Monday, March 21, 2011

Three ASEAN Women

(First Saturday November 2010)

The unexpected email

I woke up early in the morning. It is an unusual Saturday for me to wake up early. I have made a promise with Par to attend a football tailgate party with other international students at ICC. My university American football team, the Tigers will play Alabama University. All Tigers fans including Red Alabama fans will gather and tailgate around my university compound. The Tailgate party is a social event before going into the stadium. Fans will set up their camps or tailgate vehicles. They will consume alcoholic beverages or mixed drinks, grill of various meat products, dance, interact with other fans and play tailgate games during the tailgating session. It is like a large BBQ gathering for all Tigers fans. Thinking of BBQ, my stomach starts making noises. I open my bedroom door, and I see Par is in the living room. Her hair is still wet from her bath.

“Dency, aren’t you going to take your bath?” She asks in her low-deep Thai accent.

“Nope, it’s cold this morning. I want to go to the kitchen to get a drink. What’s time now?”

“Ah, almost 10 am. We must be faster. We will be late.” I smile at her and assure her not to be in rush as there will be plenty of food at the ICC Tailgating gathering.

Par or her real name is Apaporn, has been my housemate for almost a month. She found me through the ICC website. I still remember the day I received an unexpected email from her.

Hi friend,

I am a female ELOP student from Thailand. Now, I am staying in my cousin's house, and I want to move out as soon as possible. If you still wanted to have a roommate, please let me know via email.

Thank you in advance.


I almost forgot that I did advertise my empty bedroom in ICC. I did not expect that a female international student would search for a room in the middle of the semester. I wondered who she was. Without further ado, I replied her email and asked her to call me back. Less than five hours, I received her phone call.

“Hi my name is Apaporn. I am happy to know that you are still looking for a room-mate.” She slowly talked to me.

“Yes, I’m still looking for a room-mate.” I replied her back.

“Are you free this afternoon? I want to see the room. I would like to come at 3 pm.” She was so interested to see the room.

“Ah, I’m not free as I have a class this evening from 1 to 5 pm. You do not mind to come tomorrow at the same time.” I was hoping she could make it.

“Yea, I will come. I finish my class after 2.30 pm. Dency, may I ask you, where are come from?”

“I’m from Malaysia. Your country neighbor.”

“Isn’t? Wah, I’m so glad to hear that. Dency, I cannot talk longer to you as I need to save my phone credit. I see you tomorrow. Thank you so much. You have brightened my day today.” I could imagine that she was smiling after knowing that I am from Malaysia.

“You are welcome.” Once I ended my sentence, I heard a long beep, meaning she already pushed the stop-calling button.

The next day, I went back to my apartment before 2.30 pm. Almost 3 pm, I heard someone knocked on my door. It must be her. I opened my apartment door, and I saw a woman wearing a pair of spectacles and carrying a small blue backpack. Immediately, I knew she must be Apaporn, the student from Thailand.

“Are you Dency?” Apaporn wanted to confirm with me, and I said yes to her.

I mentioned about my empty bedroom and showed the way to her future room. Besides that, I showed the bathroom and kitchen. Once she looked around, she said she would move in by next week. I was terrified to hear the news. She did ask about the spare key of my apartment, and I explained to her that she must first register herself as my housemate at the Resident Apartment Office. I brought her to the office. There we met the person in charge. After filling certain forms, Apaporn managed to get her apartment key on that day also. Everything was so fast. I could not believe that I had a housemate on that day. God was so good to me. I thanked for Him for the thing He had done for me.

Outside of the office, we briefly introduced ourselves. I found out that, she enrolled in an English preparation class. She is trying her luck to get a place for her to do PhD in the United States of America. She had been in the States for almost two weeks. Before she found me, she had met an African female student that also looking for a housemate. However, she was not comfortable with the male friend of the African student, hence prompted her to try to find another housemate. I asked her age, and finding out that she is two years older than I am. I asked her whether she could be my big sister, and she did not mind me to be her friend and her little sister.

Another ASEAN female student

“Are you ready, Dency?” Par pats me from behind.

“Ah Par, sorry I want to make my drink, but I was dreaming. Never mind, I can have a cup of coffee in ICC.” I apologize to Par.

“I called my friend. She is coming with us. She is waiting for us now. I want to see her first in her apartment. When you are done, call me, and we meet outside of the first gate.” Par tells her plan.

I just nod my head, agreeing. Then, she goes out and leaves me behind. I walk straight into the bathroom to wash my face and fix my hair. Once I have done, I call Par, and she asks me to meet her outside of the gate. I walk to the front gate and meet her there. I see another woman standing next to Par. I guess she must be Par’s friend. Par introduces her friend to me.

“Dency, this is Lukna. She is from my country. She is an exchange PhD student here. Lukna this is Dency.” I smile at Lukna, and she smiles back at me. Par smiles at both of us knowing three of us can be good friends.

On the way to the ICC, we talk about our life as students in the foreign country. We exchange our views and experiences of being foreign students. We laugh, smile and pour our sadness thinking of our families back home. I am glad that I met Par and Lukna. Even though, both of them are not from the same country as me, but there is a bond between three of us. It could be due that, we are from the ASEAN countries, and we share many similarities in our cultures. The whole day, we enjoy experiencing the American tailgating event, and meeting other international students from other countries.


Tia said...

hmmm..... even my hubby yang pegi seminar oversea also will click with ASEAN participants.... bau sama kali ndak, serumpun lah katakan...hahahah

a lot of smile in that pic...nice.

sintaicharles said...

I'm glad that you have found a house-mate. It's a blessing to have friends from ASEAN.

Coffee Girl said...

In a world so big, even meeting someone from the same continent gives you a sense of being at home. In Kuching, you'd call yourself a Bauan/Siburanian. In Malaysia, you'd call yourself a Sarawakian. In Asia, you'd call yourself a Malaysian. Across the universe, you'd be an Asian. :-) Good to know you're being taken care of, dayung.

Wan Sharif said...

Glad to know you have friends to share your joy and God forbid.. sorrow..

willie a.k.a reptoz said...

Uhhh very much of American party. Hahaha! And I hope your roommate is good to you. all the best yeah? As roommate especially when you guys of different nationality.

And the photos? Wah...the two of them are tall....

Anonymous said...

That was a frankly great blog post.