Monday, August 30, 2010

Journey from KUL to ROC (post)

On August 25 at 9.10 a.m., I left my house in Seri Kembangan. Since I slept very late last night, I slept inside the car on the way to the airport. At around 1 hour later, I reached at the in front of the Departure Hall of KLIA. I tried to remain cool, despite the feeling inside was the vice versa. I knew that I won't see my family for quite a long time. My brothers helped me to push the trolley full of heavy luggages. When we went to the check-in counter, there were very few people there. I was early. But, it's a good thing. At least I didn't have to join the crowd when the counter went crowded around an hour later. After checking in, we walked around the departure hall while waiting for the JPA officers to come and gave us briefing on the departure stuffs. I was still not feeling well at that time. Seeing me coughing badly until my eyes became watery, my dad bought me a big pack of Strepsils. It was very expensive because it was sold at the airport. I wanted to wear a mask, but I had the feeling that people might look at me one kind.

While gathering to listen to JPA's briefing, I was attacked by the bad cough again. So, I ran away from the crowd to my family and tried to control the cough until I almost sat down on the floor. The worsened condition made it hard for them to let me go.  Around 5 minutes after the briefing, suddenly the JPA officers said that we were had to go now. As if ready to say bye to our family and friends. It was so soon. I didn't even have enough time to record a video for my sister. In the rush, I had to make myself strong not to cry in front of my family, but that came naturally when we knew that we won't see someone whom we love for a very long time. Finally, the time had come and I had to say goodbye, with the accompany of tears. I left my family and went down the escalator to the immigration checkpoint. That was the last time I saw them for this year. 

Done with the immigration, we waited for the time to board the aeroplane. Right before I boarded the aeroplane,  I called my mom. The journey from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Taoyuan International Airport took about 4 hours and 35 minutes. In the flight, I sat next to a Taiwanese lady. She's teacher in a secondary school in Taipei. Even though she's not fluent in English, but she's very friendly and talked a lot. I thought she's 26 like that, but she's actually 31 years old. When we reached Taoyuan International Airport for transit, we got only 1 hour to walk around, then had to board the aeroplane again. I thought of buying souvenirs or at least postcards from Taiwan, but the time was too short for that.

We continued the journey to Los Angeles International Airport and it took us for about 18 hours and 30 minutes for that. Throughout the journey, I watched movies, played video games, and listened to music from the entertainment screen attached on the back of the seat in front of us. Started the journey at night in Taipei, we reached Los Angeles on the same day (August 25), but in the late evening. It's like we returned back in time.  

Los Angeles international Airport is where the conflict began. Lucky for me, I could easily passed the custom check right after we got out of the aeroplane. However, for some of my friends, they were asked a lot of questions by the custom officers. Some even were had to wait for special inspection (boys). Most of the boys had nearly missed the conecting flight which was in 4 hours time after we landed in Los Angeles. Because of that, 2 of us missed the connecting flight to Detroit. We got separated because they couldn't catch the flight. Without handphones, it was really hard for us to catch up with each other.  

Flight to Detroit took about 4 hours. The aircraft was very packed and not so comfortable compared to the previous flight. I couldn't sleep well. But, I forced myself to sleep because I knew I was very tired. I could see the whole view of Los Angeles at time. Also, on the journey to Detroit, I could see Las Vegas, and Michigan Lake. Some of my friends said that they saw the Grand Canyon. I didn't see. I think I might be sleeping at that time. I could also see the yellowish orange horizontal line at one edge of the earth, which indicates the starting time of Subuh prayer. The view was truly awesome.

At Detroit, we rushed just like when we were in Taipei. The connecting flight left about an hour and half after we landed in Detroit. Everyone seemed to be worried about our 2 friends who missed the previous flight. But at the same time, we were all very excited to reach Rochester. Our next aircraft was a very small aircraft with only 1 stewardess. 

At Greater Rochester International Airport, RIT International Student Services picked us up and sent us to our seniors' houses. Moreover, our seniors also came to fetch us. The seniors were very nice. From that day we arrived Rochester (August 26) until now that I'm typing this, we are still living in our seniors' house. Of course, guys with guys, gals with gals. The whole journey took about 1 day and a half. If it was Malaysia time, we arrived Rochester at 9.10 p.m. like that on August 26. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Journey from KUL to ROC (pre)

Since I'm quite free and curious, I actually made a research on the extremely long journey that I'll have starting this Wednesday, 25th August. The research is about where and when I'll be throughout the journey across the oceans from Kuala Lumpur to Rochester, New York.

Since JPA asked the scholars to be there by 11 a.m., so I guess I'll leave the house at around 9.30 a.m. like that. Basically, these are my research findings. hehe...(feels like doing a research for an assignment...)

1) Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Malaysia Airlines
- depart at 3.15 p.m. (Malaysia time) on Aug 25
- transit at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE)
- expected to arrive at 6.45 p.m. (California time) on Aug 25 = 9.45 a.m. (Malaysia time) on Aug 26
- KUL to LAX takes about 18 hours 30 minutes
KUL - TPE (3225.20 km)
about 4 hrs 35 mins
TPE - LAX (10900.77 km)
about 13 hrs 55 mins including transit
2) Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)
- wait for 4 hours 10 minutes for the next flight
- Delta Airlines
- depart at 10.55 p.m. (California time) on Aug 25 = 1.55 p.m. (Malaysia time) on Aug 26 
- expected to arrive at 6.16 a.m. (Detroit time) on Aug 26 = 6.16 p.m. (Malaysia time) on Aug 26
- LAX to DTW takes about 4 hours 21 minutes
LAX - DTW (3183.01 km)
about 4 hrs 21 mins
3) Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) to Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC)
- wait for 1 hour 54 minutes for the next flight
- Delta Airlines
- depart at 8.10 a.m. (Michigan time) on Aug 26 = 8.10 p.m. (Malaysia time) on Aug 26 
- expected to arrive at 9.35 a.m. (Rochester time) on Aug 26 = 9.35 p.m. (Malaysia time) on Aug 26
- DTW to ROC takes about 1 hour 25 minutes
DTW - ROC (452.36 km)
about 1 hr 25 min
In conclusion, there are a total of 5 airports and 3 flights.
Total distance = 17761.34 km
Total time = 29 hours 20 minutes
A = KUL; B = TPE; C = LAX; D = DTW; E = ROC
depart from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Aug 25 at 3.15 p.m.,
arrive at final destination - Rochester, NY on Aug 26 at 9.35 p.m. (Malaysia time)

Hopefully, we'll have a safe journey. What's more, it's during fasting month. May Allah bless us with His bountiful blessings in the month of Ramadan. Amin...


I've been busy lately because of the preparation to go to Rochester, NY, USA. Alhamdulillah, after two years in INTEC preparing myself academically, finally the time that I've been waiting for has come. It's just around the corner. AUG 25.

This year is the first time I'm celebrating Eid ul Fitr not only outside Malaysia, but also away from my beloved family. Since I'll fly on the 15th day of Ramadan, so it's clear that my Syawal celebration will be on the land of Uncle Sam. I wonder how it's like. Lucky for me, there are other Malaysians in my university who'll also celebrate Eid ul Fitr there. So I guess it wouldn't be that sad celebrating Eid ul Fitr there. First class starts on September 6 which is on the 27th of Ramadan. This year, Syawal 1 is predicted to be on September 10, Friday. September 10 is my dad's birthday and I won't be there...

Due to the fact that I'm leaving my beloved family and country before Eid ul Fitr, I made some preRaya stuffs e.g. ate lots of Malaysian delicious foods (the ones that I favor), ate lots of  Raya cookies, took family potrait with all in Raya attires, and ate ketupat palas.

3 weeks ago, somehow I felt like eating ketupat palas and char kuey teow. I told my parents and they gladly replied that they'll look for them. Char kuey teow is easily available, unlike ketupat palas. But, I don't want ketupat palas that is bought because the taste is different from the ketupat palas that is made by my dad. I really like the ketupat palas that my dad made. The taste...ah...very delicious ! Especially when he put small cut beef/chicken inside the ketupat palas. Speaking of ketupat palas, it's is normally eaten during Eid ul Fitr in the Northern region of peninsular Malaysia. They can be eaten by themselves, or with peanut sauce, chicken/beef curry or rendang. As for me, I like to eat them by themselves if they contain beef/chicken. Else, I like to eat them with rendang. Back to my case, my parents were having difficulties in fulfilling my wish because it's hard to find palas leaves in Klang Valley. So, they took the opportunity when we went to my grandmother's house in Kota Kuala Muda, Kedah to get palas leaves and made ketupat palas for me. Special for me ! Last night, I ate lots of ketupat palas made by my parents and my grandmother. Despite her not-so-well condition, my grandma still wanted to make ketupat palas for me. I'm touched !
the making of ketupat palas
ketupat palas ready to be served
At my grandma's house, I saw lots of Raya cookies that my aunt (Cu) made for sale. Well, since I request, she gladly gave some to me for free ! hehe...Her pineapple tarts are delicious. They are very soft and sweet.

Last week, when all 7 of us (my family) were present at home, we took a family photo wearing themed Raya attires. The theme for this year is orange because that is my favorite color.

the 7 of us - ayah, ibu, abang, me, baby, eman, ami

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kenduri Doa Selamat + 19th Birthday Celebration

I just recovered from fever. I guess I didn't have enough rest and sleep for a few days before and after the kenduri which was held at my house. This is normal though, whenever people organize events in their houses be it birthday parties, open houses, or kenduri (a kind of religious feast). 

July 31, 2010
The purposes of organizing this kenduri on last Saturday (July 31) night were to :
                          1. pray for my safety in pursuing my studies in USA
                          2. pray for sister who'll sitting for SPM this year
                          3. tahlil (pray for dead people) for relatives
                          4. my 19th birthday (my birthday is on August 1)

Lots of people came to the event. There're 2 slots. The first slot which was before Maghrib prayer was for my relatives. The second slot which was after the Isyak prayer was for my neighbors and friends. However, some of my relatives stayed back until 11p.m. My birthday celebration was held at around 10.30 p.m. To my surprise, my cousin (Kak Ika from my mom's side) baked a chocolate cake for me. As from my family, it was chocolate cheese cake (my favorite cake from Secret Recipe). As a token of appreciation to my friends and neighbors who came, I gave them a goodie bag each which contained a muffin (I made by myself), jellies, and a small snack. 

chocolate cake made by Kak Ika
Secret Recipe's chocolate cheese cake
blow out the candles
There're varieties of food on that night. My dad cooked a very healthy vegetable soup (mushrooms + labu air (I don't know what's that in English) and made his famous tapai pulut (fermented glutinous rice); my mom made mango salad,sambal belacan (blended chillies with prawn paste), and ulam segar (fresh herbal vegetables); my mom's friend cooked ayam masak lemak cili padi (chicken cooked with coconut milk and blended chillies, turmeric, etc),  very famous Malay food originated from Negeri Sembilan; one of my aunties cooked udang masak sambal petai (prawns cooked in blended chillies), specially requested by me because I like it; another aunt keladi masak asam pedas (yam cooked with blended chillies and tamarind), very famous Malay food originated from Malacca; other aunties brought Malay traditional desserts like tepung pelita, seri muka, apam, and lepat. As for me, I baked muffins. However, there were only 60 muffins that I managed to bake due to time constrain. Some of the muffins were a bit overcooked on the top, but the bottom is still good. Somehow, people liked my muffins. My neighbors, relatives and friends said my muffins were marvelous. A neighbor and one of my aunties even asked me for the recipe to bake those muffins. Not bad, my muffins...hehe  

August 1, 2010
My 19th birthday ! Well, when I woke up, I felt very sleepy and tired. The whole body ached.  There're hundreds of messages from Facebook and my handphone. What else could it be ? Birthday wishes of course. I took quite some time to reply to those all. 
In the afternoon, my family and I went to Muar to visit my sister in her boarding school, MRSM Muar. She couldn't go back home for the event that was held last night. Even though all of us were still tired from last night, we still went to see my sister. We had our lunch there, and accompanied her for shopping. She also asked me to help her in preparing for her mock interview tomorrow. Mock interview for scholarship application.
On the way back to Serdang, there was a traffic jam on the North-South Highway on the lanes to Kuala Lumpur. We reached home quite late, around 9 p.m. When I checked my Facebook account, again there're hundreds of birthday wishes on my wall. Actually, some people even wished me on July 31 or August 2. Anyway, thanks to all the wishes. It was a great day to remember. My last birthday as a TEENager. Next year, there's no more TEEN on my age.