Friday, May 6, 2011

When I First Met You

Can you believe it has been 3 years since I first stepped foot in UKM as a first year undergraduate student?

I can't believe it.

Though it doesn't exactly feel like just yesterday, it certainly doesn't feel like three years.

Going to a foreign place, a new temporary home, with no friends and far away from my family was a nerve-wrecking experience. "It's going to be exciting!" people tell me. But it comforts me none. I wonder if I'm ever going to fit in, to get used to all this newness.

The first photo of Nana and I :)

Then I meet my new room mate, whose first question to me is "Are you a Chinese?" It takes me completely by surprise, because I never thought I ever looked anything but Chinese. Apparently not.

I tell I am, in fact, Chinese, last I checked. Didn't I look like one?

She laughs and apologizes, explaining that that wasn't what she meant. Only that she was pleasantly surprised to be roomed with a fellow Chinese, having come from a majority-Malay-student environment in matriculation. I laugh with relief.

How different we looked then! :P

And my first friendship in uni is born, as we both then proceed to sweep, mop, and wipe the surface of every bit of furniture--clean the room that we now share.

Uni, then, didn't seem so scary after all. :)

I am standing in line where the facilitators have barked at us to. I am nervous, and honestly, terrified of all that is happening around me. There is shouting, and facilitators running around, more shouting. Other first-years seem to know what to do, but I don't. I stick by my roomie, clutching the identical blue bags they had given us during registration.

I happen to glance at the girl standing right beside me in line. She was wearing a silky blue baju kurung with pink floral prints that somehow, to me, seemed almost comical. Or it could possibly have been the expression that was on her face. She had a look of absolute terror on her face, which seemed to reflect mine.

Me and Chrissy :)

I smiled again, making sure she saw me this time, and introduced myself, and then my roomie. A wave of relief visibly washed over her face and she returned my smile with her own.

I stood just a little bit closer to her, and I knew, that I'd found a new friend. :)

You should have seen Chrissy's look of terror that first day when I met her! 
I tease her about it, still. :P

All were gathered in what they called the Memorial Room, or Bilik Memo, folding our legs so we had more space to breathe in the cramped room full of over a hundred fellow freshies. While my roomie, Christina (our new friend) and I were struggling to make ourselves comfortable in the itty bitty space we had (and pulling parts of our baju kurung from beneath the bottoms of a few oblivious neighbours), the facilitators continued barking instructions, trying to create some semblance of order amidst the chaos.

And above the din, one girl's voice could be heard.

Noisy and talkative from the day I met her :P

I tried to look above (and between) the heads of the girls sitting in front of me to find out the origins of the voice. It belonged to a fair Chinese girl with long curly hair who was actually sitting right in front of us.

She continued talking (at the top of her voice, it seems) to a Malay girl beside her. Somehow, our little group of three must have caught her attention.

We got into conversation and realized that Christina and she would be course mates! She told us her name was May Lee, written in Chinese exactly as "beautiful" would be written. ("Because I am mei li!" she claims often, in the three years I have known her. We always shrug and let her get away with it. If I was feeling cheeky, I'd tell her that her poor parents had no idea that the mei li daughter they had expected would turn out to be the complete opposite of the name they'd given her! She would whine, or maybe playfully smack me, going "Heyyyyyy" to which we'd just laugh.)

I call her "bu mei li" (not beautiful) instead :P

We of course also got to know the Malay girl May Lee was busy chatting with as well. Our sweet and initially-shy Hani :D

Hani Bunny :)

Another two friendships were born. :)

How do you feel when you know that these friendships are about to change forever?

Three years marks the end of their undergraduate studies in UKM. They will graduate, and leave UKM for good.

And I'm left behind. (Stupid Education four-year course! >.<)

It feels sad to see them leave. It's sad to know that they're moving on without you, ahead of you. It's sad to know in your heart that things will never be the same.

It's scary to think of what will happen in the future. Will your friendship survive?

With the busyness of working life, and study life, and all the demands of everything else, will the friendship continue?

I really hope so.

I have had such great times with each one of them--Nana, Chrissy, MayLee and Hani Bunny. They've taught me many things, and I have learned much from them. They have shared my joys, and my pain. They've been the ears to listen, and to encourage when I needed them.

We have certainly changed from when we first met. But we have also grown so much, because of each other, together.

They have made me who I am today.

During Orientation Week--how innocent and naive we all looked! :D

Webcam fun during debate practice :P

This post is way overdue, since my "last day" with each of them was almost two weeks ago. I cannot explain why I suddenly got emotional and felt the need to write this. Maybe because I see their posts and updates on FB and Twitter on working life, and I feel left out and so far away. Maybe because I miss them, knowing that on a night like this, we might be hanging out in one other's room, watching movies together, or gossiping, or painting each other's nails. Maybe because I miss those things, coupled with the fact that I know they won't be returning to UKM next semester as I will.

Hope you are doing well, and think of me sometimes, as I'm thinking of you now :)

Love you guys! <3


Nick said...

so u are from ukm? hehe.. i'm from usm.. ya.. so fast.. 3 years passed!

k0k s3n w4i said...

there's this interesting research they did on some college freshmen, mainly to see what determines who we befriend. they looked at many variables including interests, race, religion, intelligence, personality... and they found that the strongest predictor for the development of friendship between two people is proximity. For example, at the start of the year, the assigned the students in a freshman class seats. In subsequent classes, the students were allowed to sit wherever they want to. They found that a lot of the students who sat near one another in that first class went on to be friends.

Friendship it seems, is a matter of convenience.

DaN said...

it seemed like only yesterday you were telling me about the trip to bukit mewah as a trainee... hahah. ok that wasnt too long ago =D
yup.. roomies are definitely closer than some friends even because u practically eat and sleep in the same room. lol.. not sure where im going with this ahahahaha
hope u guys remain friends forever! there. i hope i didnt sound to shallow posting this ^^ XD

Liz said...


Yes, I am. What course are you doing? Graduating this year?

>>k0k s3n w4i

Proximity, I concede, does affect the formation of friendships. But I doubt it is what drives or maintains friendships. We became friends due to proximity, but we stayed friends because we "clicked", and there was a lot of things that we shared, and were willing to share with each other. :D


Back to Bukit Mewah, that was.....2 years ago ! haha Still quite some time ago eh? :P I was lucky to get a roomie who shared a lot of things in common with me, and we were just good at being roomies. Some people aren't :) Thanks Danny !!! :P

May Lee said...

*sniff* sasaaaa TT___TT im gonna miss you so bad.

Liz said...

Already miss you babeeeeeeeeee T.T