Monday, December 3, 2018


Let’s just phrase it in this way.

Although I was aware that I’d have to spend the night in a nearby hotel due to the situation, I wasn’t looking forward to the flight for a couple of reasons. One of which rested with my grades; it would be the second time that I flew out without first knowing whether I passed or failed the entire course. The other rested with my decision to leave. My friends - or at least those who knew about it - were saddened by the piece of news, but all I experienced was apathy.

It is a bit of a shock if you ask me. Yet some of the international students whom I’m acquainted with are in the same boat as me. Whenever we talk about our impending trips back home, we aren’t greeted with a wave of anticipation either.

The years that I’ve spent abroad has stirred something within me. Four years of biannual flights and continual exposure to two different cultures have shaped me into the person that I am today. I no longer retain the personality that I once had. I’m more suspicious than before and don’t take what people tell me at face value, choosing instead to conduct my own research as support or poking holes in their words. It’s not a good sign - as it means that I’ve lost complete trust in everyone and everything. The signs were already there, which helped me to accept what was about to greet me. It was as if the time spent in another country exposed me to things that I had never seen before.

I’m supposed to feel a wave of homecoming and excitement flush through me now that I’m back. What’s flowing through my veins instead is indifference. Surprise, not surprise. Maybe it’s the work of reverse culture shock. Maybe it’s because I’ve experienced so much that I’ve (momentarily) lost the ability to care or empathize. It might make sense, considering the circumstances.

Nothing has changed.

Am I incapable of acculturating to what was once a happier time?

Perhaps I’ve really lost my bearings - and need to collect the pieces I’ve left behind in my wake.

Due to the mishaps that occurred throughout the week leading up to my flight, I spent the night in a nearby hotel. I’ll share my review on my stay in an upcoming post. It’s not that I haven’t done it; it’s just that I’m not in the right frame of mind to complete and publish it. There has been a lot requiring my attention since I landed in the land of tropics - and I’m weighed down by the extent of it.

Experiencing a flight delay wasn’t something that I expected … yet it occurred. I’ve no idea whether it was the result of terrible weather conditions or something else, but it was enough to blow my plans apart. Had I known that there would be a delay, I would’ve headed for a quick coffee instead of heading to the airport earlier than everyone else.

Or bought myself a glass of beer at the Coopers’ airport branch.

As long as it’s something to soothe my growing impatience.

Even being on the phone with the sister for most of the time didn’t alleviate it either.

I was sleep-deprived as I spent an hour tossing and turning after receiving the update of a delay in the wee hours of the morning. This was because I had to rearrange my transport at the receiving airport. I would’ve taken the train or the cab because it’s easier and much more convenient, but Mama Carrie didn’t want me to take the risk since the new arrival time would be closer towards sunset.

Most of the flight passengers had glassy eyes when they spilled into the boarding area. I was only relieved that there was a convenience store for me to make a quick purchase of bottled water and Kit Kat. Although the passengers kept to themselves, you could see that they tried their best to remain calm yet the imaginary smoke blew from their ears. I wouldn’t blame them; it’s not fun dealing with flight delays. One even rested on his cabin luggage on the floor, oblivious to the silent tension of others and tuning everyone out. It wouldn’t surprise me if our moods were soiled when we finally boarded the aircraft some hours later. What was most evident is that cabin crew members were also affected. I don’t know if others saw it, but it felt like the steward whom I spoke to silently seethed at the change of events. Based on what I’ve read, the cabin crew is on shorter notice than passengers as they are required to arrive earlier in preparation of the flight.

By the time I settled into my seat, the anger turned inwards and reflected in my body language. I only realized when the fellow flight passenger broke the silence and asked if everything was alright. He commented that I looked restless… and fed up. So, I elaborated on the situation. We found ourselves deep in a conversation for the next five minutes or so about our differing university degrees and shared courses. To cut a long story short, we are now connected on LinkedIn and might be working in similar fields.


  1. This sounded like every bit the bumpy journey back home. Flight delays just upset everything - schedule, travel plans to the airport, accomodation and definitely your body physically and mentally. Staying in a hotel before boarding a plane back seemed like a gradual way to put an end to your time here.

    It seems that there are reasons why you want to stay and why you don't want, and why you want to go back and why you don't. When I moved back to Melbourne from Singapore, I didn't want to leave Singapore. After so many years in Singapore that was a place where I felt like I belong...even when I didn't fit in all the time. It's weird how over time you become used to a place and it becomes a big part of you. These days I do still toy with the idea of moving back to Singapore.

    'I’m more suspicious than before and don’t take what people tell me at face value,' I think that's a good way to live...because more often than not you can only count on yourself. Too many times I've trusted and I've been let down...though I'd say those who you can really trust are the ones worth waiting for and they are usually the most unexpected people.

    That is great you made a connection on your flight back home. Let's see where this goes :)

    1. Flight delays are also capable of causing emotions to run high, especially when the airport employees are unable to do much either. I guess I was lucky that I stayed in a hotel (not a friend’s house) - otherwise, it’d be a little awkward to explain the sudden delay.

      I’m not saying that I’d have stayed back in Adelaide for good because it’s a matter of time before I’d decide to pack my bags and leave. But there’s a part of me that wishes that I could have moved to a third country, bypassing Adelaide and Malaysia.

      ‘It's weird how over time you become used to a place and it becomes a big part of you. These days I do still toy with the idea of moving back to Singapore.’ - You’d be surprised to know that I still feel connected to Auckland after all of these years (and I only spent eighteen months as a young child there!).

    2. Generally speaking, moving away can seen like you'r running away...either moving towards something you think you might like, or running away from something you'd rather not have...or both.

      Maybe one day you will have a stint in Auckland again :D


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