Another mushy post about an ending? Unfortunately, yes. But it’s my blog and these are my memories so it would only make sense for me to jot down every single detail before they fade away with time.
I’m headed for Alor Setar tomorrow morning and I’m in the middle of repacking. I can still remember the day before I headed for KL for the internship. I was fresh out of the finals oven, both anticipating and dreading the internship. I was reluctant to pack, to head for this totally different environment which I would have to live in for a month.
Time flies, a little too quickly for my liking. Now that I’m going home, it’s hard to leave all these new memories, experiences and friends behind to return to my old life.
I just came back from a farewell dinner at 1Utama with Ann-Marie, Ellora, Kyle, Le Shea, Wee Nie, Ju Mei and Chester. Promises were made, roads down memory lane were taken, long hugs were given, more memories were formed and fortunately, no tears were shed. They were close to making their appearances, but I willed them not to with constant reassurances that these were faces that I would see again. Maybe not soon, but perhaps soon enough. (Sorry Le Shea you didn’t make me cry, but if it’s any consolation, I almost did.)
I really cannot thank all of you enough for the wonderful time I’ve had. As Min Hui said, it’s been a long journey, but it’s also been an amazing journey. I’m in a thanksgiving mood, so to all of you (yes, you, even you who’s reading this now) thank you, just for being a part of my life. (Special shoutouts to Effie, Ellie, Mei, Hanna, Farhanah, Sarah and even Elya and Kath for the happiness you’ve given me for the past month.)
These wonderful memories are forever carved in my mind, complete with the footsteps all of you have left in my heart. You have all played important roles in my life, and all of you will never be forgotten.
Now we own the night, and it can’t be undone, We’ll never forget how it feels to be young, Beause it will be forever mine, And it will be forever yours.
Dear post-internship Michelle, as you reread this (I know you will, because you [or rather, we because we’re actually the same person obviously] are extreme narcissists), I hope you had a fantastic time at Menara Star and that you did not regret a single thing. I hope you learned a thing or two to make your life infinitely better than it is right now. I also hope you do not come back with a “big city mentality”, as I like to call it, because who knows what a city as huge as Kuala Lumpur is able to do to you? Remember your roots. (I am beginning to sound like a Disney movie now, aren’t I?) And if you didn’t enjoy your time there (though I hugely doubt so), remember that you have a knack of finding certain joys in life from the littlest things, so don’t mope over what’s over and start…preparing for your Form 5 life.
Dear pre-internship Michelle, you’re right! I did go back through all my pre-internship blogposts just to see how much I’ve changed!
I just rewatched Charlie McDonnell’s Time Travel video again and I wish I could’ve time travelled to where you are at the current moment (tenses might not be accurate where time travelling is concerned…confusing business, this is) to tell you that you have nothing to worry about. Well, not exactly nothing, but in retrospect, you really were worrying too much.
Your hopes also came true: I did have a fantastic time. Safe to say, this is the best month I’ve ever had, despite the fact that yes, I was pretty much still an awkward and homesick kid the first two weeks I was here but you know how confusing and brain-meddling the world can be when it comes to regrets and memories. The best moments are always the last few moments you have, right before realising that the wonderful time you are having is coming to an end.
Yes, I would say my life has changed for the better. I (officially) have a true family whom I love very much. I have made new friends who are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met (I realise I’ve said this before in my previous post…WHO CARES, THEIR AWESOMENESS SHOULD BE EMPHASISED ALWAYS) and been to places where I’ve never thought I would set foot on in a million years. It’s like Tweens Camp and MCYDS all over again, except perhaps accelerated in intensity because it’s a month we’re talking about here, not a three days or a week.
As for having a “big city mentality”…well, I don’t think so. I mean, I just asked my aunt for RM 20 for shopping today and she stared at me weirdly before shoving RM 100 into my hands, saying that there’s nothing you can buy in KL with 20 bucks. About human relationships though, I can’t judge yet because I haven’t met anyone from Alor Setar yet. So…yeah.
With that over and done, let me tell you a little about the turning out of my post-internship depression today.
I woke up this morning at 7.30 (it’s becoming a habit) wishing desperately that I could get up and go to work. Predictably, flashbacks started to appear in my head and it was too much for me to bear so, despite being quite awake, I pulled my covers over my head and willed myself to shut everything up and just go back to sleep and not think anymore. Somewhere in there was a crazy moment when I just wanted to roll from the bed onto the floor to stop thinking.
I even dreamt about Ellora and Min Hui in two separate dreams. In the first dream, Ellora and I went to this parade event in town (said town looked like classical London) where I got myself a stalker so I had to stay in a hotel for a night to get rid of him. In the second dream, I met Min Hui three times at the same mall and I remembered thinking to myself, this is coincidental…or IS IT?
The depression could’ve gone on longer but thank God I had plans for the day. I had a meetup with Farhanah and Sarah at 1 PM so I had to force myself out of bed by 11 AM to get ready.
By the way, I had a fantastic time. We caught up during lunch at Food Republic and watched Arthur Christmas at GSC. But leaving was once again, reminiscent of all my post-event depressions and that was when I realised that most of my depressions revolve around the acknowledgement that I won’t be seeing these wonderful people ever again. So that’s it then, the core of my problem which I undoubtedly need to learn to face.
I would also like to clarify something in this post. Min Hui once asked me why I was so quiet on the Starstruck! 40 group wall all the time throughout the year, and I think I owe you Starstruck! guys an explanation of sorts.
At the beginning of the year, when I first found out I was selected as a Starstruck! writer, I made a decision: I was going to be the extroverted one this time around. So I started being active on all the topic threads, created a new thread to suggest names for Team B (Le Shea reminded me of this fact when she told me that I was the first Starstruck! person she spoke to on Facebook) and just…be as chatty and talkative as possible. At first it worked, but (I’m admitting something I’m disgusted of) I get bored easily and somewhere in March/April, I got busy with both curricular and co-curricular activities so my concentration shifted away from Starstruck. Hence, during the times when I frequented the group wall, I found you guys talking about stuff I don’t understand, and I realised that most (if not all) of you were already really close friends so I felt out of place and didn’t want to seem as if I was too desperate and started barging in or anything so I kept silent. Another reason why I kept to myself was sometimes, the assignments I sent in were done quite carelessly (especially when I was running out of time) and in a way, I felt guilty and didn’t want to visit the group wall out of guilt. So, yes. I also realise I might have come off as proud or arrogant that way, and I apologise. I really regret not spending more time with you guys because now, the time we’ve spent together just isn’t enough. I wished I was wise enough to realise that earlier on, but I’m foolishly ignorant most of the time so in your face, Michelle.
But to keep the optimism running, I promise not to dwell on the negative parts and rather relish the amazing moments we had together. You are all wonderful people and thank you for the joy you’ve brought into my life.
It’s the 19th of December. I’m back from the YNN camp, which also means that my stint here in KL is officially over.
No more waking up at 7.30 every morning to get ready for work. No more crossing the overhead bridge to walk over to Menara Star every morning. No more taking the lift to Level 3A or 5. No more flashing my tags to enter the respective editorial departments. No more assignments. No more rushing around to meet deadlines. No more eating at the cafeteria or Commons. No more laughing and goofing around with the other interns. No more waiting at the entrance of 11.45 Club at 5 every evening for Hoon Jie Jie to pick me up. No more…internship.
It’s become a part of my life for a month already so taking that away is kind of making the absence of it foreign now.
Judging by the intensity of my homesickness for the past month, it’s kind of a wonder that I feel sad to leave this place; you’d think I’d be glad and relieved to return home, but that’s just it. I’m awfully sad to leave this place, Menara Star and my new, amazing friends but I’m also incredibly happy to go home and meet my parents and basically just everyone in Alor Setar whom I haven’t seen in a month, and also to celebrate Christmas. These contradicting and conflicting emotions make my head hurt.
Human emotions, how do you work?
I’ve had a terrific time here. To be perfectly honest, there were times when I wanted to quit everything and just go home, times when I told myself that I’m not fit for this place, that the people here are too different for my liking. But then again, it’s not like I have a choice, do I? And most of the time, pleasant surprises turn up at random moments to alleviate the foreignness of it all. Friendships are formed, lessons are learned, and it’s these little things that make everything bad bearable, and sometimes even great. I’ve done things I’ve never thought I would have the guts to do and made friends with some of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Frankly, going home just seems quite bland and plain now compared to my initial zest.
I think the main thing that’s gotten me through the downs of the past month is my Starstruck! family. Min Hui’s so adorable and amazingly funny; Paik Suan’s jakun-ness is often an entertaining factor whenever we’re together and Claire’s so shy and precious and I quote Min Hui, “just like a little sister”. These three people were the ones I stuck to most of the time throughout the internship, so they’re almost like the sisters I’ve never had.
And also Ann-Marie, Ellora, Kyle, Ju Mei, Le Shea, Wee Nie and Amanda: for being such brilliant friends for the past few days; I wish we could’ve had more time together (one week is simply not enough).
It’s the post internship-cum-camp depression all over again. Yet again, I don’t want these wonderful memories to fade but I know they’ll dim down with time and there’s nothing I can do to prevent this so I’m just going to indulge in my memory archives while they’re still fresh in my mind.
I’m going to miss our Orlando-Bloom-lookalike stalking session, our Circle of Love, that infinite night at TGI Friday’s, that wonderful meeting in Warm Red, the overused “CEPUMAS” word in our vocabularies, the imitations of my Last Friday Night video everywhere I go and so many more. Thank you everyone, my entire Starstruck! family, Anne, Jeannette, everyone at the Newsdesk, Features and Education desk, San Ku and Hoon Jie Jie for making my one month here as great as it could possibly be. I could never ask for anything more than this. Thank you so much.
This post is kind of messy as are my emotions and feelings currently. I’m sorry.
I’m coming home on Friday a different and renewed person. Not entirely, but just enough.
PS. A page of the entire YNN Camp will be up soon under the ‘Journals’ tab. Watch out for it.
Monday was an off day for us from the first and second batch but the third batch, the Form 5 Starstruckers and Eibhlin still had to go to work (and they got to interview the author of Beautiful Creatures, Margaret Stohl! How is that fair!). The third batch consists of Amanda Ng, Ellora Chua, Ann-Marie Khor, Kyle Chan, Cheng Ju Mei, June Lee and Eibhlin Lim.
That morning, I saw Ann-Marie, Ju Mei, June and Eibhlin for the first time and that “OMG YOU GUYS ARE REAL PEOPLE AND NOT JUST FACEBOOK PROFILES” feeling returned. At around 11 AM, Anne made a sudden announcement that there would be a trip to Dewan Negara/Parliament that morning, but since me and most of the other interns weren’t in suitable attires for the Parliament, only Paik Suan, June and Eibhlin were granted permission to enter the building.
Minus the three of them, the 11 of us had lunch together at the cafeteria where we told them about our experiences so far and pretty much just laughed and joked around like old friends who hadn’t seen each other for years (well for some of them, it’s six months).
Then, we also found out astounding news about us from a very nice and professional senior journalist. Thank you, man, seriously.
Ellora, Kyle, June, Paik Suan and I were in Features that week, but since Kyle, June and Paik Suan made the first trip to the Parliament, Sharmilla (one of the editors at Features) gave Ellora and I an assignment to sort out entries for a book survey they did in The Star.
When June, Paik Suan and Eibhlin returned, Anne and Jeannette held a brief meeting at Level 3 and basic words simply cannot describe the laughfest and chaos that happened. Put 14 rambunctious teenagers with high sugar levels into one room and this is what you get:
The day pretty much went on like that, as we crazy interns, previously power of four now boosted to power of fourteen, etched our marks at Level 3A of Menara Star by being the high-spirited and energetic kids we are.
On that day, the remaining 10 of us (Amelia couldn’t turn up) got the chance to enter Parliament. It was a 10-minute ride there, and when we reached the building, we found out we had to hand over all electronic devices to security and leave all bags in a lockers (seriously) then only were we allowed to enter.
Min Hui was a “model” doing “catwalks” that day because she’d borrowed stilettos from Jeannette and had difficulty walking in them (“My feet are in pain,” said 16-year-old Lee Min Hui who, at a point, even took off her heels to run across a corridor to catch up with the others).
In the Parliament room, the “debate” that was going on while we entered was concerning the usage of BM in Malaysia and how English is overriding our national language even on road signs, billboards etc when the irony of it all was right in front of their faces– the clock on both sides of the room walls showed “11.57 AM, Wed, Dec”.
After that, it was a no-go for our attention spans and we found ourselves starting to fidget and whisper and pass notes and occasionally when my conscience kicked in guiltily, I would stop to focus on the speaker but realised it was the same ol’ nonsense they’ve been spewing for years, so I proceeded to tune them out and resume my fidgeting and whispering and passing of notes.
We left early because it was getting unbearable in there. Amanda, Ann-Marie and Min Hui left in a cab to continue their next assignment whereas the rest of us returned to Menara Star by the same van. Nothing much happened that day, but I managed to finish Sharmilla’s assignment as well as half of my personal story before going home.
That night, Paik Suan just had to remind me of the time we have left (five days) by posting this picture on Facebook:
Internship Day Seventeen- 15/12, Thursday
Today officially marks the last day of my internship, along with Paik Suan, Min Hui, Claire and Vincent because for the next four days, we’ll be joining a Young News Network camp in Pahang. Tomorrow’s the first day but we’ll only be leaving for 8 Acres (a campsite somewhere in the forest where, according to Yee Lisan, one of the people in charge of YNN, cannot be found even on Google Maps) on Saturday morning.
The previous day, Jeannette told us that there would be a photoshoot for the cover of the first issue of Stuff@School next year so that was the first thing on our agenda for the day. Only Ellora, Paik Suan, June, Kyle, Amanda, Min Hui and I were involved in the photoshoot because Jeannette didn’t want the cover to be too crowded.
(Photo will posted here once it’s out.)
After that, we had lunch and since I still had RM 50+ worth of coupons and it’s already my last day of internship, I belanja-ed everyone a bottle of Minute Maid and it felt awesome. Being nice is awesome. (Lol.)
After that, we went back to Level 3A and both Ellora and I were given a new assignment by Ann Marie Chandy (another editor) to search for a new theme for the Silver Scream section. In the end, we decided on Nicholas Sparks’ book-to-movie adaptations and I reviewed The Last Song (it was okay) and Dear John (it was not okay) whereas Ellora reviewed The Notebook and A Walk To Remember.
The first day of YNN officially starts tomorrow!
EDIT: This post was supposed to be published yesterday but this went down: I was halfway through this post when I suddenly felt something pressed against my chest and I found it hard to breathe and I started to panic as I shut everything down. I wanted to just forget it and maybe just sleep it away so I thought maybe I’ll just play Temple Run to calm my nerves for a while until I’m relaxed enough to go to sleep but the paranoid parrot in me kept reminding me of my pain and the possible outcomes of my ignorance, eg. a full-force pneumonia which would lead to death. I really, really thought I was going to die last night. It was frightening. The fact that San Ku and Hoon Jie Jie were both unwell and already asleep made things worse. However, in the end, I had to wake Hoon Jie Jie up anyway even though she was sick with a cough and flu (I’m so, so sorry) and she had to drive me to the emergency area at Damansara Specialist Hospital where they did a check up for me and told me I was okay but after consultation, the doctor said it was probably a normal case of acid reflex. So apparently, it’s all fine and dandy but I still needed to get an injection (three full syringes) which would be the first one I’ve had all year long.
But I’m fine and all that now. Just my paranoia making life harder again.
Tomorrow me and 30 other teenagers will be heading for Bentong, Pahang and you know what that means! No Internet! So I will be AWOL from the Internet universe for three days until I return in the evening of Monday.
Today has been amazing. I’m drafting it.
I also can’t believe that I’m leaving soon. Halfway through dinner, this realisation really hit me on the head with such force that nausea overwhelmed me for a moment before I forced those thoughts out of my head. I’m not exactly prepared for a post-internship depression period when I get home.
I spent my weekend with Soo May again. On Saturday, we went to The Curve where I finally completed my Christmas shopping. At night, we went to a Watch Awards show at Starhill Gallery and I saw Jimmy Choo and Sheila Majid with my own eyes!
After the event, we were stuck in a jam for an hour and missed X Factor. So we came home and watched Mean Girls until 2AM instead.
The next morning, we slept in late and after waking up, I watched The Lovely Bones. Hands down most tragic story ever. At 2PM, we attended the Piala Sri Endon Batik Competition at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre but left early because, well, it was boring. After all that, Soo May sent be back to San Ku’s house where a sudden change of plans happened: Sank Ku said I could go for the mini Starstruck! gathering at 1Utama. The gathering was held because the Form 5 Starstruckers had already arrived at KL and will be starting work tomorrow.
Seven out of twenty-three (right?) of us turned up: Alicia, Le Shea, Amanda, Wee Nie, Kyle, Ellora and I. When I met them, they were already halfway through dinner at New York New York Deli.
At New York New York Deli, this was what went down: when the bill came and everyone started to fork out their money to pay their part of the bill, chaos ensued (to quote Amanda, “We Starstruckers may be good at writing but we are certainly bad at math.” And also to quote Kyle, “This would make a good news article: The Woes of Eating Out With Teenage Friends.”) but it wasn’t until Kyle brought out his towers of coins that everyone started laughing. The reactions of the restaurant waiters were priceless. By the time we left the restaurant, they hadn’t even finished counting the coins yet. I think we were the loudest bunch in the restaurant.
After dinner, we went window shopping then had snacks at Chatime and Carls Jr. (where chaos also ensued during Amanda’s meat accident and Le Shea’s plea to the family at the table next to us to take a group photo of us; it seems that chaos ensue wherever we go) before everyone muttered their goodbyes and “see you”s. I’ve never felt so happy to be part of the Starstruck! family.
First day at Education Desk! This time, Min Hui and Claire were switched to Features Desk and Paik Suan (who was originally at Business Desk) and I to Education Desk. On that day, the second batch of Starstruck! writers arrived: Alicia Nicholle and Amelia Henderson. Both of them plus Vincent were at Newsdesk.
The day before, Chelsea (The OC of Edu Desk) had already given me assignments through email which is interviewing three mothers for easy and healthy recipes to be published in the Smart Snacks column. I interviewed Mum, Ju Mei (not a mother, I know, but a teenager which makes it better because the recipes are supposed to be for young students and undergrads who er…don’t know how to cook) and Min Hui’s mum.
Nothing eventful happened for the day. (I define “eventful” as going out for assignments.) However, these two events did happen:
#1. Jeannette asked if I wanted to do a book review for Write Reads in Stuff@School and I said yes, so I chose Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi because Harper Collins had tweeted about the newly released book and I wanted to find out if it was as good as the people at Harper Collins had said (hint: no). Later, my spirits rose when I found out I could keep the book! Astounding news!
#2. All four of us, Min Hui, Paik Suan, Claire and I had a huge laughfest. I don’t really want to talk about the main reason that caused the laughfest because despite it being a laughfest, it was actually quite er…controversial. But it was Paik Suan (supposedly the leader of the Circle of Hate which subsequently changed into the Circle of Love) who started the passionate and heated debate which brought tears to her eyes (“Those were tears from laughing too hard! Seriously! I have really, really sensitive eyes!”), and then the laughfest heightened with the appearance of a scary Claire-lookalike and then heightened even more when I introduced Min Hui to the existence of a particular Harry Potter fanfic (snigger) and we couldn’t stop laughing for about half an hour. I realise that we were once again nuisances to everyone on the floor and I sincerely apologise.
Highlights of the laughfest through tweets:
"This is a Circle of Love, right from my heart." "Aw I love you." *awkward silence* #starstruckatstar
The day at the office was uneventful too, and I spent the whole day finishing up my first email mythbuster article and coming up with a topic for my personal story. Sitting next to Paik Suan (who was typing away ceaselessly on the computer) made me feel like the worst and most unproductive procrastinator ever. Thanks, Paik Suan.
We also found out Jeannette and Anne were designing Starstruck! T-shirts for us Starstruckers! Brilliant!
That night, with In The Mourning constantly on repeat, I had to crop an image of a cockroach by its borders (not a very entertaining activity for a katsaridaphobe like me) for my email mythbuster article and safe to say, it was the most traumatizing experience I’ve ever had to endure ever since I came to KL.
(Curious about aforementioned traumatizing picture? Click here!)
Internship Day Twelve- 7/12, Wednesday
Our assignment for the day was to attend the Memorandum of Cooperation Signing Ceremony between KDU University College and ECM Libra Foundation. Both companies were collaborating to to provide a bursary and loan scheme to underprivileged children in developing towns. It was an interesting ceremony, to be fairly honest, contrary to the fact that it was described as “dry and boring” before we left for the assignment. But you know the real thrilling treat of the day?
We had lunch at this prestigious and high-class Italian restaurant called Pietro and…
Wait for it…
…it was free!
Free, delicious, four-coursed, Italian gourmet food that made Paik Suan and I gasp at each other in awe and amazement after taking a bite of each dish. The first course was a round of antipasti (an Italian appetizer of bread with various dishes such as black peppered vegetables, cubed cheese, fresh prawns, fried squid etc) which was, truthfully, a new experience for me. The second round was mushroom soup so glorious and heavenly it left me begging for more. The third course was a huge plate of chicken steak and pasta which was, admittedly, too large a portion but was still delizioso. The last course was the best of all: creamy, vanilla gelato with strawberries. The sweet vanilla ice cream blended with the fresh, sour taste of strawberries which led to a divine explosion in my mouth.
We both agreed it was the best lunch we’ve ever had since November 21st.
The company was good, too! Big names from KDU UC were fascinated that we were only sixteen years old and already working. Words like “scholarship” and “internship” were thrown around fairly often in our conversations and we both knew we’d schmoozed with the right kind of people. It was great.
Internship Day Thirteen- 8/12, Thursday
When I first started this internship, I never dreamt of the day when my assignment would actually involve a trip to a book carnival. Well, guess what?
My assignment on Day Thirteen was a trip to the MPH Carnival at Midvalley! Brillante!
When we got there, the place was already brimming with people. There was no space to move between shelves and the queues at the counters were formidable. Although, admittedly, the carnival proved to be quite a disappointment. The book choices were few and the discounts only went up to 25%. We couldn’t even use our complimentary MPH book vouchers (yes, we got complimentary MPH book vouchers). But in the end, I bought The Hobbit as well as the entire set of Lord of the Rings for…
Wait for it…
…forty bucks only.
Granted, it was exactly like the one I already have but forty bucks.
“I had to buy it,” said 16-year-old Michelle Teoh’s obsessive compulsive disorder.
Anyway, we attended the official launch, then proceeded to our second assignment which involved another round of ambushing random people. This time, the ambushees were parents. We were doing a story on parents’ budgets to prepare their kids for next year, and to find out if the RM100 money aid was useful. (To be truthful, non è stato.)
Then came the worst episode of the day: waiting for a cab. When we saw the long queue at the taxi pick-up and also the rain, our spirits dropped instantaneously. Safe to say, from the moment we waited for a cab, took a cab, waited in a cab in a traffic jam to the moment we reached Menara Star, two hours were wasted, just like that. And that is why I will never, ever, ever want to live in KL.
We were exhausted by the time we reached the office and yet we had an 800-word article to churn out. However, my spirits were lifted mildly when we found out there was a Christmas buffet for the staff! It’s wonderful when these little unexpected joyful surprises pop up to add a little colour to your dull day: it’s one of those I-believe-in-the-existence-of-unicorns moments once again.
Later, we found out from Anne that there was even a group of staff from Sunway Resort Hotel who did some caroling at Menara Star! They were also the ones who’d sponsored the Christmas buffet. There was turkey, cinnamon rolls, sugar cookies, fruitcakes and candycanes. It was brilliant. I’ve never been more excited for Christmas.
Internship Day Fourteen- 9/12, Friday
We headed for 1Utama at 11.30 AM to continue our parents-ambushing assignment. After that, I stole a few minutes at MPH to spend my MPH vouchers. I bought Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Hence, that would be nine books plus one huge LOTR book set I’m lugging back to Alor Setar. Simply fantastico, Michelle.
I just finished Shatter Me. If you’re planning to pick up that book, don’t. Reading that book literally made me nauseous.
Things to look forward to: meetup with Farhanah and Sarah in the morning at 1Utama on Sunday, meetup with all the Starstruckers in the evening at 1Utama on Sunday, arrival of the Form 5 Starstruckers on Monday and the YNN workshop on Friday.
It astounds me how time flies so quickly. I only have a week left.