Monday, July 21, 2008


The past week passed through so fast. In fact, the past month went by like a magic trick. So many things took place, so many things changed. There have not been as many blog entries as I would have liked, mainly because the internet in my hostel (when I was in Moscow) did not function 'cos we have an a****** sitting in the dean's office in charge of the internet. However, there are many things that I want to blog about because many important things took place during the last 3-4 weeks, so bear with me as I revisit the last month of my life.

My parents were scheduled to arrive on the 23rd of June, one of the lasts to arrive since our graduation was on the 24th. But they were arriving with a bunch of other parents, which was what I wanted since my parents have never traveled before, so the date didn't really matter that much.

Some of the other parents were in Moscow a few days, and some even a week before the graduation. It was a really exciting time for all of us, I would say. I don't know what it's like for those who study in Malaysia surrounded by their family members, but for us in Russia, the arrival of a friend's parent is always looked forward to. For instance, when Yee Gin's parents came for a visit during our 2nd year, the other 5 of us (Von Yen, Fen Fang, Puspha, Swee Hung and I) also tagged along with Yee Gin to meet her parents in the hotel they were staying in. When Von Yen's uncle was in Moscow, it seemed like we were the one's who were more excited about him coming than Von Yen itself. So, you can imagine how excited we felt when SO many parents were in our hostel. I don't really know how to put that 'excitement' we felt in words..I guess you would only be able to properly understand the feeling if you were in our shoes.

The preparation for the arrival of my parents started much earlier than their actual arrival date.
1. Getting the invitation letter (which was a big headache as you are all aware of).
2. I had to find them a room to stay in the hostel (since it was just the two of them I thought it would be easier for them to just stay in my hostel instead of in a hotel or apartment). Thankfully, I managed to 'chop' my junior's room before someone else asked him.
3. I had to go to the dean's office to pay for their stay. I don't understand why I can't just pay the money to my warden.
4. Making sure the trip to St. Petersburg, Barcelona and Lisbon is all planned out
5. Making sure the room is extra clean and extra neat (although in my case, clean and neat would satisfy my mother 'cos I am usually none of those)
6. A trip to Ashan (a hypermarket) to get foodstuff
7. A trip to the market to get fruits (Fen Fang's idea)
8. A trip to Kvartal (the nearest minimarket) to get juice - Mom's order
9. Arranging transport to the airport to pick parents up - thankfully Christabel settled this for me since our parents arrived together
10. Deciding what to cook for dinner on the 23rd
11. Making sure my handphone is topped up because I know they will want to call/sms my brother every now and then

On the 23rd, I woke up quite early (my waking up time is usually at 12pm). Since my parents were arriving at 3.30pm and we (all those who's parents were coming at the same time) were leaving to the airport by 2.30pm and I wanted to finish part of my cooking job before they were here, I started cooking by about 10am. The menu for the day was spicy mayonnaise prawn, lemon chicken, 2 types of vegetables (cooked by Fen Fang), omelet and apple pie. The whole cooking plan didn't go on as smoothly as I hoped though. The oven and stoves on the 4th floor were not working that morning, and I had to take everything to the 3rd floor to use the kitchen there. The sole working oven was being used and I had to wait for some time before I could bake my pie. The stove that I was using at first took forever to get heated up and only later on I managed to change to a hotter stove. Because of all these problems, I couldn't finish my cooking as planned, but Fen Fang and Puspha helped with the cooking and room cleaning as I rushed to the airport to receive my parents.

The ride to the airport was..uneventful. I received a couple of smses from my brother, Rajiv - 'internet schedule said parents arriving in half an hour. Where are you?' and 'parents flight landed. Where are you?' I was at the airport approximately half an hour after their plane landed. I was worried about what they might face at the immigration because for some reason, immigration in Russia always manages to find some problem here and there. What's worse, most of them can't speak English. My father, unfortunately got stuck in the immigration for a while. The reason?

my Dad's passport photo

what my Dad looked like at the airport (notice the hair colour)

My Dad had a hard time trying to explain to the immigration officers (yup, they called another one to assist in identifying my father) in sign language about the colour change. One would expect the immigration officers to be used to hair colour change, especially in Russia where everyone seems to be walking around with non-original hair colour. Eventually, they let my father through, but my Mom has lots of fun telling this story over and over again to everyone who asks them 'how was your trip'.

Partly because of the immigration problem and partly because my parents thought that their other travel-mates were not out yet, my parents were the last to reach the arrival hall. I was warned earlier that I might not be able to recognize my Dad (due to the hair colour change), so I was more on the lookout for my Mom. I really can't remember what I felt at the exact moment that I met them, but then it was a really good feeling. The usual questions 'how was your flight', 'did you manage to sleep', 'did you have problems at the immigration' were asked and answered (and the immigration story told) and after that, we headed back to the hostel.

By the time we reached the hostel, it was about 5.30pm and I rushed to finish my cooking (making the sauce and stuff). Dinner was over faster than I expected. My parents are quite poor eaters and there was quite a lot of food remainder. Fen Fang made a beautiful fruit platter and Shilpa gave some chocolate cake that she baked, so by the time my parents had all the food, they were close to bursting.

They were quite tired after the long journey, and since the next day was going to be a long day, they slept early. I felt so like a mother taking them to the room where they were going to stay, showing them how to use the shower, putting the bed for them etc. Once they were settled down, I started preparing for the big day - Puspha helped me pin up my saree so that it will be easier to tie it the next day and we too went to bed early that night, knowing the next day would be a day to remember.

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