I’ve now been living with my host family for two weeks, and I’m starting to settle in! My host family seems wonderful, and everyone at school was very welcoming.
Amma (mother) and Appa (father) have hosted five students before, so they certainly know what they’re doing! My host mother Amma is a teacher at the school I’ll be attending along with an AFS student from Belgium.
The first week was exciting but also quite challenging; despite my amazing host family, I’ve felt very homesick at times, and also very tired.
Overall, however, the first two weeks have been very nice!
Here’s a recap of my first week with my host family:
The first few days, I was very homesick, so my host aunt took me to prayers at one of the many local Hindu temples to distract me from my homesickness (it worked!)
In Malaysia, it’s customary to eat with only your hands; many restaurants don’t even have forks or spoons.
*(Note to my brother who has spent years complaining when I attempt to eat with my hands in the US just for the fun of it)
Eating with your hands is the type of thing that you assume you’d be perfectly good at, like hanging clothes to dry outside, until you realize that there is a whole science to optimal clothes hanging (or in this case, half the rice you try to eat falls back onto the table).
On my third and fourth days with my host family, my host mother Amma took me to school with her, where I met teachers and classmates and sat in her classroom for the day.
On the fourth day, Amma took the other AFS student and I to Ipoh (the capital of our state of Perak) to meet with some government officials. One of them invited us to his Hari Raya Aidilfitri/ personal birthday party, where we were treated like celebrities! Dozens of people asked to take selfies and pictures with us.
The following day, I attended prayers at a second Hindu temple.
I spent the next day with the family of one of Amma’s friends, watching Tamil movies with four generations in the same room, and we visited the temple that night.
The next day, I attended a Malay wedding.
School started the next day! I’ll talk about Week Two in my next post.