“Away too soon. It’s OK Mom.”

I remember the time when I was attending my secondary school. It was a boarding school where most people said that the school was among the best in the state. That is the fact.

I left home as early as 13 years old, when I did not have much chance to learn managing household chores, what more cooking. 35 years back, it is a must for a girl to be able to cook, clean and master the skills of managing a home.

My mother told me that at times, she felt guilty of letting me away from home too soon. Yes, I was the first and only girl in my family who left home very early.

My day was mainly spent in activity areas, hall, classrooms, hostel and other areas available there. Only during school holidays, when the school closed, everyone including myself will be at home. The longest holiday will be 4 weeks in December and the rest are mid term-breaks which mainly only a week or two.

So far, this does sound as the ugly parts of my story.

Related article : Storytelling

In school, the routine was usual. Classes during the first half of the day. Prep class in the afternoon, which continue after dinner. We perform ‘solat’ (prayer) at the ‘surau’ and take breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner at the main dining hall.

We queue to take our food, which was mainly served in a plastic tray with compartment. One compartment for rice, another two compartment for another 2 type of dishes which normally vegetables and fish or chicken. Then, we take our drink from a big water dispenser using plastic cups, which was neatly arranged.

We sit at a long table with chairs quietly and eat. Then, we queue again to put our trays and throw any wastage into a big bin. There was a cleaning area where normally the dining hall helpers will clean them all. There was also another big bin for us to put our plastic cups.

The similar routine happens every time we went to the dining hall for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. Everything was scheduled and planned and it must be completed in certain period of time.

During prayer, which is 5 times a day, we all went to ‘surau’. It was made compulsory. Those who were not, reprimanded by the seniors. Well, that how discipline goes for students like me those days in the boarding schools.

There are rules, routine and a group of seniors who watched over you. That was definitely something that could not happen at home.

Yes, I was away from home too soon.
To my mother, I told her that what she did was nothing more than what was best for me.

The experience during the full 5 years spent in the boarding school, has deeply impact my life and the way I personally reacted to time and schedule.

It was an experience, which one can describe as an ugly story or a painful truth. For me, it was always great to live life. As much as we wanted to design in, the fact remains, that Allah is the best creator.

Well, have you ever share ugly parts of your story?

It could be the best journey that made what you are today.
It made you human, able to connect to others and most of all, it humbles you.

Noraminah Omar

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