I spent most of my childhood going to schools that were very close to my home. My primary school was a short drive away. I could also walk to school in Sri Hartamas in under ten minutes.
When I was fifteen years old, I was picked to enter a government boarding school. Not many of my classmates were picked, so I was proud that I was one of the few.
Some of the older students had been picked to go to boarding school before. However, most of them did not last long there. They came back to study at Sri Hartamas after a few months. One of my teachers told me that I would not last long there either. This made me very determined to stay at boarding school, no matter how hard it was.
My boarding school was in Pasir Puteh, Kelantan. I had never been to Kelantan before. The weekend before the start of the school term, my father, mother, brother and I packed all my bags into our car and took the sevenhour drive to Pasir Puteh.
As someone who grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Pasir Puteh felt like a very small town. It reminded me of my mother’s village in Negeri Sembilan. There were no fast-food or big shopping malls around.
When we arrived at the school, I was shown to my dormitory. I had a bunk bed and a small cupboard to put all my things in. There were shared toilets and bathrooms at the end of the hall. It felt strange because before this, I always had a whole room to myself. I only had to share the bathroom with my brother.
I waved goodbye to my family and settled in for my first night at boarding school. It was not until I was lying in my bunk bed, listening to the chatter of my dormitory mates that I realised that I was all alone in a totally new place! I felt a sudden sadness and cried myself to sleep that night.
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