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.