Monday, October 31, 2011

Last Days And Memories

 

Here are a few more stories to keep you all up to date!

This last weekend was a long break - we had an extra day off of school for the Indian festival of lights, Deepavali.  I took the chance to go to Kuala Lumpur for a few days and say goodbye to swing dancers and hostel owners that I'd gotten to know.  My last dance with KL Swing was fantastic, of course, and my third (or fourth?) and final stay at Sunshine Bedz was crazy fun as always.

Now I'm back at the school for one last week of packing, planning, and goodbyes.  I'm so sad to be leaving here, and yet really looking forward to seeing my home and family.  Also, I can't quite imagine what it's going to be like, back in America again…  I seem to remember some sort of "cold weather" concept that was popular there;                                     is that still a thing?

Well, in the meantime, I still have plenty of things from this year to tell you about.

Looking at my list from last post, I'd say the least interesting things to talk about are my vacations on the Perhentian and Redang islands.  I mean, that's all just beautiful beaches, hammocks hanging from palm trees, skipping rocks across the surf, swimming and snorkeling over colorful corals, watching mudfish jump around on rocks, slowly baking tan in the sun… In other words, all pretty standard and boring stuff.  You don't want to hear about that.

More exciting was when my mom came to visit, in the middle of Ramadhan.  Her flight to KL was delayed a whole day, so she only had about three days in Malaysia with me, unfortunately.  But it was really great (although really surreal) seeing her here!

She came out to Terengganu and saw my school, met all the students and teachers that I could lay hands on, and answered their many curious questions.  I showed her around the neighborhood (jungle…beach…yep, that's about it), and we later went down to Kapas Island to meet up with a few other ETAs.  We went swimming, and the water there was beautiful, this deep turquoise color in the warm sun.  Oh wait, we're getting into the boring stuff again.

Hmm, what else can I tell you about…  About a month ago, I got together with the English Language Society at my school and threw a goodbye party.  We called it the Crazy Hat Party, and we passed out little cardboard top hats with the invitations.  These were for decorating and sticking on headbands to wear during the actual party.

The party was nuts.  We pulled out all the stops - movie, music, chips, candy, chocolate fondue, noodles, a limbo contest, the chicken dance, a balloon dartboard, and an award for the best-decorated hat.  There was a big sheet and colorful markers that students could use to write goodbye messages to me.  There were two crazy-looking pinatas that me and the students spent days making.  There were even flashing holiday lights on the door.  



 


It was quite possibly the best party I have ever thrown.

 


So, I have been doing a lot of colorful, messy things recently, the latest one involving paint and a wall.  I am leaving my mark on this school, in the form of a huge, adorable, cartoony mural, mostly designed by my student helper Naja, and filled in with the aid of a passel of cute Form 1 boys.

 
Isn't it great?  I can't really take credit for much of it, though, outside of painting where I was told.  Okay, the "High Five for English!" bit was my idea.

 





Another recent thing I did was take the speech choir out for their last celebration together (for real this time).  We went to Kuala Terengganu and went bowling, then ate dinner at the mall.  On the bus back, I had a surprise for them: donuts for everybody!  




And they had a surprise for me: jewelry and a cute shirt that says "I like you" on it!  Super adorable.

So, this is my last blog post before heading home.  Not to say that it's the last one ever; in fact, I won't be done writing in here until the re-entry shock has worn off.  But this is the last time I'll write here as an active Fulbright ETA.

Right now, my apartment is full of hanging laundry and piles of things to either pack or throw out.  My schedule is full of last-minute reports, loose ends, and goodbyes.  Any minute now it's going to be Thursday and I'll be actually leaving this school for good… which is very hard to comprehend.

But within two weeks, I'll also be on the same side of the globe as most of you reading this.  I can't wait to see you guys again!

  *          *         *


Okay, here are some more photos for you:


 
This is a traditional instrument that's like a guitar with two strings.  Allen, I've been trying to get one for you, but I can't find them for sale anywhere!


 The Sultan's Cup Endurance Race was at the horse place next to my school, just a few weeks ago.  There were a bunch of concurrent competitions for students too, such as horse jumping.  This is one of my Form 3 students; he did fantastically.

I bought a bedsheet and some markers so that students can write goodbye messages to me.  This is how it looked before it got really insane.

Even Form 1 boys want to learn cat's cradle tricks!

I love darts, and now my students do too.

My silat instructor gave me a uniform and a second-degree black belt with my name on it, as a going-away gift.  Here I am facing off with a real black belt!


This is an actual sign in an actual bathroom at my school.  I wonder if #6 is really that much of a problem here?

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