I'm well into my second semester now. That means I've been in Australia for about 7 months now. I'd love to say that I'm happily settled, blending seamlessly with the locals, have even successfully adopted the Aussie accent that would amaze (or more confuse) my friends back home to no end.
But in the words of George Michael before he came out, there's no comfort in the truth.
I haven't even seen a single live kangaroo, scampering around the city streets, greeting a tourist or two and offer them a ride in their cute little pouches (the kangaroos', not the tourists'), as we all would've expected. No. All those flowery, frilly expectations are supposed to just prep you up before departure so packing your stuff and leaving family and friends for all eternity won't seem too horrifying a task. It gets you into that rush for a while, new environment, new friends, new native animals (by this I mean kangaroos, which are yet to be seen) - how wonderful! It didn't take three days for me to start missing the hot and humid Malaysia we're all proud of (although I vehemently denied this when interrogated by my fellow displaced friends.).
Pre-departure jitters will get even to the best of us. How do we find our way when we get there? Where, exactly, are we going to stay? Is there really gonna be food there? (This, had been my parents' utmost concern, pestering me to bring another suitcase of instant noodle and other foodstuff and kitchen appliances. I had to remind them constantly that it's general knowldege that Australia is one of the more developed countries.) What if I accidentally brought something they would consider illegal (pirated VCDs? Huh? Huh?) and send the detector dogs berserk and have the immigration officers stripsearch me, to my first international humiliation? What if they misspelled something in my passport or my visa, rendering it invalid? Oh, come to think of it, where IS my passport? All these question bugged us to no end, sometimes even got me so panicked I can't really remember how to speak English properly. Which made the immigration officer even more suspicious of me. (Kidding!).
I didn't get to say goodbye quite properly. Properly means allocating at least three buckets of tears for each relative and friend and being smooched and hugged until you scream for air and regular blood circulation. Everything had to be done in a rush. Rushed to meet at the meeting point (I left with another 20-odd students). Rushed to get my suitcase weighed and tagged. Rushed to get my boarding pass. I was practically running all over KLIA except on the runway. Though feeling kind of pissed (I mean, leaving home for another totally foreign country doesn't happen everyday to me), I think it was kind of a good thing. All that hurry and the brouhaha. It took my mind off of what was actually happening. I'm leaving home. I'm gonna be on my own, drowning in a sea of totally foreign and unfamiliar faces, suffocating in the new culture I haven't or may never be able to comprehend. If I get lost or lose myself in this indefinite and unkown waters I can't simply call my parents and ask them to come to fetch me. If I get bored or things just seem unbearable for the moment I won't be able to simply drop at one of my old classmates' place and then go shopping or just lepak at the mamak stall, recounting our stories of trials and triumphs.
Being kept busy before leaving is a damn good idea. At least I didn't have to allocate three buckets of tears for each relative and friend. That would've left me dehydrated.
Which would be bad during the flight.