23rd September 2012
My heart beats faster and faster as we draw closer to the airport. My mum and dad in the front seat are going over all the procedures in which I am to follow all the way through from Malaysia until Germany. In the car, I pay attention to every word they say, to ensure I arrive to Germany in one piece.
After a while, the car pulls up along a long stretch of road and I can see the main terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) coming up in the distance. My heart beats faster and faster as I know it won’t be long before I board the plane. Lugging the huge luggage into the departure hall, I am greeted by the sight of my friends there to bid me farewell.
Family photo before I depart. Sigh! I will definitely miss my mum, dad and baby brother.
Sadly, I did not have much time to say my goodbyes. Soon, I had to descend the escalators to the satellite building (those who have taken international flights would know the feeling). As I looked back, I could see my family waving at me. My heart felt heavy but I told myself that this is something that I must do. It is my future. The opportunity to study in one of the most prestigious private universities in Germany was a chance worth taking.
I walked through the gate and was immediately waiting for the shuttle train to the satellite building. From the train, I made my way to the departure gate where already the crowd has been building up significantly. Before boarding, I made a last phone call to my mum, promising her that I would be fine. Switching off my phone, I took a deep breath as I approached the entrance to the plane. There will be no turning back now. Into the hands of Fate. I held my breath as I walked through the airplane doors. I found my seat by the window and settled down. A while later, the plane doors shut. The pilot’s voice buzzes over the intercom.
My thoughts flood in all over my mind. I wonder whether what I am doing is the right thing. I am leaving behind all my family, relatives and friends. I am going to a country which I am not familiar with. I am going there ALONE!!! Soon, the plane leaves KLIA bound for a destination, halfway across the world.
Photograph of luggage before boarding the plane. This tag still exists until today.
The flight duration was going to be 12.5 hours which is extremely long for someone who does not travel halfway across the world regularly.
A word of advice. If you are planning to go overseas and you are willing to toss in extra money to fly, then I would strongly recommend going on an Asian airline (ie: MAS, Thai Air, Singapore Airlines). The reason for this is because I flew on KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) and the seats are barely enough to accommodate a person who is more than 6 feet tall. This is rather odd considering the fact that these are the airlines that are suppose to cater for Europeans who tower above the Asians in terms of stature. Food served on board was satisfactory. But most importantly, stay hydrated (no problem with that. There is a free flow of drinks)
The view from my seat on the plane
The hours continue to push by slowly and I began to prepare myself mentally for the task ahead. It was not going to be easy nor will it be a smooth one. But this roller coaster ride is guaranteed to be a ride of a lifetime.