October 1, 2012, by Ben Hunte

Back to the Jungle: Part 2 (Making our house a home)

Let’s jump right in!

Amongst the friendly catch up chats on campus, quite a few people have been asking me “Why did you get back to UNMC so early?!” Well, there was a ridiculous amount of stuff to get done in our uni house! Our (now) beautiful mansion didn’t come fully furnished, and it would’ve been silly to stay at home for another month, essentially doing nothing, when the time could be used productively in Malaysia! And now I’m going to prove to you just how busy I’ve been over the past few weeks, whilst you lot were bored in bed, watching every video on YouTube:

Transforming our House Into a Home

Our house is (now) an absolute beauty. I’m still shocked that it’s a ‘student house’ considering how it’s only just been built, and would definitely be appreciated more by a large family, but I’m not complaining! With that being said, there are a few minor things which we’ve had to overcome these past few weeks.

Spending mad amounts of money:
In the UK there’s a TV show called ‘DIY SOS,’ where a TV crew goes into a family’s crusty house with a load of builders, designers, decorators, etc, and basically redecorate the whole place for free. If they had that show in Malaysia, I would’ve been begging down the phone to the producers until I saw their van pull up outside. When we first pushed open our front door a few weeks ago, one of my housemates shed tears.. Not because she was overwhelmed by the beauty, oh no, it was because she realised what we were working with. As I went to flush my en suite toilet, the lever snapped off & dropped to the floor; when I later attempted to lock my bedroom door, I gave the handle a tug, and it literally came away in my hand, bringing the whole locking device with it; one of the bathrooms had no running water; the kitchen had no work surfaces; but worst of all, there was no internet.. for 3 weeks!!! My landlord did speedily fix everything for us, but still, I kind of expected things to be a bit less broken, considering it’s a new house and all…

I have no problem with insects. I took a module in Applied Entomology last year, in order to understand them better, and at home, I feed locusts and worms to my family’s bearded dragons on a daily basis. I really have no problem with them at all! However, no matter how friendly one may be with creepy-crawlies, there’s a certain reaction that every single person would have if, whilst showering, two fist-sized cockroaches crawl out from the drain & sprint toward their toes. I’m still recovering from the emotional distress. In all honesty though, I haven’t seen ANY creatures lurking around our house since we went militant with the bug spray a few weeks ago, so it seems we’ve successfully taken ownership back from them.

Learning to be a good housemate:
This has definitely been the hardest thing for all of us to overcome, but we’re getting there. “Dish Mountain,” a shamelessly-named monstrous collection of dirty dining utensils in our kitchen sink, has finally been conquered, and we’re now strictly following a ‘Clean As You Go’ regime to ensure that madness never happens again. Compromising with my housemates over things I feel so strongly against is proving to be quite a personal challenge, but we’re all sharing the house so the house rules should reflect that. I am slyly trying to implement a ‘no smoking outside of your rooms’ policy though, because I seriously can’t deal with the levels of passive smoking going down in the house right now. Oh, and I’m not as touchy about people eating my food from the fridge as I thought I would be.. Sharing is caring y’all (for now)!

JW Marriott Fashion Show

Over the summer break I learned that every meeting is a networking opportunity, and if you say the right things to the right people, you never know where things may lead..

Well, I bought a car from a fashion student heading to the UK to study for a year, and after a good few hours of laughter and not enough car-based chatting, I got invited to her university’s graduation ceremony & fashion show!
The ceremony took place last week at the JW Marriott in KL (oh yes, darling), and it was absolutely amazing.
Free cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, paparazzi everywhere, an opportunity to dress up, and many chances to act ‘fierce and fabulous’ as if I knew what the hell was going on.. I had no idea, but I still had an awesome time.
It wasn’t until the end of the event that we realised each student was actually fighting for one of 3 scholarships to study for a Masters in Fashion Design at their university, which explained why their collections were all so original & so “Gaga.” I loved it.


My “New” Car & Driving in Malaysia

As amazing as my car is.. how can I say this.. I think I’ve developed a fear of driving on these roads. It is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and I don’t want to sound negative, but that really isn’t a compliment. People are always telling me how bad driving is in their home nation, from the speed of drivers in the Middle East, to animals creating road blocks in Southern Asia, I’ve heard it all – HOWEVER, my fear is justified, because in just one week of driving here, I swear I’ve experienced everything possible. Cows casually walking into the road, drivers thinking they’re on a F1 track, people shamelessly driving past traffic that’s been queuing for hours, then literally forcing their way in near the front, and the worst, cars going through red lights and maneuvering their way through the on-coming traffic.

I’ve been driving for nearly 4 years now, and will soon have 4 years no claims entitlement for my insurance (..I KNOW!), showing that I’m a pretty good/safe driver.. and that is precisely why I’m so rubbish at driving on these roads. So, two weeks after investing in a car, I’ve decided that I won’t be driving long distances unless it is actually necessary, and there’s no alternative option. Driving from our house to campus takes around 5 minutes, and the roads are usually empty, so I’m still okay to do that journey a few times a day.

As for the car itself, it’s my first old car (it’s a model from late 1999), and my lack of knowledge about ‘old car needs’ isn’t exactly leading to the no-drama driving I’m used to at home.. For instance, who knew cars needed water to operate?! I most certainly didn’t. Because of the heat here, I have to fill up my car radiator every morning, to keep it from evaporating and leaving the car running on dust; but when I first got it, nobody told me this! Needless to say, within a day of driving I broke down due to overheating, went to a mechanic, and that’s where the fun really began. I won’t even tell the whole story, because I’m sure everybody’s had their own fair share of dodgy mechanics, and this was only my first. In short, I caught the guy slyly pouring water into my engine oil tank, whilst I was on the phone, and judging by his response when I confronted him, I guess he thought I wasn’t looking. There aren’t many moments in my life when I’ve been absolutely speechless, but this was definitely one of them. Needless to say, I took the car elsewhere to get it fully serviced, and even at that garage I apparently still paid more than I should’ve, but that’s what I get for not being able to speak the national language!

..and finally:

Ben’s Moment of the Week!

My moment of the week will be short and sweet, because pictures will say enough. Everybody say hello to Milo, the stray puppy that we took in, after finding her crying under my car.

For security reasons, we were actually looking for a dog, so it must have been fate. After a few initial evenings spent bathing her, picking many thousands of insects out of her fur (I told you I had no problem with insects) and watching her consume the entire contents of our fridge, she has settled in beautifully and is now a popular member of our area. Good times all round!

That concludes my ‘Back to the Jungle’ catch up, so see you on Thursday for an update on this past week, which was UNMC FRESHERS’ WEEK 2012! All I’ll say is that I created a UNMC chant AND a dance for the occasion.. creative genius!
Also, you’ll find out where Eiman and I just took a much needed 5* weekend break… & yes, I did take this photo:


Ben Hunte

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