Exchanging Places

I had this one interview with Dr Jan Gothard, Associate Professor in History from Murdoch University WA Australia, in the city campus of Nottingham Trent University (NTU), yesterday evening to share some stories on living in the two countries, Australia and the UK, which I think I would like to share some of the stories with you too.

"What are the worst thing that you faced in the UK?". I would say the worst phase that I faced so far was when I first arrived here, the one that I posted before. So yeah, I dont think I faced anything worse than that, yet.

Somehow, there was this one new thing that I experienced here, that experience I never faced before. I have quite a number of new friends here. We've been going out, hanging out together like normal people until one day, when this one person found out that I am a Muslim, that person started to say something about her view on multi-racial thing which made me started to feel uneasy. I mean, I heard about racism everywhere in the news, Facebook, you name it but I never actually experienced it, like having such conversation with such people, with my own eyes to see the look on their faces, with my own ears to listen what they have to say about other religions, and with my own words to defend myself as a Muslim. I'm not mad, I just find it pretty interesting. (Mungkin ada rasa nak cakar muka dis sikit. Sikit lah.)

"But I heard the anti-Muslim thing has gone viral in Australia. Have you not experienced it before?". There has been massive news about racism towards Islam or anti-Muslims in Australia, so I heard. But so far I can say I never experienced such thing in Perth. Or maybe because I'm not a hijabi so people cant really tell whether am I Muslim or not. But what I do know is, in Perth, like what I heard from my international friend in Perth, she told me that her Chinese friend was once being cursed and been thrown eggs at the bus stand by the locals who passed by with a car. Like I said before, no religion is bad but the people. This person can be racist but we can't say that particular religion is racist and bad.

"When you first came to England, do you have the issues on introducing yourself, whether to tell people you're from Malaysia or Australia?". I can say that Malay is a very unique race because people can't tell what's your belief from your look. And of course they cant even tell where you're from. When I first came here, I was quite disturbed whether to tell that I'm from either Malaysia or Australia. I looked around, trying to listen to other people's intro. They're representing their universities. So I decided to introduce myself as an Australian since I am representing my university. (Lupa daratan kejap) Unless if I have a longer time to intro, I will say that I'm originally from Malaysia but currently studying Murdoch University in Australia, which will leave a big question mark on their faces. But I personally think that it was easy enough to say that I'm from Australia, since some of them didn't even know where Australia is, so let's just forget about explaining where the hell Malaysia is. Plus, it is my job here to promote Murdoch University, so why not?

Woots! Being in the Europe for the first time, gave me the chance to experience jet-lag! I know what jet-lag is but I never know how it feels like until I got here. I was a zombie for 3 freaking days! Don't talk to me or I'm gonna eat you. Alive. It's pretty interesting to talk to someone from Murdoch University as well simply because I can tell what I think about living in the Europe accurately since I can compare it with living in Perth. Of course these two places have their own pros and cons. Here in Nottingham, I live in the big city while in Perth, Murdoch is a bit country side, but still near to the Perth City but still..

"Do you experience culture shock when you first came here?". Coming to Nottingham ain't a shocker to me since I'm from Kuala Lumpur, which is a big city as well. Plus, our malls in Malaysia close at 10:00PM. I think KL is the wildest city so far. I've been to some other Asian countries as well like Japan and China and their shops closed at night as well. It was a shocker to me when I first came to Perth and found out that all shops are closed at 05:00PM.  The only thing that open at night are bars and clubs. Or maybe some restaurants or Starbucks, which closed at 09:00PM. So, coming to Nottingham wasn't a shocker to me anymore since I've been living in Perth and there's nothing much different just that I love it here because everything is walking distance since I'm staying in the city and of course, shopping wise, UK has the best shopping life evahh!

"Are you having a hard time living away from your family?". It's not a problem to me to live away from my family since I've been living away from them since I was in high-school when my family was away in Jakarta Indonesia, I've been jailed in a boarding school, Kolej Tuanku Ja'afar in Mantin Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. I flew back to Jakarta once every three months in a year during semester break.

"Where do you plan to go next? Somewhere that you really wanna go,". I'm planning to go to Niagara Falls (Dr. Jan suddenly giving me a smile). I'm not sure when, but hopefully one day. It's like the first thing in my travel-bucketlist. I wanna see it with my own eyes..

"I went to Niagara last week".

Wait, what?

"I went there last week, in Canada. It was amazing. You should go."


"Come here, I'll show you some pictures of Niagara that I took."


"And this is from the US' side"


"Hahaha yes I did!"


So that's how the one-hour interview ended.

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