ibizo

ibizo

Precinct 9, Malaysia

First Advice

It was a cold July day. I was standing alone in my almost bare apartment. Everything I owned packed in cardboard boxes. Movers were coming and loading them onto their truck parked outside. It has been an eventful four years of struggle, nail-biting and burning the midnight oil. Days that turned into nights of endless mugging, head banging, caffeine addiction but most of all leaving behind the laughter and tears – moments that can never be the same again.

Thus began my journey of self-discovery. Now armed with the knowledge and skills I have learned, I was ready for the world. Whether or not the world was ready for me; that was never a question. In my mind, I already knew what I wanted. First things first… so I thought. To my astonishment, the enthusiasm and desire to find myself faded within a week.

Jobs were hard to come by and whatever I could find… was filled by some other deserving young man or woman. To make ends meet, I would take on extra work from friends and neighbors. Little chores like sewing, washing, minding the neighbors’ kids, or anything that was easy and could fill my time and pocket. Finally, the telephone rang…

First, I thought I was dreaming… but the voice on the other side was business-like and firm. I got my first break. Everything I ever wanted to be, I could be.

On my first day, I made so many mistakes that I wasn’t sure I would still be hired the next day. When the day was over, a kind and gentle woman in her late 40s spoke to me and made me believe in what I was doing. She taught me what I never would have learned in school. The term “teamwork” was drilled into my brain. “My dear, we would never be able to make it in this world if we all did not stick together,” her words ringing in my ear. To this day, those words are still resounding in my thoughts and heart.

After more than 20 years since hearing those words, I still hear myself telling my fellow “earthlings” the exact same thing. All we learn while in school will never quite prepare us for the “real” world. It has been an eye-opener. Whatever we say today could someday mean more for others. Our lives are intertwined and our journeys are made more interesting because of the people we meet.

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