When I was younger I was a little bit more adventurous. I enjoyed festivals and rallies and protests, as any young student socialist/activist/hippy/liberal/journalist would. Despite this I’ve never been a huge dare devil. I like quiet and peaceful activities like knitting and reading, occasionally listening to a podcast. As I’ve gotten older this love of the indoors and quiet has grown. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete introvert, but neither am I a full extrovert. I sit happily in the middle of the spectrum, enjoying quiet solitude and the occasional party. Which is why I was able to travel around Europe mostly on my own. It is also why I was able (only just) to put myself on a plane and move to Malaysia.
Unfortunately it is also why I’m a little bit scared about dining out or exploring on my own.
Here are three reasons why it’s difficult for me to venture out:
- Until one month ago I was solely reliant on the generousity of others or cabs to get about. A trip to the supermarket was a large hoo-ha.
- Unless I have a specific purpose in mind the idea of strolling about in this heat and humidity is awful.
- It’s bloody scary out there! I’m the odd one, no matter what I wear or how I walk I’m still obviously not from around here.
This week I said “Enough! I am brave and strong and true!”
- *I marched myself out of the house and down to the satay house, Satay Zul and I ordered in English a takeaway! Huzzah! Not so scary after all are you counter man!?
- *I waltzed into the furniture shop and wandered happily until I got to the lighting section where I met Uncle U.
Uncle U: What are you looking for?
Me: A lamp.
Uncle U: This is the right place.
Insert minor chit chat about Australia and weather and my length of stay etc.
Me: I like this lamp.
Uncle U: Well I can give it to you cheaper than the price.
Me: Really? (I still don’t know how to haggle)
Uncle U: Yes. 200 Ringgitt.
Me: That’s great. That’s 40 Ringgitt off.
Uncle U: Do you want a yellow or white globe? They’re 10.
Me: Yellow. I think you know my friend, T.
Uncle U: Hmm? With the goatee? Yes! I know him. The light globe is free!
Me: Are you sure?
Uncle U: That’s how we work in Malaysia. We give friends and friends of friends discounts!
That’s right, I accidentally haggled. Plus I got a lamp!
- I ordered Chinese take away, alone at the local Chinese restaurant.
- I drove passed my “city limits” into unknown territory, finding both the state mosque and the bus station. I even managed to drive myself home without the GPS.
- And tonight, I went on a date, with myself. I took myself to a western restaurant, alone and ordered steak! I sat alone, I ate alone, I paid alone. It was wonderful.
These things that I took for granted in my home town were alien and scary in a new place. I’m glad that my quest for adventure can be quelled, at the moment, by a trip to a restaurant on my own. I don’t know what I’ll do if I start needing a bigger hit. I don’t see bungee jumping in my future.