Saturday, February 24, 2007


I must say I have been procrastinating a lot on my university application. The last time I did any application to a university was in 1996. I only applied to one university when I was looking for a university in the US.

Back then when I was studying in KDU doing the American University Transfer Program (AUTP), I didn't know which university to apply too. Two of my friends were also doing the same major as me, Siva and Kay. Kay said she was applying to St. Cloud State University as one of our senior Fiona was also studying there doing what we wanted to do. So I said, "okay, that'll do, I'll go there".

I couldn't afford all the dream universities I really wanted to go too like NYU or UCLA. Back then, I frankly didn't even know where St. Cloud was. I when to the resource centre in KDU and looked up the map for Minnesota. All I saw was that it was near the great lakes. I thought, "Cool, it's got water nearby".

My parents didn't agree with my choice at first, telling me it was going to be really cold. I thought to myself, "Ah, cold ain't so bad... after all, I've been to Genting, sounds like fun!" Man, sometimes I wish I would have listened to my parents back then. They even got my aunt to come over to explain to me about winter. My aunt said, "winter is so cold, even your jeans wouldn't be enough, you would have to wear something under it." I thought it sounded silly... wear something under your jeans? What? So hot already some more want to wear stuff under it ah? Where can?

Anyway, I send of the university application and crossed my fingers and waited for a reply. I didn't tell my parents it was the only university I applied too. Hey, it was St Cloud State University. No one had even heard of it, they wouldn't reject me right? If I was applying to NYU then maybe I'll start putting out applications to other universities. So foolhardy of me.

After a long wait, I got my acceptance letter... woohoo! I took the I-20 letter and when to the embassy to get my visa. Back then security wasn't as tight as it was now. So there were the 3 of us... me, Siva and Kay that got accepted to the same university. Of all the dumb thing, we all applied to go in the winter quarter. While most university had the semester system, SCSU was still using the quarter system (quarter system divided one academic year into 4, while a semester system divided one academic year into 3).

So I when shopping for winter clothes. I found the cheapest red fluffy jacket I could find. I think I bought it at Isetan. I found a nice pair of gloves to go with it. I tried on the jacket and thought, "damn, so hot wearing this... I think this is over kill".

Soon, the time came to leave. Back then, we still used to old Subang airport. Wasn't too far a drive from my house. Only a handful of my friends came to see me of. Back then it was a tradition to send of all those from AUTP who were leaving for the US. However, I was in KDU for almost 2 years so almost all my friends had already left by then. Me and Siva got on the plane and flew to Changi airport in Singapore to meet up with Kay.

It was quite a long flight and I don't remember much. We transit in Narita in Japan and then in LA then to Minneapolis, the capital of Minnesota. When we touched down at Minneapolis. I walked out of the plane and into the tunnel connecting the plane to the terminal. I saw a crack in the joint and it was full of ice. I looked out the winter and it was snowing heavily. I thought to myself, "hrmm, a bit chilly here... just like Genting at night!".

So we all walked of to wait for the connecting flight to take us to St. Cloud (it was actually only 1.5 hours drive away). Like flying from KL to Melaka! It was a small plane, kind of like what Air Asia uses so we had to walk out to the tarmac. We were all excited as we were finally going out into the snow. We put on our jacket, gloves and head gear. I was thinking, "cool! finally get to experience winter!". There weren't many people waiting for the plane. Was only a handful of people. When they opened the door and we walked out, this extremely cold blast of air hit me in the face. I could instantly feel the chill going straight through my extremely "thin" winter wear. We all ran to the plane giggling. I managed to scooped up some snow while running to the plane to examine the texture of it. I thought, "aik, just like the frost in the freezer yah!"

While we were sitting in the plane on the tarmac, the pilot announced there was a slight delay as they had to de-ice the wings of the plane. Damn, there was a heavy snowstorm and the flaps of the plane was all frozen over. As the plane was going down the runway, it was really bumpy and that was really scarry. Through out the flight, it was really bumpy because of the snow storm. I kept worrying whether the flaps of the plane would freeze over. I looked out the window and all I saw was white.

Even though it was only in the afternoon, it was already pitch black as evening comes early in winter. When we finally landed in St Cloud, it was a really small airport. It was modern, but small. Kinda reminded me of the Ipoh airport back then. Fiona was there with a few of her friends to greet us. I was glad we had someone to pick us up, because the airport was a really lonely place. On the drive back to campus, I looked out the window and everything was just white. I couldn't tell the building from the trees or from the cars. It was still snowing heavily and sitting in the car, I was already shivering as I wasn't able to move.

Later only did I found out that the temperature was between -25F to -30F. The news report said it was colder than the weather in the Antarctica. Damn, straight from hot sweaty Malaysia to -25F St. Cloud.

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