I turned 30 this year, and in a little more than 3 months i will be another year older, I hope wiser and happier. The twenties is way behind, and the thirties is way on. I read somewhere that women are the most beautiful in their 30s.
I think they meant it in a way that women are at their peak of everything at this age, in their careers, their body, their wisdom and etc.
As a young - carefree student living a fun challenging life in a foreign country 10 years ago, studies were my priorities. I kept my vows to my parents, to myself and to my country ( well, to jpa?) to do beyond good. To do well and even better than those local japanese boys. I remember walking into the class on the very first day, together with the other malaysian student. He walked in first and then turned around and said, " weh, aku x nampak pempuan lain!"
i stepped in and there you go, a class of about 120 students - i saw no other girl. I took a seat on the second row from the front, and nobody was sitting on the first row. Haha. I think at that very moment i became the 'nerd malaysian girl', except of cos i wasnt that nerd heh..
Hey they are perks of being recognized and known by all the senseis. I guarantee all of them remember me by my name - tho its sometimes not fara, but hara! So instead, i started asking them to call me hana. Sounds more japanese kan?
And it also meant that there was no way i cud skip any class.
Truth is, i was scared and insecured most of the time. I was always on my feet. I was never good with guys. Up to that point my friends were mostly girls. Blame it on non co-ed education. No, i take that back. I luv my alma matter too muh to despise it.
Its just that, unlike many others who recover from the 'all girls sydrome', i never bother to. At that point i was still comfortable with just girlfriends. Knowing boys were nowhere near my mind.
Never thought it would continue for so much longer in life.
I think the only reason i survived 4 years being surrounded by those guys were because i was more a foreigner than the girl in the class.
They once in a while treat me sweetly, especially during labs and workshops, trying to do my share of work for me. Not a chance. I prefer to do everything just like everyone.
And thanks to them, i learned not to be so uptight anymore. I adapted and got used to it.
They can be really sweet and funny. Sometimes even stupid. I remember my lab partner in my first year tried to pay me 1000yen to do the lab reports - said he's bad at calculations. I didnt take the money but did share my data summary. And this dude became one of my close japanese friends for 4 years. Helped me with the more reading-subjects especially in the beginning.
The 2nd year was especially tough with those elective subjects that need a lot of kanji reading and understanding. By the middle of the 2nd year, those reading subjects were no more trouble.
Studying in japan wasnt that difficult, once you master the language.
it didnt take me long to realize that if i keep doing what i do, i can finish well, quite ok.
The biggest motivation was, getting to do our research of choice in final year - we pick our lab one by one beginning from the no.1 student, up to no 120. Meaning, the better your position, the higher the chance to pick your favourite. and there are limits to how many students under one sensei.
The second motivation was, one lab can only have one foreign student. So the other malaysian dude, was actually my biggest competition. I gotta be better than him haha. And he is good tu. Finished top of his class in high school when i was just an average.
He was very good with maths and figures. But suffered a bit in reading subjects. I on the other hand had to put extra hours for maths and numbers, but had no trouble with the other subjects.
For that 4 years we shared notes and studied together, but secretly wished to beat the other at the end of our third year to get a better ranking.
ok mostly i shared my notes cos he skipped classea or sat at thr back he cudnt see the board.
He had some good time laughing it out at my notes sometimes when he found my writing hillarious when i sleep-write! And i laughed at his not so encouraging exam answers - the subjects i kicked ass in. Whats more interesting was that we were both aiming for the same sensei's lab :)
End of 3rd year? Results were out and the list was posted on the board and guess what, i beat that dude by 2 places! Finished 26th out of the batch and got to be in my lab of choice.
It was a favourite lab and i was lucky to get the final spot available.
I still do savour the sweetness now when we talk abt it.
Doing research was a different story. While most others did their papers and final presentation in english, i did mine in japanese.
At a point i was even more confident doing japanese than english. Thanks to hours of everyday of talking and discussing with lab mates and sensei.
i had this other sensei who wasnt my lab sensei but frequently had chitchat with in my break time. We talked abt stuff other than studies too.
I wonder how he's doing now.
In the end..translating all those reference articles and books into english was just tiring and it made more sense to just do everything in japanese.
Among the malaysian clan, i did have a few close friends..just some girls. I cud go everywhere with my bicycle, never depend on anyone or other guys for that matter. It could've been easier to depend on some guy with a car,to go places buy stuff etc, like some others but again, wasnt in my style. During breaks, i'd rather go travel inside and outside Japan with my girlfriends. than doing bbqs in summer with some guys from my uni.
Only once, i got to know this guy from malaysia, not a student or anything. He gound me online an we started being friends. It was pretty obvious that he was flirting, i just played along without being too much and it actually went on to a point where we almost met. He was working at klia (with malaysian airports), so it was pretty clear where we were gonna meet.
and then just before that trip home, i found out from another friend in another uni the she knew that guy too, and he was quite the same with her as well.
I guess that was the first time in my life to feel jealous in a way, and i straight away called the meeting off. And stopped replying to his texts and emails.
I still remember his name and even some of the words he said.
And this story, i never told anyone.
but yeah, thats the closest it got. And then, i just got paranoid.
So yes, even at 23 when i graduated, i was still quite the same. Boyfriends, what more the word 'settle down' was still quite alien, i started working and then suddenly building my career and serving my parents and family became my priority. 23 became 25 when i started thinking about it, and then it became 28 when most of my girlfriends were settled down and wallah, it became 30!
I get a crush and heartbreaks here and there once in a while, but now at 30 i am still quite the same.
Surrounded by them yet somehow invisible.
The guys of the same age or older are mostly married, the new guys are getting younger and younger - not that i have problems with younger guys but most of then do have problems with older women, right? Most, not all i know.
it crosses my mind a lot of times, what if i ran out of time? I want to settle down like the rest of them so i can have a family of my own, kids and insyaAllah somebody to share my love and dreams. While there's no limit to finding that, we all know there is a clock ticking when it comes to having a child. Biologically. Tick tock.
But at the times when i'm stronger and calmer, I remind myself, that insyaAllah i will look back one day and be thankful that i wasnt like many other women. I'm just a late bloomer and there must be a reason for that. I have done my share of trying, and maybe i am done trying. It makes much more sense now to just stop hoping and just pray. And be better as a person. To stop trying to impress people but to be closer to Him.
Most of the time i enjoy being the aunty to their kids, along with the freedom of singlehood. But sometimes it fels like i'm lagging behind. While some friends drift further away as they indulge (or drown?) in their new found married life, i'm lucky that my super bffs still make it a point to meet up and do things once in a while. It gets difficult, between them being mothers and wives full time, and me being the only one standing, but they are still there as my bestfriends, at happy times and especially at difficult times. A hang out of just us became +1 and then +2 and 3, most of the time i enjoy the company, but sometimes, just sometimes for just a moment or two i wud wish to have the same thing, but it normally takes me just a second to realize that Allah knows best. That i am meant to live my life differently. That i am being saved from making wrong choices. That i am being allowed more time to travel the world, more time for my parents, more time for my body and soul(read:rohani)and mostly i am being tested for my patience. Something He saves for his strong ones. I survived the tough years cos i am independant, and why not now? And the years to come? I shud be better at it as i grow..wiser.
Life feels empty if i look at it empty, but the truth is i can always make it full.
Ppl die eventually and those who live move on, but Allah is with me forever.
Of cos life is beautiful in a way if i get to have what they have now, but there are a hundred more ways of making it meaningful not just in this life, but also the life after. It is up to me to find out how, without getting lost in the process.
i'm still struggling to get that tempo, but i'm getting there.
Somehow lately, in my dreams and imaginations i see more of myself in the future going around just on my own to places i always dream to go, living alone in my dream home, having the financial freedom, serving my parents and not worrying over finding the 'perfect man' anymore. I dreamt myself going to perform the haji with my parents, as my father is my mahram, instead of going with a husband.
It gave me motivation to keep the saving going, insyaAllah if they get their names up one day, i can tag along. That would the perfect happiness i could get and i would ask for nothing more.
I was just having some down moment at work today..and it didnt take it long for me to feel down inside.
talking things out is difficult when u are expected to be strong and positive the whole time. It makes it even worse.
So i do what i do best, write it out and try to see the good things in life.
Flashing back these memories of great times when i survived the tough years by being independant and competetive somehow made me feel better, both in my work and personal issues. Sure there was also sad moments then but i pulled through. So now shud be no difference.
The sky is my limit, when He permits that is.
Life cant always be sweet. But my sweet moments will come insyaAllah, and when it does, i will appreciate it the best.