Where Did August Go

Immediately after coming back from Japan, there was hardly time to afford lazing around doing nothing as I’d been doing for the past eight months (which felt quite ironically out-of-comfort-zone-ish considering how much I’d been complaining about doing nothing). I made a day trip to KL by flight with Rumin two days after returning from Japan to get my visa done, and was it coincidence or subconsciousness we will never know, we went to places in KL that reminded us of Tokyo, albeit lesser versions: the manga/Japanese magazines section in Kinokuniya, buying more stuff in Uniqlo, Monki and H&M than in Tokyo despite the Japanese branches being larger and offering a wider variety of choices.

Then a week of writing my Japan blogposts later, I went down to Penang for two days to play volleyball with Bellyn and her friends in light of her recently getting into Haikyuu thanks to me apparently. She even got herself a Mikasa volleyball (after her Thai Molten one got carried away by river currents, literally) and it was super fun to pretend that we were on a volleyball court as Haikyuu characters even though it was just us three tossing and receiving in an open field by the road and suffering from bruises that travelled the length of both arms right after. Actually Playing Volleyball was something that wasn’t unthought of after I got into Haikyuu but because the thought of Michelle + Sports was precisely just that, a thought, it remained wishful thinking which is why I’m eternally grateful for that really fun volleyball-filled weekend at Penang with Bellyn. (ball is life thanks haikyuu)11951261_10206634599678234_8496049665309279792_n

Thanks Yu Chia
Thanks Yu Chia / Got that Kagehina and Iwaoi aesthetic covered

Ok we even did a short ridiculous photoshoot thing at the lorong behind Bellyn’s house in which I dressed up as Kenma complete with the Nekoma shirt, a red parka I just bought from Queensbay, and Bellyn’s old St George’s red trackpants oh my god

Thanks Bellyn

The next day after coming back from Penang, I flew to KL with Rumin again for a University of Manchester pre-departure briefing which turned out to be not very informative at all but we had another sort of psuedo-Tokyo day in the city (will we ever get over Japan I don’t think so and I hope not) at Uniqlo, Parkamaya and Tokyo Street (we had udon for lunch). On the train to KLIA2 to fly back to Alor Setar, we received emails stating there was a JPA briefing in Subang in two days’ time and so it was another day of booking flight and hotel tickets and groaning in exasperation at the short notice.

It was also during this time that Bellyn’s dad messaged me on Facebook about holding a surprise farewell party for Bellyn on Wednesday night before she flies off to New York on Thursday. So instead of flying back to Alor Setar, I bought flight tickets to Penang instead after the JPA briefing.

Upon reaching Subang on Tuesday afternoon, Rumin and I visited this owl-themed café that reminded me of Fukurodani and there was even a map of the Tokyo metro station at the table we sat at. At around 2PM, I left for Grafa where I was going to meet Ellie, Mei and Atikah.

It had been about a year since I last saw Ellie and almost two years since I saw Mei and it was my first time meeting Atikah, I was so excited!! I had such a great time hanging out with them, mostly talking about our uni futures in the UK (Mei is going to UAL and Ellie is starting her second year in University of Kent) and meeting up, when Atikah visits too. Of course, we also talked about anime

I sat in Mei’s car for the first time as she dropped me off at Sunway Pyramid after hugging her and Atikah goodbye, smiling so wide and feeling that Life Is So Good So So Good

Rumin and I crashed at a small motel at SS15 that night and we were lucky enough to procure the only room left which was a family room of four without any additional cost.

The briefing started at 8.30AM the next morning and in a nutshell, we got our respective tentative flying dates. University of Manchester students were scheduled to fly off on the 14th of September.

My flight was at 4PM while Rumin’s was at 4.40PM so we chilled at a Thai café at SS15 for a while before taking a taxi to the airport.

The surprise wasn’t entirely successful because Bellyn was in the car as well when Bellyn’s dad picked me up from the airport. Regardless, the night of the farewell party was so nice as Bellyn’s friends, Janice, Yu Chia, Xin Yi and Erneetha turned up too.

I felt the spillover of the Departure Sadness a little and it was a bit ironic that Bellyn was the one to send me off at the bus station in the end on the next day when she was the one leaving that evening. I left Penang with an incredibly heavy heart, even more so because of Bellyn’s departure and also the thought that this might be my last time on this island where I’d had had so many fond memories before I fly to the UK.

And that was all that had happened, besides binge watching Masterchef USA with my parents, leading up to the approximately one week left I have in Malaysia before I’m off to the UK, to university.

(Like Japan, I am both very excited and also very scared.)

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Michelle Teoh

26-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

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