On coming home
When I returned from the UK many years ago, I took a bus from the Klang Bus Stand to Brickfields. I’m not completely sure where exactly I was going or if that was indeed the route I took, but I paid the bus conductor 90sen, which I remembered was the fare before I left for my studies.
The conductor stared at the coins in his palm. “What’s this?” he asked.
“That’s for the ticket,” I said. He snorted, looked at me from head to toe and said: “The fare is RM1.20 now. What, have you just come out from prison?”
I hadn’t just been released from prison, of course (Really). I had merely been away for a long time. Long enough for bus fares to rise, for hip new radio stations to spring up and for bus conductors to learn to become sarcastic.
More recently, other things changed when I came back from my overland trip. Shiny new coins and new paper money, for instance. I’ve been back for a month already and I still can’t get used to the new coins. Which is extremely ironic.
When I travel, I try to get familiar with the currency as quickly as possible, especially with coins, as coins come in different sizes. My reasons for doing so are that I want to come across as being at ease with the country and to avoid being scammed. I passed through six countries on my way home; I had to constantly keep remembering new currencies and conversion rates. When I came back and discovered that the texture, shape and colour of my own money had changed, I couldn’t believe it. Oh dear, here we go again.
When we travel for extended periods, not of all us are prepared to accept that things may change at home. We want to return to people and things which we are familiar with. We’ve had enough of change; travel itself constitutes ‘change’ for some of us.
But expecting things to stay the same while you’re away is a little silly. Nothing is constant.
During the two months I was travelling, relationships broke down, my eldest niece and nephew grew taller (much to my dismay) and our family cat seemed to have aged another 10 years.
Some of my Twitter followers have unfollowed me (shock! horror!), probably because my updates slowed down considerably since the trip began. I’m surprised and a little amused that that happened, but it’s not something I can do anything about.
But there are of course things which never change. Kuala Lumpur’s traffic jams are still horrendous after it rains and drivers are still rude and inconsiderate. I was even a bit apprehensive about driving again.
The one good thing about coming home? There is nothing quite like sleeping on my own bed again, in my own room, surrounded by my own lovely, familiar, mess.
© 2012 – 2014, Anis. All rights reserved.