Living in Wichita in the early 80’s has indeed defined my life in many ways. It was the prime time of my adolescence and come to think of it, right now, I feel the details of those moments have later on become a big chapter of my life. But the life I was living back then was as flat as the land of the Midwest itself. There was nothing extra-ordinary to it but being in the strange land surrounded by strange people carved a strange character without much effort. I learnt a lot of things over there, well, since that time of your life you started to know many things , of course you must experience a lot of learning. The thing that I treasure until this day is the part when I learnt how to choose and make decision on my own. Somehow you have to because of you living away from your parents and what not. I made a lot decisions and lived with the consequences of what I have decided. Sometime there were good decisions but mostly there were plain stupid, so I thought. When I look back OMG why did I do that, or that? But hey who cares! I have survived through that you know. I learnt how to drive although my car was sitting there parking most of the time. It was an old Mazda RX-7. When my friend Azmi wanted to buy his car I kinda ask him to buy one for me. Just like when you know a friend going travelling you kinda ask him to buy you a cool t-shirt. It was like that and the car cost me 400 dollars. But the car broke down most of the time; I changed the exhaust system once for 400 dollars and still it could not run as well as it should be . Bad decision. Once I drove it to the mosque for a maghrib prayer and hit a sign post . That was the end of it; I just left it there by the road side and the next time I passed by, it was towed away. I had a Ford Fiesta once; nice little car that I paid for 700 dollars. It ran better than my other cars and used it to drive everywhere during that summer. I brought Abdul fatah to test drive the car when I wanted to buy it but I spoilt the negotiation. He was furious. Someone told me that these people prefer cash buy(well who doesn’t, duh!) so right away I offered him cash well before Abdul fatah said anything. Why did you ask me to come along if you want to do that? He was obviously upset. I felt bad and it was really stupid of me; I could get the car for a lot less. Another lesson for me, don’t rush into things.
Love life. Well that was the time when everybody else was having a good love life except me ( and a few other losers like me..hahaha). It did not bother me that much actually because I did not know how to anyway. I found fun and laughter with the guys until sometimes I wondered if I was gay. The AIDS disease was found in 83-84 so I just came to know what “gay” means. But to manage love life (or sex life) was really a daunting task for me. So I just let it go without putting much effort into it.
Read about my other recollections here and here.
Academically, it was hard as well. But Alhamd I manage to get through. I learnt Computer Science without knowing how great the technology will be later on in life. I did programming by punching holes in a card; so ancient that my student could not imagine how. So you carried a round a stack of cards in your bag? Heck yes! And imagine also if that stack of cards fell off and scattered all over the place; you would be devastated. But I persevered and dragged my self one semester after another, only to know later in life that programming skill is the lifeline of my career. I also struggled with English (read here!) but later on came to love the language; and now I will never let it go. Everyday I will write in English and brush up my grammar as well as vocabs. I’m still sometime confuse between “is” and “are”, the active and passive verbs etc but the beauty is that the language is so rich and vast you won’t get to the end of it. But in the end I did not make good grades just a pass. I felt nothing to cherish or to shout out loud; I did not bother to attend the convocation. What the heck for?
And in the summer of 1987 Ahmad Azhar Wagiran and Mazlan(thank you guys!) drove me to Peoria ,IL for my grad school. Another exciting chapter of my life was about to begin.