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Once Upon a Sophomore

My Scholarship entry - A local encounter that changed my life

WORLDWIDE | Monday, 23 April 2012 | Views [112] | Scholarship Entry

We were sophomores, hearts set on a chocolate hunt despite the threat of tests lurking in our desks and cupboards, waiting to ensnare us for leaving our books behind to experience a slice of Theobroma cacao bliss. Imported from Penang and Taiping into Selangor thanks to our country’s university placement department, we did not have any idea how we could get to the enticing chocolate enclave in Kuala Lumpur. Armed with a newspaper article that made us convinced enough to take the risk and step out of the bubble that had been protecting us ever since we left home, we embarked on the journey that helped us discover our love for adventure when it happened half a dozen years ago.   

Commuter buses were the lifelines of campus students who did not own any mode of transportation nor had enough money for a taxi ride out. On an extremely lucky day, all one had to do was to walk out to the bus stop nearest to his or her hostel and behold the magic bus would appear, rolling down the winding pathway with ample seats for all. However, more often than not the bus would be packed to the brim; pressed down and shaken over. It was just not our day, and all we could do was sigh deeply as we tumbled out into the sun, consulting the map of haphazardly-connected rail systems to figure out how to get there in the shortest, cheapest way possible.   

A few trains and buses later, we took it upon our feet to take us where we had set our minds on. Realising that we had no idea which way to go, we reluctantly removed the gold from our mouths and began to ask for directions. It was a game in itself, trying to decide which person we could approach. As girls, we were apprehensive of asking strangers for help. Our fears melted with every step as the encounters with every local we met made us realise that everyone has the potential or willingness to help. As we headed back that night, spirits laced with chocolate, we knew that this would be the first of many adventures to come beyond sophomore days.  

Tags: travel writing scholarship 2012

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