Imma blog about my first week in Penang, Malaysia cause it officially ends today! Can’t wait for exciting times for the 2nd week.
The first week was full of ups and downs. There were a lot of new experiences for me. If I could sum it up in one word it’ll be SURREAL. I never thought I could do this but now here I am, having one of the most memorable times of my life so far.
They say every trip is different and that is so true! This is my first travel trip all by myself in a country with friends I don’t know (but now I treat as family here). This is different than my previous trips cause my family was there. But I’m glad I did this because it’s liberating and somehow I proved to myself that I can live alone for a while (but not forever, nothing beats home). Maybe someday I can study and live abroad without having difficult adjusting periods. Here are some of the highlights of my first week:
A) AIRPORT: I had to travel alone in 2 flights on my way to beautiful Penang (which they actually call Pearl of the Orient, but isn’t that the Philippines? haha). I had some major panic attack during immigration when I arrived to KL. It was sooo long and at first they said I can’t come first. When I finally had the courage to ask again (lakas ng loob haha), they finally showed me the transit counter and from there I had to run just to reach the final call for check-in for my next flight. I was happy cause my fear of asking was gone and I can say I’m a semi-pro in Airports 101. Haha.
B) WHO KNEW?: Some of the ringgits (Malaysian currency) that my grandfather gave me were actually really old and hard to find nowadays. I gave two of them to the Aiesecers cause I think they were surprised (they’ve never seen it before) and one to the local SIM seller. Guess it has been a long time since my grandpa went to Malaysia hahaha.
C) INTERNS and AIESECERS in USM are awesome. Currently there are 3 other Filipinas with me. It’s nice cause it’s easier for me and we usually have sleepovers in the living room to bond. Haha. We also have a Dutch intern and a German intern with us. It’s great that we’re one team with two different projects cause we hang out a lot and it’s easier for us to meet. We usually have lots of conversations about the Philippines and Europe. Fun! Nice to know about different cultures and learn a lot from them. Did you know that in the Netherlands, drug is legal (especially in coffee shops hahaha)? The Aiesecers are nice but it’s their study week so they are busy (grabe, they have 4 months summer break!, sila na). They really have serious meetings (they study every slide in their ppts) which I guess is the right way to do it (if you think about it haha)
*some pictures were grabbed from my aunt and co-interns*
D) AIESEC HOUSE AND HOSTEL. I had to stay at the aiesec house for my first 5 days cause there were some complications at the hostel. But now I’m at the hostel already. At first I was disappointed (and a little bit depressed but I expected it, thanks local Aiesec OGX hahaha) but now it’s all good! It just wasn’t what I expected but I’ve grown to like it and it kinda sucks that I have to leave my friends there. But the two places are very near so I guess at times I’ll sleepover there (and swim of course)!
E) POOL. We have a pool nearby the Aiesec house. So we swim almost everyday. It’s very refreshing. (especially at night!). Plus, I get to lose weight.
F) STRANGERS. Malaysians are very diverse and they are nice. A guy offered us a ride one time because we couldn’t look for the church last Sunday. He was so nice, he even found it for us (cause I’m not good at directions). The landlord of the aiesec house was so funny and he knew about the Philippines a lot (like Pangako Sa ‘Yo and Anak). Passengers in the bus were accomodating and they often tell us what good food to eat and places to go. But we had a scary experience. One of my Pinay friend’s bag got snatched yesterday. It sucks cause there were a lot of stuff in the bag. But we’re doing our best and we have each other (plus the Aiesecers here are always there). Please pray for her. It’s scary, Penang is one of the safest places in Malaysia. So for now, it’s sucky.
G) GEORGETOWN is the capital of Penang. Here is where you can find lots of good places to visit. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site so there are lots of old buildings and temples one can see. There’s even a fort and we know all about it (my German teammate reads history for us, he’s our tour guide/Grandpa (he’s the oldest)/and Justin Bieber of Malaysia (according to some passengers, haha).
H) MALLS. So far, I’ve been to 5 malls: Gurney Plaza, Queensbay! Mall, 1st Avenue, Pacific Komtar, and Prangin Mall. I’ve yet to come to the last one: Sunshine Bay (but I will soon). Everyday we go to the mall (cuz it’s hot)! It’s the Filipino way of “going out”, right? Cause for the Europeans, when they say “go out”, it means they go to bars and all. So for this week, we go out the Filipino way. And I guess sometime we might go out their way hahaha. That would be fun!
I) CHURCH is nice. It’s really diverse, I was shocked. There were a lot of Indians and Chinese there! I was happy because I’ve never experienced that and so it’s nice to know that there are Catholics and Christians that I’ll be able to get to know more. Mass is longer here I think but that’s great, it’s a new way and I liked it. There were interesting brochures there which is all good. Next time, I might attend the Tagalog mass to meet other Filipinos.
J) And to end it all: FOOD! Can I just say, I love Malaysian food! Not all of them are spicy plus it’s varied: you have Chinese, Taiwanese, Malay, Indian, and more! I love Bandung Lengkong, it’s a pink drink that is so yummy (it has gulaman). I love Hokkien Mee Soup (kinda like jjampong), Chicken Satay!, all the Chicken Rice, Laksa, and more. Next week, I’ll eat more. Hahaha!
For the next week I wanna:
have decent and productive meetings, budget my money and FINALLY buy all my necessities, sleep early!. do laundry ( haha, i dunno how! hahaha), go to more places, eat only local food, exercise (i’ll do the 100 workout) hahaha!
That’s all. Penang is awesome. Internship is awesome. It hasn’t really sunk in for me yet. It seems like everything is normal for me here but I know I’ll miss these feelings when I come back. I encourage everyone to have internships and create great experiences. Thank you, Aiesec!