (I make cards for my loved ones so I know how much effort and time were needed to make this! I have THE most amazing friends!!!) to bring with me.

I could hardly hold back my tears. 

Handmade anything is the 🔑 to my ❤.

I was more surprised than anything- I didn't expect any gifts because as cliche as it may sound, our friendship truly is the most precious present I would ever ask for.

Thank you to my brother who was the camera man behind these candids. Cutie pie Zenny Zen. 

Here I was trying to fit in all the stuffs my wonderful friends gifted me into my already-stuffed-to-the-brim laptop bag. 

Thank you for holding up with the weight, baggy. And thank you dear friends who put in heaps of effort and time and money into getting me the gift (a lovely scarf that I adore to the core!!) and making me the card. It's absolutely beautiful and fashionable and keeps me warm in the cold. How thoughtful and genuine these people are. Oh I love you. 

Jeanne looked confused in the below picture. SO CUTE hor? :D

At the corner, my mum was helping me pack the presents into the luggage (I was sure-enough afraid it might burst because the bag was stuffed to the brim!).

I was on the phone calling the boys to check if they could find us (they were parking the car, the girls rushed to look for me to hand me the present and card out of fear that they couldn't make it in time. 

Gosh just typing this brings tears to my eyes. 

I'm definitely blessed to have these awesome people to call friends).

We were certainly not fit to be One Direction. Ha ha, get it?

(I'm so lame hehe)

(Please tell me you get it though otherwise allow me to explain!)

The boys arrived shortly. I was delightfully stunned when Han Qin handed me a gift. Unbelievable. I was lost for words. My heart was exploding with joy and gratitude. I wanted to hug him and the rest of them so hard and so long so that they feel my love for them.

Zen: “拍照拍照,快点快点,Wei Jun 要进去了!”

[Translated]: "Take pictures, take pictures, hurry, hurry, Wei Jun is going to enter soon!"

Hahahaha... my friends are adorable...

In my hands, were Han Qin's beautifully wrapped gift.

The clarity of the picture below amazes me.

(Note my heavy sarcasm)

Much better!

Jeanne: “喂,不要拍脚,才看到好像我们一样高。”

Ken: “哎哟,没有用的啦,谁都看得出你们比较矮。”



Jeanne: "Wei, don't take pictures of our legs, that way only we would appear the same height."
Ken: "Aiyo, it's pointless, everyone can tell you guys are shorter."


Although one would beg to differ with my brother, after seeing this picture. Can't tell that the girls were standing on the rail, right?