Day 1 [KL-NJ] The Longest Day Of My Life

THIS ENTRY IS A CHRONICLE TO THE LONGEST DAY OF MY LIFE (35 hours and 50 minutes to be exact), and I hope I can manage to write all the interesting tidbits without becoming the longest entry of the blog. Why the longest you ask? After departing Kuala Lumpur in the morning, and after the 22 hours on the plane, I’ll arrive New York the very same day in the evening. With the Program Anti-Jet Lag on the go, I did not get much sleep the previous night, hoping to get some catch up on the plane (which I can assure you that this is like a fairy tale that never becomes reality). So, while I write this, you may find me mumbling away, with no spell checks whatsoever, but please bear with me and finish the whole thing (pretty pretty please)
While awaiting my 22 hour flight to New York, I sat on the boarding gate, watching Ugly Betty, just to get into the high fashion extravaganza mood I’ll be getting used to in New York. On board, I find the plane to be very spacious, and I got myself first class seats (two seats in one), with no surplus charges. (Actually I just moved myself into the empty seats in front of me). Even with the extra leg room, I find it almost impossible to get a shut-eye session of more than an hour. Feeling kinda frustrated, I quickly turned my concentration into watching all those In-Demand Movies (yippee!). Nevertheless, I eventually found a place which I felt most comfortable and it involves two seats, two pillows, one blanket, one inflatable U-shaped pillow and lots of practice.

I met a Bangladeshi man in his early twenties, Palash, who was so damn lucky to get a lottery visa which allows him to become the American citizen as magical as a fairy godmother with a wave of her wand. I can see that he is homesick but anxious and excited at the same time, but I am glad that he is going to get to live the American Dream, which is regarded as a great opportunity to many. As for me, I do not know if I am willing to give up my Malaysian citizenship if there is a chance, I am somewhat loyal and patriotic…

ON THIS LONGEST DAY OF MY LIFE, I realized how different the world can be. While flying over all those countries (so many exotic ones that their names can never be pronounced correctly). During the transit in Stockholm, Sweden, I noticed how their trees look so different from ours. Almost all houses have walls painted in dark brick-red, and the weather is 12 degrees Celsius during summer. The airport is pretty, very Ikea-ish, and all those signboards never failed to remind me that I’m far away from home. (They even have these Beijing Olympics posters to show support). It is amazing how travel can open up our minds, so much that I feel enlightenment on this very first day of my journey.

MANY MANY HOURS CAME ALONG, and time sure crawls like a snail when you are on the plane. But alas, the plane landed safely at Newark airport, and lucky me went through the customs as easy as a breeze. The good thing about this scholarship my school gave me is that they even asked local New York Tzu Chi commissioners to help with our accommodation and stuff. When I came out the arrival hall, I’m pleasantly surprised to see a certain Aunt Hui-Ru whom I know from the Guizhou trip two years ago. The dentist Tzu Chi aunt then informed me that I’ll be staying at her New Jersey home for the night, before bringing me to my other home stay aunt’s house in Flushing tomorrow. She said it is abduction, cool!

I’ve heard a lot of things about NJ, with people saying that the view of Manhattan is most spectacular from the other side; and that this state is packed with gigantic shopping malls; and being the Garden State, it is supposed to be beautiful and clean. I guess what they say is all correct, and I proved them all with my own eyes. Aunt Hui-Ru lives in suburbia. Remember those beautiful houses you see on Desperate Housewives? Ya, she owns one of those. Here’s some of the photos I took… (A big front yard, there’s a garage, and a beautiful lawn at the back) Not only did I find the houses big here in NJ, the diner she brought me to that night confirmed that American food comes in large servings.

WHILE TYPING THE ENDINGS TO THIS ENTRY, I sat on the guest bed, recalling all the sensory input I received during my first and longest day of my journey. To tell you the truth, I can’t seem to sleep well, even after all that exhaustion. Maybe the Anti-Jet Lag program isn’t working, or because I had too much to digest for one day. But in the end, I guess I’ll have to get used to this, because as you all know, with the craziness of New York awaiting me, this ‘longest’ day may even fall short on spontaneity.

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