I think you see the world in a completely different light when you travel around, observe, adapt, and come back to the place you've lived in for 21 years of your life. And I don't mean bad-different. I mean appreciative-different.
How I love the traffic jams, the tinted white of peeling walls, the hint of little bustling activities everywhere, casual talk in a 'lah' and 'lor' slang I thought was grammatically right all my life, the slacked back attitude you can feel in the air when there's a public holiday..
How I miss events that reoccur in my mind when I see the little trinkets placed around my bedroom; memories gathered from young, kept to remind. How I miss seeing the little details in my mum's daily routine, like the sound of her feet shuffling down the stairs at a certain time in the morning, or the loud sound of pots, pans, and oil from her cooking.
Friends, family, and memories with them are very important elements that give rise to culture. And so I don't believe that going somewhere that is a 'model-country' or 'developed-country' should have a scorecard on it with all the right ticks. Being exposed is important, learning new things are important, but the values and environment you were brought up in is most important.
Culture and identity, is something so rich and we're thankful to have that. Now I've been avoiding bringing this up because I wanted to reflect on my own feelings of nostalgia. But being someone who's studied abroad in Melbourne, coming back to Malaysia has made me realise how diverse, cultural, and full of potential we are. I disagree when someone tells me that Melbourne multicultural too. We need to understand what is culture, and I think that it is something embedded in ourselves, giving rise to so many different events and habits in life. It is not merely a mix of different people from different countries living in the same place.
Home can never be different. The little things in the place that you belong to will always be your home, and your identity. I miss and love my Malaysia. I choose to see her for her good differences.