Last week, I went on a trip to Cameron Highlands with some other exchange students. It was a very "touristy" type trip, we made stops at all the popular attractions there, but still a wonderful, surprisingly thought-provoking time.
The first day we went to a lettuce farm, a honey farm, a rose garden, and a butterfly house. While the aforementioned places were really interesting, the rose garden was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. The path we followed wound through aisles of vibrant blooms, the sweet, slightly cloy smell of roses and other flowers following us down the rocky path. It was slightly Wizar of Oz-esque, albeit yellow bricks and flying monkeys. The air that day was cool and damp, keeping away the bees and covering the silky flower petals with diamond-like dewdrops. When the sun managed to peek through, it reflected off the droplets, casting tiny bands of lights onto the ground. The path ultimately climbed to an incredible mountaintop garden with an unbelievable view. Despite the overcast, the view was still breath-taking. Every way you looked were these luscious green hills bordering the horizon. Sunset hued hibiscus dotted the landscape, adding tiny bursts of color to the Tudor-style houses that were nestled among the green. The clouds hung low on the mountain, seeming to hover just above the few, somehow out-of-place hotels. Surrounded by purely natural and Malaysian beauty, that spot on the mountain, made me realize how absolutely blessed I am. How many people can see they were rendered speechless by a view on not even a particularly clear day? At age 15, halfway across the world? Sometimes it takes a hike to the top of the mountain and time to look around to realize how absolutely blessed I am to be here this year.
The rest of the trip was lovely of course, but that moment really stuck with me. Our multi-cultural group traipsed from tourist point to tourist point, enjoying the experience of being foreign in a country we now call home-- stopping to pray at a Buddhist temple, preparing a salad from freshly harvested garden vegetables, even sipping on peppermint mochas in a cozy Starbucks, the reflections from on top of the hill stuck with me. Though this experience is extremely challenging, it's the little things that make it worth it. Excuse me speaking in cliches, but vignettes- whether holding a conversation with a shopkeeper in Malay, I love you texts from a host mother, or sipping teh tarik while thunder booms in the distance- are what makes up the experience. Not everyday is going to be an adventurous adventure around Malaysia, and that's what makes exchange beautiful.
|My favorite picture of the group I think|
|Pictures cannot do the view justice|
, by Hannah