Though we are leaving to Tonga in a week, this does not mean relaxation for any of us before Spring Break. This week is a very special week for me. Two childhood friends of mine are visiting from Hamilton, Ontario. The bursts of nostalgia blowing at me have felt quite unreal.
I grew up in Malaysia from the age of three to nine. During this time, I became very close to Nicole and Ehern. We grew up together, went on vacations together, had sleepovers together and fought with each other. I still have vague recollections about playing tag on Saturdays, at the bistro Ehern’s father owned at the time.
The education system in Malaysia is vastly different from the Canadian system. Lack of opportunities and recognition are a common trend within schools in that country. Just like the cycle of poverty, departure is one method to escape the cycle. Nicole and Ehern are fortunate enough to have the chance to attend a boarding school in Ontario. They plan to apply to Canadian universities in the near future.
This brought me back to our trip to Tonga: by embarking on this trip, our class will be aiding in the process of cyclical escape. When Mr. Matheny told us that “the entire island can’t wait to meet you”, there was an instant connection to my heart. Only a week away, I am already attracted to the inhabitants of Atata. The enjoyment I have, catching up on eight years of friendship guiltily cannot compare to the exhilaration my brain receives when thoughts about Tonga arise.
We are so close.