May 30, 2012, by Ben Hunte
Flights Home, Froyo, Malaysian Fashion & Summer Plans
Greetings from London, England!
It’s crazy to think I’ve only been home for a week; my body’s slowly re-acclimatising to the constantly changing UK weather, but the expense of everything in London is still bringing a tear to my eye.
I’ve had a week of picnics, job interviews, hospital appointments, catching up on much needed sleep in a bed I actually fit in, and meeting up with the lucky few of my friends who have finished their exams and returned to London. Anyway, let’s get started!
The Long Journey Home
Whilst revising at ridiculous o’clock for my final exam, Statistics, I took all of my room decorations down from my walls, and strategically placed them into cardboard boxes with care, ready to be taken out again in September..
This method only lasted for a few minutes, as I soon realised that I didn’t have enough boxes for everything, and I couldn’t revise as casually for my exam as I thought I could! 24 hours later, I was in KL partying, celebrating the end of my exams, and the end of first year, completely oblivious to the fact that I had to check out of my room within just a few hours. Well, not only did I wake up late after the night out, meaning that all the cleaners had to wait for me to get back to campus from KL, but I also hadn’t even started putting my clothes, books, and random things into any movable state.. What can I say, it’s no secret that I hate packing.
After a few calls to some of my wonderful friends (thanks y’all) my room had been transformed from its colourful, lively crib, into a completely empty shell. It was so sad, but bring on the mansion in September! Anyway, with Phase 1, “Packing,” completed, it was time to go to the airport for Phase 2 of my journey home…
It’s not that I have a fear of flying itself, I don’t – I absolutely love planes, it’s more that I just can’t look forward to being uncomfortable for long periods of time. Many people have perfected the whole sleeping-upright thing, but they’re usually shorter than me, or older; my over six foot self just cannot deal with 15 hours in the air with my knees pressed against my chin.. which is why this journey home was so amazing!
In order to collect airmiles (points really do mean prizes!), I only fly with Emirates, and as much as I love their planes, their service & their crew, the major disadvantage with them is the need to fly into Dubai to then connect to another destination (for me, London/Kuala Lumpur).
For the first leg of my journey, KL to Dubai, I had a whole middle row to myself, because the flight was so empty, so you know I put all the arm rests up, made my bed, and laid in it.
For the second leg, Dubai to London, I was in Business Class, which I was obviously extremely excited about, but karma got me, and I fell asleep the minute I sat down, so the upper-class experience was kind of wasted.
It must be noted how everyone at Kuala Lumpur Airport was looking at me like I was a crazy man, because I was dressed in a hoodie, a winter Barbour jacket, tracksuit bottoms, and a wooly hat, whilst they sat in their vests, shorts and flipflops. They may have been laughing then, but I definitely had the last laugh! All I heard was the Captain announce “we’ll shortly be landing in London; it’s currently 7 degrees, with a chilly breeze,” and I looked around, smiling sweetly at all of the half-naked & utterly unprepared holiday-makers, about to disembark into an arctic climate….. which leads me to my moment of the week!
Ben’s Moment of the Week
This week’s moment of the week is: BEING HOME.
A lot of you won’t be able to understand how amazing this feels, because I know a good few people who have screamed with joy at ‘finally being home’ when their home is in London, and their university is located no more than an hour away from London, by train, car or foot.. Even worse are those who post Facebook statuses like “Ahhh I’m finally getting to see my boyfriend!” as if they weren’t previously reachable with a pound coin and a free evening. Sorry for being so sour, but somebody had to say it.
It’s so odd feeling a culture shock from somewhere that I’ve lived all my life! I’m walking around the city like a tourist, admiring new developments, getting excited by all of the Olympics advertisements, and apparently constantly comparing everything to how things are in Asia (“well, in Malaysia…”).
I’m also finding it strange how I’ve gone from being completely independent, and not needing to rely on anybody for anything, to now relying on my parents for so much. Needless to say I haven’t even touched the washing machine since I’ve been back.
I remember how my sister used to come home from uni during her holidays, and complain about how Mum would be trying to do everything for her; I think that’s where the difference between our university experiences is clear, whereas she had the ability to return home and get that beautiful treatment whenever she wanted it, I’ve only been able to get advice on how to look after myself via Skype or Whatsapp. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it, but being back now makes everything seem so worth it.
Shopping in Malaysia
One question I was emailed last week, was whether or not there are actual clothes shops in Malaysia, or if we only have market stalls.. Okay, stop laughing y’all, it’s actually a very good question. When I first touched down in Malaysia, I too was unsure about the whole shopping situation.
With great pleasure, I can announce that Malaysia not only has a booming shopping culture, but there are malls absolutely everywhere, and a good few of them hold titles for being amongst the biggest malls in the world.
Most western retailers have stores here, from Prada to Topshop to Gucci to Zara (no H&M or Primark though, yet). I did notice that a few of the things I’d bought in London in the Christmas Sales suddenly appeared as ‘new stock’ in Malaysia in January, and some other people have exposed how the western stores only stock past-season clothing, but nobody here would know, so it’s fine.
It’s a lot cheaper to shop here if you’re a woman, because the market stalls and smaller independent shops actually have some really nice things that would easily fit into the high-street stores, for cheap prices. As for men, I guess it’s less shameful for us to rock a vest and shorts everywhere, so that’s a plus because they’re probably the cheapest items of clothes to buy here; but as for going out stuff, you’re definitely getting charged more than you would on a UK high street.
I don’t think I’ve ever had such a busy Summer planned! Which is good, because I’m already starting to get that ‘..surely I should be doing something?’ feeling. This time next week, I’ll be in New York, a week after that Florida, and two weeks after that, Amsterdam! I was hoping to go back to working at Harrods or TGI Friday’s this summer, but London is already looking a bit too busy for my liking, and the Olympics haven’t even started yet, so I’m going to hide from that stress. Instead, I’ll be moving into my partner’s university house in Chichester, and work somewhere in Portsmouth or Brighton, but I’ll decide where after my travelling.
That’s all for this week! By the way for anybody who doesn’t know what the significance of this weekend is, get to know! It’s the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, celebrating her 60 year reign over Britain. Love it. See you soon!