Three months already! Looking back, the time has flown by, but it also feels like I’ve lived here for ages. I’m homesick far less frequently now, and I don’t cry very often anymore. I don’t really crave America as much. (But I do sometimes, of course)
I’m usually able to understand conversations in Bahasa Malaysia (but I don’t speak try to speak very often, even though I could/should.) I can read most signs and can usually understand the main ideas of stories or brochures. Tamil is still quite a challenge, but I’m beginning to understand the general idea of what is being talked about. (To people in the US, look up a sample of the Tamil language. It’s insanely hard. The first month Tamil sounded completely indecipherable to me, like ipilbilolalagubedalaiiueiabclnimalingivikelekalakilingi, and it still does sometimes, but sometimes I can pick out words. I’m not even trying to learn written Tamil [at least not yet])
I’m a lot more comfortable with my lifestyle here now, and I love my host family. Sometimes I struggle, but that’s to be expected. I have more freedom and can wander around Tapah town and can usually go to the gym or go to sinamrobik class twice each week.
My phone doesn’t receive cell service anymore for some unexplained reason, but I’m actually happy about it. I felt like I was on my phone too much before, and I sort of wanted it to break so that I couldn’t use it so much, but at the same time I needed it for the camera and for talking to people at home. Now it only works in wifi, so I can’t use it when I’m out experiencing things (except for taking pictures) and I’m more focused on the experience!
So, week 12:
Monday after school I took the bus into Tapah by myself! I walked around buying finishing touches for my USA friend’s birthday package and then went to senamrobik class. Later, Amma and I visited a Form 5 girl from school who was in the hospital. I’ve noticed that people go visit each other more often here in Malaysia— either that, or Amma just has a gazillion friends and there’s always one or two that need visiting.
We visited a Chinese temple right near Ibe’s house. We went back later that night for a very interesting festival and spent the night at Ibe’s. The celebration involved burning a large wooden/ paper boat along with paper gold to symbolize wealth.
On Saturday, I went to a 60th anniversary dinner for the Perak State Tamil Bell Club, where I saw some other AFSers!
Sunday, we went to a clothing store in Tapah to buy new clothes for Indian students for Deepavali, the major Indian festival coming up, the Festival of Light. Part of the holiday, symbolic of new beginnings, requires Indians to buy new clothes. I walked around with an aunty to pick out clothes for her young mentally challenged son.
That evening, I went to our Indian Bahasa Malaysia teacher’s home to make murukku, a Deepavali food required for each family to have at home. Unfortunately, they had already finished making murukku, so instead I played badminton with Marike from Germany, the young son of our teacher, and some neighbor boys. It was so much fun!
Later, we went to deliver a food packet to the family we had visited in our first month here.
The end for now!