From Iowa

I am in Grinnell! I can hardly believe it loh actually.

But before I go on about that, there’s one thing I have to say.

So in line with how ironic some things in life can be, it is when I’m leaving that I feel more love than I have ever felt before. Which makes leaving so much more difficult.

I now know for a fact that I have amazing support from people back at home. While it means SO MUCH to me that people from Big Head 8 made sacrifices to make this special for me, I am also super touched by messages from people whom I thought couldn’t care less if I stayed or went.

LOL some people who read my blog read that I was terrified about leaving, and in the days leading up to the day of my flight, I’ve been receiving super motivational / uplifting text messages, and oh my goodness you wouldn’t imagine how touched I was to receive them.

Thanks to some of the 大头八 who stayed over, and even though you guys probably didn’t sleep well that night (LOL I only have so many beds you know!) it was a super nice ending (of what? I don’t know. Not our friendship, definitely!).

ZiHui, thank you SO MUCH for coming home, even if it takes 6 hours for a bus ride each way. Sorry lah, I should’ve acted surprise when you showed up. And sorry also lah, that I asked what you brought your clothes for!

Ah Fui! Thanks for the book! I don’t dare imagine how long it must’ve took you to make it! I tried reading it on the plane, but I was already emo enough that if I read it I’d probably cry, and the Big, Burly Korean Man sitting next to me was a little scary looking, I didn’t want to get him pissed off by my sobbing LOL. Pissed Off Big Burly Korean Men (or Pissed Off Big Burly People In General) are not something you’d like to be around!

And thanks to everyone who spent my last night with me!

I probably won’t meet another bunch like them loh. They’re pretty much the only ones who’d tried to assure me many times that my super sepet eyes “很迷人” (you think I’m that gullible meh), then in the same breath tell me how, because of my eyes, I looked super hak yan zhang when they first met me.

Okay so. I’m at Grinnell!

One thing I noticed about this place, is how amazingly nice people here are! Sometimes you would be walking, and you’d meet someone from the town, and I’d bet you my big toe that they’d smile and greet you. Everybody does that! So now I’m developing the habit of smiling and greeting people a good morning / whatever whenever I see someone, lest they think I’m supremely rude.

It’s even more amazing how the school officials are more Friends than School Officials. They’d actually remember your names, and stop to greet you if your paths crossed. Now compare that to the horribly rude people at Taylor’s and CHS (especially CHS!)

Another super cool thing – the number of countries represented in our International Pre-Orientation group! 30-something, I think. Over the past four days I’ve met people from Albania, Czech Republic, Honduras, India, Bangladash, Germany, Myanmar, and a bunch of other countries. Damn cool lor, when we get into a room together, and you see the many different colours / hear the different accents.

It’s interesting what preconceived notions people have of Malaysia. One guy, for example, was utterly shocked when I told him there are a lot of Christians in Malaysia. He thought everyone was Muslim. Another person had no idea Malaysians could speak English.

During breakfast today this American girl overheard me saying that this is my first time entering the United States. She was like, “Your first time? But you speak such good English!”

Then the native Chinese, upon hearing me speak Mandarin, go, “Wah, ni de zhong wen jiang de hen hao!!”

Then when people ask and I tell them that I also speak Malay, and also cantonese, they seem pretty darn impressed.

LOL so basically even though I still speak Cina-English (or Manglish?), and even though my Chinese is pretty much considered only half-past six by Malaysian standards, over here I can actually impress people! Yay!

It feels a little weird though, I think I’m comfortable enough with the international students that I’ve met, and am already a little tired of the billion times I’ve been introducing myself, that I am not particularly excited about Saturday, when the American first-years arrive on campus.

Americans, for one thing, cannot pronounce / remember my name.

Every time I say “Chooi”, I almost always get asked, “As in, ‘chewy‘, or as in ‘tree‘?”

The only people who can say my name right are, unsurprisingly, the Chinese.

Right now, talking to them, with a bit of mandarin thrown in every now and then, is the closest to home I feel loh.

Bye, all the way from Iowa!

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