I recently updated my FB. Like many, I was thrilled to see so many of my long lost friends, especially those from my university days. Seeing their faces remind me of the good old days in Kent. The fun, the laughter, the anxiety… so many memories kept playing back in my mind. I can’t help smiling thinking about the things we did and the fun we had coz that’s where we grew up and that’s where we first learnt what life was all about.
The year was 1988. That was the first time I set foot in London. I still remember the icy, cold wind that swept my face as I stepped out of Heathrow Airport. Gosh… it was so cold! I’ve never felt that cold before! The closest experience I had was in Genting Highlands but that was nothing compared to London’s winter days, ok? And when I spoke, smoke came out of my mouth! Geez.. how shocking! That’s when it hit me that I was actually in a foreign country, far away from home. I’ve set foot in London and this is where my home is going to be for the next 3 years!
I didn’t know anyone then. The students who came on the same flight with me were all from different schools, mostly from KPP. I was the only one who came from a boarding school. But somehow, I managed to get on a black cab with a few others, and off we went to the famous Malaysian Hall in Bryston Square.
I got a single room at the Malaysian Hall. The room was small but warm. I was to stay there for a few days before I depart to Kent with the other Kent students who still haven’t arrived yet. I can’t remember what I did, but I remember buying my first winter jacket at Oxford Street during my short stay in London. It was red in colour.
I also did the usual touristy things like visiting the Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Madame Tussaud, London Bridge etc, etc. Funnily, that was the first and last time I ever visited those places throughout my stay in the UK.
A few days later saw a stream on students arriving at the Malaysian Hall before going to their final destinations. That’s when I met my university mates ~ Sharinaz, Shireen, Suhaimi, Hisham and Khairuddin. They were all from KPP. There was another girl, Lina, who came from the same school as me, but she arrived much later than all of us.
Then another girl arrived, Rye. She was so “at home”, coming in and out of the Malaysian Hall saying hi and bye to many people she bumped into. Later I found out that she actually did her A-Levels in the UK and that’s why she was so familiar with the people there. There was also another guy, Mazlan. Mazlan was a Shell scholar and because of that, he did not stay with us at the Malaysian Hall. Instead, he put up at a hotel somewhere in London and I thought that was so extravagant!
Anyway, the first few days there was quite a blur to me now. But once, me and the boys took a train down to Canterbury to check out our university ~ The University of Kent at Canterbury. Sigh…. the name alone brings back sweet memories of that place! The boys pandai pulak naik train pegi Canterbury which is about an hour ride from London (can’t remember which station now). I had no clue, so I just followed them.
Looking back, I think my first year at university was the best days of my life. I met new friends, learnt new things, and it was all about fun! Fun! Fun! The Malaysian students at UKC were a great bunch of people and they were all out to have fun. Every Friday night ~ disco! Kalau boleh, tiap2 malamlah nak pegi disco! I had a whole set of bajus and dresses for disco nights! Geng pegi disco pun ramai, diketuai oleh my dear friend Verdi, who now resides in Jakarta.
Verdi was a private student in London but he never did attend school. He was always bumping with us becoz he had a Malaysian girlfriend in Kent, Eben. Kerja dia tiap2 malam pegi disco. Another disco buddy is Shuib, now a journalist at NSTP. There was also Alma, who joined us every once in a while, and Kidin. But Kidin wouldn’t dance, he’d just drink. Best kalau pegi clubbing with they all. Tak ingat dunia!
Of course, university days were not all about disco, disco, disco. I did study too, ok? But very minimal. Hee… hee…
I still keep in touch with some of these friends, but only once in a while. Now writing this makes me miss them so much. I miss laughing with them, I miss talking to them and I miss doing silly things with them. Student days are the best days of our lives ~ no worries except for exams. Nowadays, mana nak pikir anaklah, husbandlah, work lah, money lah… pening tiap2 hari. Dulu mana ada stress sangat, happy je all the time!
That’s what I keep on telling my children, enjoy your student days and college days puas-puas. Don’t try to grow up too fast. These kids tak sabar2 nak habis sekolah and kerja cepat2. Little did they realize the burden of responsibilities that shall come along with it.
Sigh… what’s the point of writing all this? I don’t know... I’m just feeling melancholic, I guess...