Finally, one eye-opening term has come to an end. Took me long enough as everyone else was already way ahead with the fact that they began their long winter holiday last week. With the end of the Proteins and Enzymes test at 3:14 pm on Friday, my winter break has officially begun. Now, as I lay back lazily on my chair and contemplating the long chilly nights ahead, I finally had the 'strength' to post on this 'cobweb filled blog'. To any followers of my blog, I apologise for the long delay but I hope this will more than make it up to you.
Coming here in the first place was a big decision to make. For anyone who has been stalking me or just interested in knowing more about my situation, you might think that the choice was obvious as to which option was I about to take in determining my future.
Option A: Stay with Khazanah and study locally with the promise of being provided with the highest allowance around.
Option B: Accept JPA's offer and get the lowest allowance available for living in London
When deciding which one to take, I was caught in a real dilemma. For one, the fact that I may have to repay everything that I got for the past 2 years of my education was honestly one of the things that made me think back not just twice but even more than that. Then, there comes the additional benefits of sticking with Khazanah as I am entitled to even more of the self educating experiences offered. However, in the end, my dream of graduating in the United Kingdom was too much of strong pull for me. JPA's offer came at a time when I believed everything was lost. Then, on 1005 aboard flight MH004 on the 22nd of September, I was off to the promised land...
London, a city built some 2 milennia ago as the Romans gained their foothold in the nation called England. It was known as Londinium back then and has since grown into one of the most well known cities in the world. For dear old, big London, I was a mere speck amidst all the other 8 million people here. For me on the other hand, it's gonna be a place I would call home for the next 3 years, InsyaAllah. As expected, like Kuala Lumpur is to Pokok Sena, London is exactly what I had in mind. I expected everything to be relatively expensive and I was not wrong in my guess. A fine example would be how a glass of cincau and soy bean would cost around 1.80 ringgit, the same price can be seen here...just don't try converting it back into ringgit. Places of interest are a plenty like Big Ben, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and of course the ever profitable London Eye. Overall, very nice place to visit, a pocket-boring place to live in. ( For your information, I pay 124 pounds for accomodation...per week!)
The weather? Well, obviously it is almost nothing like in Malaysia. For one, you don't get the same sunshine all year round, believe me. In winter, expect temperatures to range between -3 and 1 degrees Celcius in which on any given day with the right conditions, snow (yes,that white stuff that regularly gets associated with freezing temperatures) will be there too. Then, there's the question of having short hours of daylight with the reverse happening in summer. Luckily for us, a happy chap called Benjamin Franklin invented Daylight Saving to help us maximize our sunny time here. Genius he is...
What else...oh yeah! The university of course! UCL, as some of you probably know by now is ranked the 4th best university in the world (a fact the Imperial students take rather bitterly...) Anyway, besides being the first secular university in the UK, it takes pride in having one of the most diverse mix of ethnics in one institute of education which is clearly visible from the number of languages spoken here. You name it, we will most probably have it...Needless to say, the amount of work we are subjected to here is amazing especially the Electrical Engineering dudes.Just a small thing lacking though. The fact that we are a secular institute makes it impossible to have our request for a praying room certified. Instead, we have to resort to having a small room (really, really small room) as our prayer room...and this bring me to my next point.
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. I find this quote very true indeed as here, I have learned things regarding my faith that I never knew before. Enclosed back in Malaysia in a single 'mazhab' environment, I find the other ways of practising Islam as a real eye opener. Besides that, I have never before encountered such difficult conditions to perform our obligations. For example, taking your ablution with ice cold water is not easy and lest I forget, praying in very cramped up conditions is hardly any more comfortable. Yet, it is here that I begin to learn the real meaning of living as an ummah. Brothers and sisters of the same faith act as if you know each other for years even if you've just met like 3 minutes ago. Alhamdulillah, I find that this is the best opportunity for me to further understand Islam and be a better person, InsyaAllah....
For the first time in my life, I am literally living alone. I will no longer have any form of financial support from my parents, no-one is going to take care of my welfare and of course this includes cooking. I will not lie, I am a terrible cook mark my words. Cooking rice with plain fried chicken is the most common menu in my weekly diet, for the very simple reason that I can barely cook any other type of food well enough to taste good. Needless to say, there were a number of cooking disasters on my part but as usual I'll just laugh at it and learn from it. Mum told me to help out in the kitchen often, I should have listened. Hehe... :P
Now, I am literally living up my dream. A dream which began 12 years ago and will hopefully be complete in the next 3 years. I have been thrown 70 meters above the ground here, I have lived the experience of being in Emirates stadium, I have also witnessed my home in Birmingham for which I spent nearly 2 years of my childhood...now, I am ready. Ready to prove myself once and for all that I am a somebody. With God's will, this I will achieve...Cheers everyone and enjoy your holidays! :)