What I Do Know: I Guess I Lied


I guess I lied. I do know a few things about Malaysia

1. Kuala Lumpur is the capital.

(I literally googled the spelling of that city while I was writing it. I actually wasn’t sure. That is very embarrassing). This is the only Malaysian city that I know. I am going to be staying about an hour outside the city. Another fun fact: I can’t abbreviate it cutely to just Kuala, because apparently every city is Kuala Something (according to the aforementioned travel guide I bought). This is another factor that is preventing me from learning the names of any other Malaysian cities. I keep saying I’m going to Malaysia because I seriously cannot be more specific about my location. I’ll send out a dropped pin when I arrive.

2. It is hot.

My best friend can testify to the other thing I learned from my trusty guide book, Malaysian temperature is pretty damn consistent. There was a bar graph that told me it contained the “Average monthly temperature” for each month in Malaysia and every month was freaking exactly the same. It was just a straight line across the board at about 86 degrees F.

Now, this brings up a real concern for me being a stereotypical teenage american girl: what the frack do I wear? (See I’m censoring my language because my parents are probably going to read this). Because there is one more thing I know about Malaysia and that is:

3. The Muslim culture is very prevalent in Malaysia.

I also learned this from the guide. So, as I learned in Egypt, this means the country is considerably conservative. This is my expectations/stereotypes comparing to the Southern California college culture I am used to where it is pretty much socially acceptable to wear barely more than underwear to class (yeah DGs I’m talking about you).

The moral of this tale is that I have to dress for heat but also be conservative. So it has been causing me a considerable amount of anxiety, proving irrevocably that my priorities indeed are in the right place. No worries about the dangers of traveling to a foreign country where I don’t speak the language or understand the culture. Nope. I’m terrified that the relatively small checked bag I packed doesn’t have clothes that will be appropriate for the location. Luckily I have a few hundred Malaysian ringgit to get me through (exchange rate approx 1 US: 3, if you were interested. I’m practicing my mental math). Fingers crossed there’s a mall nearby.

And finally: something I don’t know but something I’ve deduced:

Malaysians are pretty chill


The person organizing for ISEP on Malaysia’s end is called Nazar (I don’t know if that’s his first or last name because I don’t understand Malaysian names. He has like five. Let’s just call him Nazar for the time being). I sent over things for him to coordinate a Student Visit Pass (pretty much a visa) and a few weeks ago, concerned, I emailed just to confirm I didn’t need to get myself a visa and what I need to (I don’t know) get into the freaking country.

Nazar replies oh so sweetly that I shouldn’t worry. All I need is the visit pass which will be available when I get there. I don’t need anything more than a passport to get into the country. No problem. Which made me conclude (in comparison to the ridiculous strictness of Chinese customs): Malaysians are chill. And hopefully nice. Cause I’m about 30 hours away from meeting a million of them.

Oh boy.

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