Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The melting pot at 47CJR...

It has been six months. Six months of me staying at this flat – and I realized that I have never really talked about my flat-mates! Alright – maybe in one of my postings in March, and also a mention in passing in one of my earlier entries.

I have to say that over the past six months, I have got to know them better, and they are not a bad lot at all…I guessed I learnt to just accept the different ways they look at life (coming from four different countries!), the different ways they let loose (mainly by going pub-crawling), the different ways they wash their dishes (normally once in three days!) and the different ways they clean up the kitchen and their rooms (if they ever do, that is!)…. and I feel that today is a good day for me to write about them.

You see – yesterday was my birthday, and two of my flat-mates, Paulette and Eva, threw a small BBQ dinner do for me and another flat-mate, Jani who had her birthday on 5th May (she just came back yesterday from a field trip in Phuket, by the way). And I was touched because they went all out to get vegetarian sausages, burgers, and pizzas for the BBQ because they knew that I’m a Moslem, and that I don’t take anything that comes off the meat/poultry shelves from TESCO, or ASDA (and other hypermarkets of any sorts). And last night they did not consume wine or any other alcoholic drink as they normally would during previous BBQs…

The BBQ was just for the four of us as our fifth flat-mate, Kat is now in Birmingham undergoing a work placement as part of her Masters Degree requirement. But, when it was time for the cake-cutting ceremony (or rather a Giant Cookie for Jani, and nine pieces of diabetic chocolates for me!), Kat joined in via Paulette’s mobile – to sing the Birthday Song for Jani and I...

I thought that was really sweet of them…But, I knew they would not enjoy the vegetarian quorn BBQ as much as they would have enjoyed a proper carnivorous meal, and so I just dumped some Halal chicken sausages onto the disposable BBQ pit, which made everybody happy(ier?) ….And I guessed they, too, must have thought – “Aaaawwwhhhh… that was really sweet of Sharina…” Hahaha!

Anyway, a bit on my flat-mates.

Paulette hails from Toronto, Canada – and is one of the sweetest and friendliest girls that I have ever met. She’s 28 years old - pursuing a Masters Degree in Heritage Management at the University of Newcastle (her second Masters actually), and she’s the one who tells me which websites I should surf to get good TV programmes and movies whenever she sees that I’m in need of double dose of entertainment when I’m all stressed out. She has been going out (on and off) with Paul (a Greek guy) - a junior doctor at QE Hospital. She spends her weekend, either at Paul’s, or if she’s at the flat – baking. And boy, can she bake! She once baked a huge loaf of farm bread for us, and there were other times when she baked Cherry Strudels, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies, to name a few. Suffice to say, I now know how bake some of the cookies – which is a miracle, because those who know me would agree when I say that baking and I – we just don’t go together!

Eva is a 25 year old Taiwanese lass – very sweet, demure and soft-spoken, and I think the one I get along best amongst my flat-mates. She reminds me of those petite Hong Kong movie stars who always act in those sad love stories. Eva is pursuing a Masters Degree in Translation and Interpretation (Chinese-English), and it is funny when sometimes when I pass her room, I could hear her talking to herself, practicing and honing her interpreting skills in front of her notebook. She has a French beau by the name of Yves, who, unfortunately, had just left for Japan for a one-year job-stint there. Most of the time, when Eva is at the flat, she would be on Skype with Yves. And sometimes, late at night when I see her online on my YM, I would buzz her and we would chat for a bit on our YM – which is pretty funny considering our rooms are barely 5 feet away from each other!

Jani is a 26 year old Singaporean-Indonesian girl who is a marine biologist by training, now pursuing her Masters Degree in Marine Management. She’s going out with an English guy named Robin, who happens to be Paulette’s and Kat’s course-mate. I have to say that Jani is the loudest amongst the lot, and the most happy-go-lucky girl I’ve ever come across in the whole 39 years of my life! She is someone whom I would share most of the hot Malaysian dishes that I cook, and it gives me such great satisfaction when I see her devour whatever food I offer her. The way she would sigh and roll her eyes when she tastes my cooking (which she says reminds her of home), you would think that I was Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Floyd – all rolled in one! Hahaha!

Kat is a 24 year old American – from Denver, Colorado. I could still remember the first time I met her, I thought – “Wow…she’s tall!”. She is – she stands at 5’10” and she would be the one who would reach up the top of our lockers whenever we need the tin foil, or the cling films or the other stuffs which we keep up there! I think I only started warming up to her when I saw a paper cutting which she pasted on the wall in her room which read – “BUSH IS CRAP”. I felt so endeared to her after that! She’s now undergoing a placement in Birmingham as part of her Masters in Art Management Degree, staying with Ed, her English boyfriend. She comes back to Newcastle every now and then for short visits, but she calls Paulette nearly everyday! I guessed her Birmingham flat-mate is no fun to live with?

And then, there’s me. I guessed some of you somewhat know me. But, one thing which I’m sure you are not aware of is that - while Canadian Paulette is going out with Greek Paul, Taiwanese Eva – with French Yves, Singaporean Jani – with English Robin, and American Kat – with English Ed, to add colours to the varieties, I (Malaysian me!) am now going out with a hunk of an Italian boyfriend (a James Franco look-alike) named Fabio…..(Hahaha! Just kidding, Ayah…just kidding!) Winks* Phew….

Hmmm…It has been a pretty interesting 6 months for me - living with these young girls, and I know that I will miss them when I go back home in June. But, it’s good to know that I will have a place to stay and friends to show me around if I were to visit Canada, Taiwan, Singapore, or The U.S of A with Ayah and the kids one of these days, Insya Allah…

Being in a melting pot, wherever you are, is not a bad thing at all when you stay true to yourself, your identity, your values and your beliefs, while respecting and accepting those of others…

Wassalam…

34 comments:

Keanorlinsya said...

So lively and multi racial! Jealous!

WANSHANA said...

Kea,

Hmmm...there's no need to feel jealous, dear ;)

Yes - it is a good experience, and yes - it is nice to know that I have friends in different parts of the world.

But, sometimes it can be nerve-wrecking and awkward, too - especially when I try to understand their way of life. It is just something that I continuously have to work on.

Then again, I know that they probably feel the same about my way of life, too. So, it's a matter of give and take.

And we have to give and take EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE we go, anyway - even back home in Malaysia, right?

And the thing that you have to realize is that Malaysia IS the best melting pot around!

Take care, dear.

Keanorlinsya said...

I agree, completely!

MINAH CELOTEH said...

phew...I tink this would be the most tiring entry I have read from you. Panjang pun panjang jugak...dah tu nak kena kenal 4 org at 1 go...or was it 5 *terkerok kerok*

Ayah said...

What??!! Fabio???!!!

;p

WANSHANA said...

Kea -

Good on you, girl! Malaysia is the best!

Minah celoteh -

Kan I dah kata - I kalau tulis, tak cukup kertas kajang! Hahahaha!
(I needed two break sessions to finish the piece, by the way)

Hmmm...so, you can imagine how 'fenin' it was for me when I first arrived here - got all the names mixed up, and to make matters worse, I also had to make sure I knew, who was was going out with who, etc. (and their boyfriends all looked the same to me the first few weeks I was here!)

WANSHANA said...

Ayah,

Fabio = Nama manja...

His real name is Fabuloso...

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Theta said...

Sounds like an eclectic mix of personalities! And so nice of them to cater to your 'dietary' preferences...Their worldviews are definitely not limited to their geographical boundaries and cultural backgrounds. Wish I could say the same about my roommates many years ago!

Great blog you have here!

Take care.....

WANSHANA said...

Dear Theta,

Thank you - for visiting, and for the kind words on my ramblings ;D

I think you have a great blog, too! Your posting on your Mom is particularly heartwarming. She sure is one very strong and special lady. And your Baby Sadia is so gorgeous!

Yes, my flat-mates turned out to be an okay lot after all (although I have to say that it was quite a headache for me initially - not just because of the differences in culture and values, but also because of the age gap!)

I think they now look at me as their "surrogate" mom of sort - who tidies up the kitchen, vacuums the hallway, and cooks for them whenever she (moi) tries to find excuses NOT to do her (PhD)work!Winks*

Take care, Theta.

And thanks again for visiting. Do drop by again.

Mahariz said...

i was googling haizal (dont ask why - i was bored!) and i came upon this blog of yours. how's life in newcastle? i told haizal to ring me the next time he comes over but i may still be in KL then. this is mine - 無秩序の胃

-kudo

WANSHANA said...

Dear Kudo,

Thanks for visiting. Checked your blog - fuyooo...it rocks! (YOU ROCK!) Hahaha!

Do you mind if I create a link to it, please?

Anyway, the guy you googled will be here in 8 days time, insya Allah.

Take care!

P/S : Heard you were bundled into the boot, and were threatened with a shotgun, and could not say "NO" to the "Googlee" and N** when they "forced" you to go to K*%#&^@? the other day? Hahaha! Yeah, right...

Anonymous said...

Google away, bro... U found me via my wife...it's kinda pleasantly bizarre.

I'll be in Ncle next week (yippee...!!!). If ever u r in the vicinity, give me a shout, yah?

MINAH CELOTEH said...

"Fabio" = "Fabuloso" !!!

LOL...that's a good one!

WANSHANA said...

Dear Minah Celoteh,

Hehehehe... ;D

Ibu said...

I MISS YOUR BIRTHDAY !!! Sorry.... saw the bday shout from the gang.

Happy Birthday dear! How do u say that in Italian? hahaha...

p/s Patutlah pandai buat sphagetti prawn olio tu eh? now we know....

WANSHANA said...

No problemo, amico mio...

Grazie!

"Happy Birthday" in Italiano e "Buon Compleanno".

De Spaghetti Olio - mia altro boyfreno - Colino Firtho, taught me one...

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

shana,
great bunch u have there in yr flat.

take care.

WANSHANA said...

K.Ena,

Yes. But, as great as they may be, nothing beats being around my "kawan-kawan yang tak berkembang" a.k.a my "Majlis Tertinggi" buddies back home!

Really miss being with my "satu kepala gang"...

Take care.

Ayah said...

Mommy dear...

Just to update u...Your son NOW has 4 girlfriends!!! Definitely more macho than any Italianno!

I think u better come home fast...and start da mother-and-son talklah. Hahahaha...(I'm laughing worriedly..if there is such a thing!)

WANSHANA said...

WWHHAAAATTTT???!!!

I'M CALLING HOME NOW!!!

Hanna said...

Haha. Hello Mommy..

WHAT?! FABIO??

Hanna Suhaila bt Fabio??

Tak syok lah!!

Hanna Suhaila bt Fatto Whalo..


Ahh.. Now tht is sa-weet!! ;)

Lol nice flatmates u have :)

Say HELLO 2 them!! Ngee~~ Now is AF final and also FA final.. AF, FA!! Coolio~~ OMG AZNIL'S LAST APPEARANCE!! They sang K'nangan T'indah.. Aww.. Well. K then. I think I gtg now. It's 12.09am n esok Ayah kena bgn awal. K, bbui!!


LOVE, HUGS N KISSES..



Hanna Suhaila binti Fab - I mean Haizal :) Lol just kidding. MMUAHH!!

WANSHANA said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Very funny, Hanna...(but, I bet your Ayah doesn't find this amusing at all...Hehehe!;D)

Miss you and adek-adek so much...

MMuuuaaaahhhh!!!

Ayah said...

I'm in trouble

Hanna thinks being named "Hanna Suhaila bt Fabuloso" is fantastic.

So..tomorrow nite I'm going out with Giovanna Paparazzi...two can play the game, eh wot? ;)

~ Aiyah

(Pls don't call home to verify...I will deny everything)

WANSHANA said...

WAH!!! BERANI???!!!

COBA LAH WAHAI KASSIM SALAMAT!!! AKAN KU CHOCHOK KADOA-DOA MATA KAO DENGAN CHOPSTIK!!!

BERANI KAO?!!!

Ayah said...

Hmmm...

Someone is reading this blog and used 'ayah' as an identity. Hmmm.... Please own up! I don't want my eyes kena chochok maaaa....

The real 'Ayah'

WANSHANA said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! FUNNNNNYYYY!!!

Hmmm...those reading this blog might be thinking - what a crazy family we are!

Be rest assured - Errrrr... memang pun!!!

Hope your patients don't read my blog, my dear. Hahaha! Kalau tidak - hancus kredibiliti Tuan Doktor...

abu rabu aka ash wednesday said...

Sharina

A Belated Happy Birthday to you!

It's good that you have a multicultural community in your household over there. No point holding on to kampung melayu while you are in a foreign land.

Reminds me of my student days in the land down under.

My Aussie friends and I were a close-knit group. For years after I came back from Ozland, I had streams of Aussie backpackers coming to visit.

Now, that was more than 30 years ago, when the Internet was still science fiction stuff. The world was not yet a global village, and having visitors from (at that time far away) Australia was still a big deal. I kept in touch with my friends for many years after I came back. Later, of course, different priorites came in the way and we lost touch.

Then came the Internet, and this great new invention called Google. I have actually managed to trace a number of them and we're back in communication.

I tell you - the best friends you have are the friends from school and college/uni.

P.S. You know by now, of course, that your birthday is 3 days earlier than my late sister Eda. Are you as bull-heaed as your astrological sign Taurus implies?

P.P.S. (Sorry lah for making this a long post) I sometimes "see" you dropping by the TWB Lounge (from the server stats, la - siapa lagi from newcastle upon tyne) but you tak masuk. Tunggu orang lain masuk dulu, ke?

Ayah said...

Ignore the imposter who calls himself the real Ayah

Like I said, tomorrow nite I am going out with the georgeous Italian dish Giovanna PapaPizza. I think that's what her name is...

Anyway, even if she is not georgeous, she is delicious.

I tak takut mata kena cocok chopstik, ler...Mesti u cocok mata lain orang.

~ Your now not so loving Aiyah

WANSHANA said...

Dear abu rabu aka ash wednesday aka princess fiona (need I go on?!)

Thank you for dropping by, and Thank You for the birthday wishes!

Yes, I read K.Ena's posting on Arwah K.Eda and knew that her birthday was on 17th May.

And Yes, I am one VERY obstinate, bull-headed lady (My hubby can vouch for that!)

And Yes, I agree with you - the best friends that we make are those from school/college/uni.

My regular hangout buddies are my friends from school (which we left 22 years ago!), who later went to KPP and/or to the UK with me, or the US (one of them is IBU of Cerita Ibu). We call ourselves "Kawan-Kawan Yang Tak Berkembang" aka "Majlis Tertinggi".

Somehow, (for most people) I guess, as we get older, we just don't feel the need to make new (close) friends. We are just too comfortable being in familiar company/circle. Either that, or, we are just too old, and just don't have the energy to start a new friendship all over again!

It's great that you managed to reacquaint yourself with your old friends from your student days (Errr...any of them a regular at TWB Lounge?!)

I will definitely stay in touch with my Newcastle flatmates (no choice - they're already planning to visit Malaysia in 2009! Hehehe!)

And Yes - I always jenguk-jenguk the Lounge...But, if nobody there, no fun maaa...So, no log-in maaa...

Take care abu rabu!

P/S : Errr...I had just spoken to Ayah, and apparently "Aiyah" at 5.31PM was NOT him! Hmmmm...are you wearing another hat, abu rabu?!!!

WANSHANA said...

AIYOYOOOOO "AIYAH" @ 5.31PM and 6.32PM!!!

As if ONE Ayah is not enough for me to handle? (Hehehe!) Now got one more "Aiyah" kaaa?!

AIYOYOOOO...Fenin...fenin...

Keanorlinsya said...

Aunty Shana, my cousin pon macam itu. She was from MRSM Dungun. And later went to US for further studies. But managed to stay contacted with her group of friends from MRSM sebab most of them pg US jugak. Best la macam tu. Up to date, they are still closely connected. Even the kids. Husbands too, lagi2 most of the hubby are from east coast. They have vacations together, and makan2 most of the time. I do join them too. Great bunch. I hope my friends and i pun boleh maintain relationship like that.

WANSHANA said...

Kea,

I'm sure you'll be able to stay close with your friends, and with their spouses, and kids after that. But, you will have to WORK at it!

Once you start your career, and have a family of your own, you tend to focus on YOUR life and YOUR family, and after a while you will lose touch with your friends. So, it is imperative that you allocate some of your time for your friends. (Hey, some things you can share with ONLY your girlfriends. So, better keep them close to you!)

Take care, dear.

Ayah said...

Hi dear...

In the lounge waiting for my flight. Not long now...can't wait. But have to endure the heat of Barca for a couple of days before heating up Newcastle!

I'll be missing the kidz tho. At the last count masa dinner tadi, Man still has 4 GFs...no additions...yet! ;p

They've just announced it's time for boarding. Gotta go!

Ayah

WANSHANA said...

Dear Ayah,

Hehehe...Yes, I double-checked with Hilman just now to get the latest update on his girlfriends - still at 4...

Can't wait for Friday!!! ;D