... in which I kill time by the hour ...

Nov 7, 2012

All my crays~

I purposefully put off writing this blogpost for this particular day to rub all my crays in your face.

More than a month or so ago, my day started out perfectly. 
Made it to Uni on time and the first class of the day was Bio, about the only interesting class I had this past semester - I will always love Bio no matter how sadistic a subject it is and how much whining I'm holding back about it, but that's another story - and my prof starts off what's looking to be a good day with,

"So, who's signed up to go to Japan?"

Needless to say, that caught my attention faster than the huge honking double-decker bus that nearly killed me (and Rif) on a Malaysian highway once upon a time.

I whipped around in my seat so fast the chair jarred over the floor and stared at the prof with such a stronger version of the deer-caught-in-the-headlights look than I gave the double-decker, that my prof actually looked mildly startled at my reaction. (I may or may not have also been wearing a very demented leer on my face, which could possibly have been a contributing factor).

She then told us about Kizuna, the student exchange programme the Japanese government is funding for fifteen Uni students to go to Japan. The prof was really enthusiastic about the idea, 'cause it'll be a wonderful experience and all. 

My friends Di and Naai and I were really excited about the prospect. Actually, they have no idea how excited I really was, 'cause won't lie, the second thing that popped into my head was, 'Huzzah, I now totes have a chance of bragging about this to Nao, Rif and Neji mwahahaha >8D!" 
(The first thing was something along the lines of, "ALSKJDLFHJKASHFSKAJHFA JAPAN ASLJKDHJKF NIHON AJSHKJSDFH OSAKA AKLJSDFHAJKLSFHJ TOKYO KJHSAKJHKJLHA CULTURE AKLJAHLKJHF FOOD ALKSJFDAKLS KANSAI BEN ALKSHLHJKHFJH KANJANI8 AKLJDHJAKLSDFHAJKSFH MY LIFE IS REACHING COMPLETION")

I totally blame my prof for my ensuing lack of concentration during the remainder of the class.

As soon as lectures were over, we ran to check the noticeboard and were like, "WTF THE DEADLINE IS BY 3.00 PM TODAY WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PLACE?!" 
Not that that really deterred us. We immediately downloaded the application forms and had them printed out like a baws before the rest of the students even really knew what was going on. (Speed and being silent about what we were up to were very important, because there were only 15 available places and priority would be given to third-years. >.< I'm only a second-year, but my marks are good and the notice did say that the Japanese would be looking at academic achievement too, so I had high hopes...)

And then things took a turn for the worse. I was in the middle of filling out my application when my third-year guy friend appeared and admitted he'd love to go to Japan as well, but he was not applying.

"Why the heck not??" I mean, c'mon, the chance was freakin' here!

"Because I can't . My passport's expired. So I chucked the application."

... passport?

Which was when the first stirrings of dread started creeping up my back. I flipped through my form and saw that, indeed, a copy of my passport needed to be attached. And it also struck me that I had no idea when my passport had last been renewed.

So, I panicked and called up Dad, but it wasn't like he had a miraculous photographic memory, either. I could barely sit still, waiting for him to pick me up so we could go home and actually check. In the meantime, the calculating started:

"I went to India in 2007, so I definitely had my passport made or renewed that time, but that's 5 years ago and my passport might have expired month-wise by now," I ranted to politely-listening-guy-friend. 'But wait! I did go to Malaysia 2 years ago - but argh! I can't remember whether my passport was renewed then. If it was, it won't be expired now, but if it wasn't, it totally could be expired and sh!t, I need to send in my application today, I can't possibly renew my passport now in less than four hours -!"

He was nice enough to not tell me to shut the heck up. 
(During my period of panicking, I also did overhear that some third-year girl had gone to renew her passport that morning itself, but it takes at least 24 hours for that, doesn't it? :/)

Dad was really trying to assure me as we sped home that there was still a chance that my passport's valid and everything turns out for the best, but I really was not listening. My once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of going to Japan solely depended on that one date printed in a little navy blue book. 
I probably irritated the heck out of my dad as I paced around agitatedly while he hunted down my passport and, somehow, even then, even before my dad flipped the hateful little thing open, I just knew there was no chance. The feeling had been growing ever since my friend had brought up the passport topic at Uni. I'm not usually a negative person, but I just knew. 

And I was right. My passport had expired five months ago. 

The disappointment you suffer really is much too painful once you've seriously gotten your hopes up for something. Even though I knew what was coming, I still couldn't speak. My throat actually got clogged up. I remember that I handed the passport back to Dad and left for my room without saying a single word and then I locked myself up and just ... existed, for the next few hours.

Before that day, I had never even dared to delude myself into thinking I might ever be able to go to Japan, which actually is one of my greatest wishes. I'm well aware of my situation in life. My family is not rich and we have our debts and I just never allowed myself to dream of extravagant vacations or trips. And then this golden opportunity where the whole trip is funded by the Japanese government cropped up and I couldn't even apply. Even if I wouldn't have been picked as one of the lucky 15, I'd have wanted the chance of being a legit possible candidate, but I lost that, too. 

I'm not blaming anyone, though, especially my dad. I could see my reaction had really affected him and he apologised for having neglected the passport renewal issue, but people in my family hardly travel at all because we can't afford to, so I totally do understand why he didn't bother renewing my passport earlier or anything. I mean, this was completely unforeseen. But it still hurt, the disappointment. It was despair, actually.

The day passed with my sister sympathizing and trying to reassure me, and my mum kicking up a fuss that I should still apply with my old passport for now and hand in my new passport later. When Di called me and said she didn't even have a passport and would have to make one, I finally decided to pitch in whatever luck we might have and called Student Support.

I made a point of telling the lady over the phone that you people are heartless cruel morons for putting out that notice with only hours left to the deadline, all you sons of - it was hardly fair for students to be expected to get everything ready on such short notice, how most of us only knew of the Kizuna exchange only that morning itself and that there were some students who needed to make/renew passports still. It was a Thursday and I knew Uni would be closed over the weekend, but after making the afore-mentioned argument, I asked very reasonably if we could send in the applications on Saturday instead. She said no, they won't be open on Saturday. 

"Then how about Sunday by 3?"

"We need to ship off all the applications to Japan on Sunday, so no."

"OK, first thing Sunday morning at 8, then?!" <--I was legit begging by this point.

"There won't be enough time to make all the arrangements, so no. We can accept applications only by 3.00 pm this afternoon and they must contain a copy of a valid passport."

I was ready to flip the whole world by then.
The lady also explained that they too had received the Kizuna thing very late and that they "put it up on the noticeboard as soon as we could", but that was only the day before. I'd probably left Uni before they put it up 'cause I finish early on Wednesdays, which was most likely why I didn't know then. If I had, I could have renewed my passport for Thursday and applied T.T

(The lady also did make a very snide comment in a very polite voice, "ID cards and passports are nationally important things that must be always renewed and kept at the ready for unprecedented emergencies like this. It is part of a citizen's responsibility". What she said is true, but it really struck a nerve and I now wish I hadn't been polite enough to hold my tongue and retort, "RENEWING PASSPORTS ARE FOOKING EXPENSIVE, BISH. OBVIOUSLY IF PEOPLE DON'T OFTEN TRAVEL, THEY WOULDN'T RENEW IT SO DILIGENTLY. AND FOOK ALL OF YOU, WE STUDENTS DESERVE TO KNOW OF THINGS LIKE THESE TRIPS AT LEAST A WEEK - NOT SIX BLOODY HOURS - BEFORE THE DEADLINE, DON'T YOU DARE PLAY THE VICTIM HERE.")

Our luck dried out on that front, too. Di just sighed and gave up when I told her, but it wasn't as easy for me. Unlike Di, who is just adventurous and wanted to try something new and see a new place, I actually wanted to go to Japan. Not just some random country. I've seen glimpses of the places and culture there from in front of a PC screen for years now and I wanted to go there and experience it for myself. 

My mum really dissed the Uni management for their poor handling and not giving us enough time and all that, but it didn't make me feel much better. And Dad was still feeling guilty about the passport thing, though I did tell him I understood and that I didn't blame him. But I was still in depression. "It's Japan. Just how many opportunities would someone like me, in a situation like mine, ever get to go to Japan?" I pointed out to my parents. And they know how much I love the Japanese culture and how obsessed I've been about that place for so long and how much I want to go there.

When I say I was in depression, it's not just a figure of speech. I was actually truly depressed for the first time I can ever really remember. My parents and sisters tried to cheer me up and they did point out how things happened for the better, even if we can't see it. What really made an impact is what my dad told me, ever so seriously, 
"Before this morning, you never even thought a chance to go to Japan would come up, did you? You never saw it coming. That's how things work. Imagine what might happen in the future, the unforeseen chances that might come up, just like today. Because things didn't work out the way you wanted them to this time, don't ever say you lost your only chance. Just like today, another chance - your real chance may come again in the future, and when it does, it will be better and just right for you, insha Allah. We as humans can never know when and how Allah will give us his blessings. So, don't feel depressed about what you think you lost, when in fact, there may be so much more to gain - now or in the future - even if you don't realise it at the moment."
I really appreciated it, because I know he's right. And it did make me feel a bit better in my heart, though I remained broody and depressed the rest of the day. Dad spontaneously took me out for Marry Brown and we talked a bit more over fried chicken, and then later we all had dinner at my aunt's 'cause my cuz Nutti's mum and stepdad were leaving for Hajj. 

I guess my depression really showed, because they asked what was with my face and the topic cropped up again. There were a lot of sympathizing and pitying, and Nutti, who also attends the same Uni as me, suddenly exclaimed that she saw the Kizuna notice on Wednesday itself. But she wasn't interested in going to Japan and didn't know I'd want to go, which is why she ignored it and didn't tell me. But if she had told me on Wednesday, though... 
Despite my father's words, all these little what-ifs of how I could have made it to Japan really got me down again and I got all the more upset and broody.

I later felt guilty about it, though, because the fact that I hardly ever cracked a smile, or talked and the blatant depressed look on my face that lasted the entire night apparently affected my aunt. Because, I guess she's so used to me being hyper and happy whenever I go over. I really couldn't help it, though.

I was feeling a tiny bit more normal and like myself the next day. Not totally though, mostly because in light of recent regrettable events, Dad took it upon himself to have all our passports renewed - which cost a fooking bish - immediately, but the whole time, in some deep dark corner of my mind, I was just thinking how it doesn't even matter anymore, because what's the point, I can't go to Japan now anyway. The depression went away more the next day and  more the next and so on. 
And now my exams are over - ended yesterday, actually - but the depression mildly came back again now. Because today or tonight - maybe even right now as I type this - fifteen lucky Maldivian University students are boarding a flight to Tokyo and I can't help thinking that I could have been one of them.

My dad is right and maybe one day, the chance for me will come again. Who knows. But for today, I'll just remain depressed, thinking of my lost golden opportunity to the land where the sun rises. It was a freakin' perfect chance. And I lost it.

Appropriate macro that would be funny if it were not so very very very true.