torsdag 27 mars 2014

The Last Days

On Wednesday night the girls from management invited me out for dinner, that was so sweet of them I am honestly surprised about how kind they are to me. Since they know Im vegetarian they took me to this all vegetarian and organic restaurant and the food was AMAZING.

The sister and the husband of the manager Dear came to pick us up and we drove through the famous traffic jam to get there, it was so nice that they came along as well - it felt like I was invited to a family gathering here and it is great to feel that you are a part of something and not just an outsider.

The food, the food... How can I describe? They ordered a little bit of everything, tapas style, and all the plates was placed at this spinning disk in the middle of the table so you could just pick and spin and pick and spin. The dishes was traditional from here, Malaysian and Chinese, and all tofu or soy based. It honestly is the best vegetarian food I have had in all my life.

Haha, looking at the photo you really see how extremely much I do not blend in. But as mentioned before - I actually find it interesting not being the norm and to experience how it feels on "the other side"

Then it was Thursday and my last evening. I spent it packing my bags and being hysterical on how to fit everything in, I have really shopped a lot. And to be completely honest, before packing my bag I actually went for some more shopping... Im really starting to adapt to this shopping mall life style.

Evidentially I also spent my last night contemplating on my Adventure here. Actually I am sad about going home, it feels like I just got started here. Finally Im not that afraid of going in the metro alone, I finally start to understand how the different part of the town is related and connected, I finally start to get used to the chaos, the tropical climate, the crowed, the streets, the smells. I would definitely want to stay for some more weeks.

Things I will not miss:

Traffic jam, The heat, The haze, The poor little kitty stray cats (they break my heart), That alcohol is so expensive (The plate cost you 1€, the beer 4€)

Traffic Jam

Things I will miss:

The hotel pool and my night swims, The light, The thunder storms at night, The cheap shopping, The great food, The beautiful vegetation on the streets, The colours, The Adventure.

I can almost see the hotel pool from the office. My hotel is the brownish one in the middle, if you see some green in-between it is the pool area.

Everywhere you see people selling drinks in plastic bags or food on the street.

This is an old tree growing in the middle of the walkway. Kuala Lumpur was originally founded in the middle of the jungle, these are the traces.

So, my journey ends here. At 9 pm I am taking the plane to Doha and from there back to BCN. Tomorrow morning I will be landing at T1 and then a taxi straight in to my friends arms. I am looking forward so much to see you all. But still my heart is breaking and I have tears in my eyes while writing this. I guess Im no good with separations. 

Even though I am leaving KL I might be writing some more in this blog, I guess a lot of impressions and thoughts will come to me when Im back at home and reflecting over everything. So stay tuned, might be continued.

Saying goodbye to KL with one last Tiger Beer.

Bye, bye KL, bye bye Big Adventure. For sure I will miss you <3

onsdag 26 mars 2014

Conclusion 2 - The Fear

I have given a lot of thought about what it is, this thing with all my fears and I have come to one conclusion. I think I have been so afraid of everything here because it is so unknown and I can´t read the signals.
In BCN for example I know which area not to go into, I can recognise a dodgy street when I see it and I can read the situations. Here I can´t. Everything is so different, the streets, the people, the behaviours. I think that is what is frightening - to not be able to read your environment and therefor you feel completely lost - clueless. And the feeling of not understanding, of not being in control is what creates the Fear. Maybe?

Conclusions 1 - Il n ´y a pas de hors-texte

I noticed how extremely captured we are within our own culture. I have my western glasses on and see the world through them. I compare and judge everything I see according to my western standards, that makes me unable to see things as they "really are", to meet this new world on its own permisses.

Il n ´y a pas de hors-texte (there is nothing outside the text) as Jacques Derrida says and he is so right about it. It is frustrating to understand how little you understand and how trapped you are.
I also realise that even if I would live here for 20 years I would still never be able to step out of my "text" Yes, it would be wider, more complex, but still, you are never ever able to completely have an outside position regarding your cultural and social heritage. It has shaped you for so many years, and it has been influencing you unconsciously and therefore it is even more difficult to see and control.

When I lived in Sweden I had very little knowledge of how influenced and shaped I was by the Swedish society, I always felt different and as an outsider, a misfit. When moving to BCN I started to se how Swedish I really am, even though I disagree with a lot of the Swedish "values" I can still admit that I am a part of it, like it or not. I also got a glimpse of my "text" and how narrow it is. I see, compare and I judge the BCN culture according to my Swedish standards. The Swedish way is alway what everything is compared against.

Coming here to a completely different part of the world, a part that is not shaped by Christian culture, makes me even more aware of how little I will ever know. How tight my glasses are stucked to my eyes, I try to see and meet everything with an open mind. But to believe you are actually capable of stepping out of your "text" and meet the new world "as it is" is a lie. It will never happen, we can strive towards it, and that has a value in it self, but we can never ever completely understand a different culture and judge it by it´s own measurements.

tisdag 25 mars 2014

So this is who I am?

My last days of KL have come. Time has passed by so quickly that I hardly have noticed that I was here. And at the same time I have experienced so much.
It has been a challenging a developing journey for me both professionally (after all I have spent the majority of mi time here in the office) and personally. Now it´s time to draw some conclusions.

I think that for me this has been as well a journey into myself, into my fears. It has changed my conception of myself,  I have realized how scared I am as a person. I have always thought of myself as somewhat adventurous. On one had I guess that is true, I almost never back out of a challenging situation or to try something new. But on the other hand I have realized that I have too much imagination for my own good. And that my imagination is no good for me.

I realised this already when I was in Sweden before going here, that I had watched to many horror movies and listened to too many radio documentaries about murder. I was constantly imagining bad things that could happen. For example, laying in bed at night I imagined how all of the sudden I would feel a hand touch my feet (reference to The Conjuring) I could not stop thinking about it and got myself all worked up.

The same thing happens here, when I was on the motorcycle in Thailand I could not stop seeing for my inner eye how the wheels would fall of, the breaks would stop to work and what would happen then. The same at the pool last night, I was alone and it was 8.30 pm I could not relax because I was seeing how a snake would enter the water and start to swim towards me or how a man would come there and rape me.

I don´t think it is normal to be always afraid, always seeing potential danger in every situation. I have never known I am like this. In my safety zoon in BCN I am almost never afraid, I walk home alone at night, I have no issues by being alone in different situations. But apparently I can´t handle being out of my safety-zone.

During this whole trip I have tried to face my fears, to challenge myself and I think I have done a good job.  Going to Thailand was a big scare for me, but I did it. Being alone in KL and finding my way around was also scary, but I did not let that stop me, I went out any way. So I guess I am not a hopeless case, I just have to work with myself and my fears. Realize why I am like this, and try to take control.  I hope I will not forget to challenge myself when I am back in my sweet, beloved safety-zone BCN.

Surprise, Surprise

In my quest for the Big Adventure I went a bit out of line. I decided to go get my hair done here. You all know how picky I am with my hairdressers, the only ones who are allowed to touch my hair is my sister Olivia, and a hairdresser in BCN called Paula. Well, face your fears Maggan and get it done here. And so I did. Unfortunately it was a big failure... see photos below:

Work in progress:

Maggans new hair:

First of all I wanted it like withe blonde, she did not know how to to that so it is yellow. Second I wanted some pink and not that strong pink. Now I have yellow hair with A LOT of fluorescent pink. Well, in chasing adventures I guess it is okay to fail sometimes, and in the end of the day, it is just hair. It will grow out.

Shopping Mall Life

Every time you ask someone here what to do and what to se in KL they give you a name of a shopping mall.

On my tour with Norah I took the opportunity to investigate bit further in this culture. For me as a European it seems just horrible to spend all your weekends in a shopping mall. What I love about Barcelona is the street life, the beauty of the streets, to sit down at a terrasa for a beer and just watch the people who pass by.
Here you meet up with your friends in a huge mall where you´ll find the stores, the spas, the cinemas, the bars, the restaurants etc.. everything you want inside one big building.

I do understand now that our BCN life is impossible here, the heat and the “haze” makes it unbearable to be outside the major part of the day.  You just have to accept the shopping mall as your only alternative for a social weekend life.

However I am sure that there is an alternative life here as well, I just have not been here long enough to find it.
FYI, the moon is upside-down here. (NB. not my photo)

måndag 24 mars 2014

Malaysian spelling

Malaysia was a British colony until 1957 and you can see the British influence in the language. Everyone speaks English here which is very helpful when you want to get around. One funny thing I noticed though is that they have changed the spelling of the words, which sometimes can be confusing:

Pos = Post

Teksi = Taxi

Sentral = Central

As you see when you pronounce them they sound the same, it is just the spelling that is changed.  I was very confused since I was looking for a post office and couldn´t get it in my head that it was the Pos Malaysia I was looking for… now I know.

Sunday. Morning and Night

After the adventures of Saturday night I woke up with the hangover you can expect. I had put the alarm at 12:00 to get at least 7h sleep. I woke up and forced myself out of bed, the plan was to take the hop on, hop off tourist bus to finally get a good overview of KL.

When I came out, the street with the bus stop was shut down for some event, and there where no information on where to go instead. What a bummer! Well it was my last free day in KL so had to think of a back up plan. One of the stops I had planned to do on the bus was China Town and Petaling street. It is mentioned in all guidebooks and online as a must in KL. It is a long street where you can buy all sorts of copied things, bags, purses, shoes, watches – you name it. 

What the guidebooks did not mention, probably because they are written by men or people who went there in groups, that they do not only call on you to get you to buy their stuff, you also get sexually harassed. All the time – Miss, do you want a handbag? Do you have a boyfriend? Come here miss! One man even grabbed his package and asked if I wanted to touch! It was far from a pleasant experience so I left as quick as I could. 
I went back to central Market, which is nearby, for a Watermelon shake and to cool down, both my temperature and my emotions.

I get so angry that evil, sexist men always have to destroy things for us women. Why? Why are they that way? I don´t understand. I really notice it so much during this last days when I am here alone, before, with my boss here I felt safe to be out at night. Now I am afraid just to go food shopping at 9 in the evening. Men, men everywhere – always their eyes on you, always their comments. I am so sick and tired of it - why can´t they just leave us alone?

Anyway, after cooling down inside the market I went to the bus stop and was so lucky that a bus came straight away.
The bus was okay, it was nice to get a glimpse of KL, but I did not do any stops since it was too hot. After 2.5h on the warm bus I was so hungry and tired and hangover that I decided to go home and relax by the pool.
Unfortunately the pool was filled with screaming children, I have always wondered for whom the pool is since it is only open until 21.00 and normally people here are working until late. Now I know, it is for all the kids the business people bring along. Since we all know that kids pee in the water it did not feel save to go in there, instead I sat and smoked cigarettes to bother them away until I fell asleep.

When I woke up they where all gone and darkness was falling upon KL. I love that moment, when everything goes quiet and the only thing you hear is the prayer sung out from the minaret. I sat there relaxing until my stomach made me go look for food. But I realized that one of the things I will miss most about KL are those quiet moments by the pool.