KL and Kuantan

Hello my dears!

I want to start off by saying I miss you all and am starting to feel very far away. That being said, I am making some wonderful friends. I am slowly picking up Bahasa Malaysia (BM) the national language of Malaysia through lessons and trial and error, and am having a great time exploring this beautiful country. This post recaps the rest of orientation in Kuala Lumpur (KL), and Kuantan. Tomorrow I leave for my placement and Monday I start school!

A photo of the students we worked with at a school in KL. As you can see, the boys and girls in this photo are separated. In areas that are predominantly Muslim Malay, there is little to no cross-gender touching in public places.
A pond with fish in between buildings at the school in KL!

For the second half of orientation in KL we had several speakers talk to us about race, religion, politics, the environment, and teaching (to name a few). We also completed our first English Camp at schools in KL. My camp theme was regions of the U.S. and I led the Los Angeles station where we had students walk the red carpet and play games.

The entrance to Batu Caves in KL. To go inside, you walk up the colorful stairs that were recently painted. Inside, there is a Tamil shrine.

In my free time in KL I went to the Batu Caves, a helipad bar, held a Bachelor watch party, and explored several night markets (among other things). Kuala Lumpur has some seriously baller food — very spicy though! I went out to eat banana leaf Indian food with my BM teacher, ate amazing Pakistani food, and had a ladies night at this amazing Japanese restaurant named Fook. During every meal I am reminded that access to clean drinking water and fresh vegetables is an enormous privilege. Overall, pretty much everyday is a major privilege check…as it should be because I am incredibly privileged!

Soon after we arrived at the school in Kuantan, we were greeted with a martial arts performance. It was nothing like I have ever seen before! We took a group photo after because photos are EVERYTHING in Malaysia.
Some Pahang ladies holding our bunga telur gifts. I realize that I look like a flaming cheeto while wearing my neon orange baju kurung but #yolo.

I am currently in Kuantan, Pahang with about forty other ETA’s. Yesterday we went to schools in Kuantan and taught two lessons. We got to the school and walked a red carpet lined with students and teachers drumming. Then, during the welcoming ceremony three boys performed martial arts for us. Gabrielle (my future roommate) and I taught a form five class, and then all the Pahang ETAs taught the form one students “We Are The World,” the “Cupid Shuffle,” and made a music video…a great time all around! Form one students are about the equivalent of eighth graders and are just beginning to learn English, while form five students are the equivalent of high school seniors.

The students were so sweet and smart. When I was getting on the bus to leave they asked me for my autograph, my IG, and to take selfies…fame is hard. Gifts are big here, the school gave us a gift bag with a plastic flower and hard boiled egg attached to it (bunga telur) said to bring fertility, as well as notebooks and key chains. Later that afternoon, we met our mentors and then played a murder mystery game with the other ETAs.

Rainbow Falls! This picture in no way does this place justice!
Panorama sunrise view! It was a real climb to get to…but so worth it.
We were stranded in Sungai Lembin after the hike but we found this beautiful river and meditated there for a while.
The beach at Teluk Cempeduk. There were monkeys behind me so I had to take this photo quickly!

Kuantan is MAGICAL! We had two days off and we went all in. One day we woke up at 4:30am and hiked to the top of a mountain to see the sunrise, and then went to the beach. The next day, we woke up early again and went off roading and hiking to a rainbow waterfall and then went to the beach for more swimming and dancing. Nature is so healing. However, the next day I got food poisoning during one of our sessions and it really sucked.

My future roommate and I wearing baju kurungs!

I have been placed in the Bera district of Pahang, in a small, rural, majority Malay school in major palm oil territory. I know what you are thinking…they would put Clare in palm oil country 😉 I am excited to learn more about this complex issue and meet some palm farmers. Tomorrow my roommate Gabrielle and I will move into our house. I am feeling very anxious and overwhelmed, but excited. I cannot wait to meet everyone and finally open up my new Dr. Bronner’s and nest.

Thank you for reading!

Love, Clare

ClareAbouts is not an official U.S. Department of State publication, and the views and information presented in this blog are entirely my own, and do not represent the Fulbright U.S. Student Program or the U.S. Department of State or the Fulbright Commission or Malaysia.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Penny V says:

    Cool, Clare! What a great experience. Thx for sharing it with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rob Mark says:

    Sounds great. Keep taking it in!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan Schacht says:

    Awesome!!!III’m so proud of you! Love you and miss you! Zuzu

    Liked by 1 person

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