I am fully aware of the fact that Malaysia is not a common place to study abroad, and hey, maybe it caters to the part of my ego that desires to be different and unique, but the reactions I get when I talk about my impending semester abroad are fairly comical. The most common reactions to “I’m studying for 5 months in Malaysia”:
To which I respond with a stoic silence as I wait for the inevitable “Malaysia?! Seriously? Why?” Oh my un cultured friend, if only I could answer that question for you. Maybe get back to me in 5 months. I guess it is humorous to imagine this small white girl traversing the land of Malaysia all on her own. I think it’s the randomness that gets people. Isn’t studying abroad about drinking a lot and hooking up with foreign guys? Well, I guess I didn’t get the memo.
2. “Kill the Prime minister of Malaysia!”
As the bulk of my friends prove their worth by calling upon the only pop culture Malaysian reference out there from Zoolander. Though I do appreciate the reference and the movie, it’s not extremely enlightening. Also, I have a slight fear that Malaysia may be one of those countries that would throw me in prison for quoting this particular movie. Mental note: Leave Zoolander at home.
3. “Where is that?”
“Do you know where Thailand is?” *blank stare* “China?” “YES! I Know where China is!” “Great, so it’s south of China” Then I usually just leave it at that, because no one really cares that much. Now I really shouldn’t blame people, my world map is sorely lacking and I don’t think I even knew where Malaysia was until I had signed up for the trip.
So why you might ask did I sign up for this trip abroad? This is because I suffer from a crippling disease called spontaneity. It’s Incurable so far as I know, but that hasn’t stopped me from looking for cures on the Italian coast or in film school. Perhaps a Buddhist medicine man in Malaysia will impart on me a cure for my insatiable curiosity because lord knows the only thing it’s gotten me so far is an empty wallet. Though, I have a hefty trunk full of stories. Who knows? Maybe after the waning of the impending cultural revolution we will regress to a primitive culture where stories will be the currency. In that case, I will certainly prosper. Fingers crossed for that future.