Remembering 1997: The Sweetest Year in My Life (Part 23):

After a tiring journey last weekend, I finally return back to the college again on following Monday. At the beginning of the class Milo greeted everyone and asked us how the weekend was. Everyone explaining their stories as usual, ranging from staying at home until going to places around Perth city like Fremantle or Rottnest Island.

But when it came to me and Heinz’s turn, the story got a bit interesting. We told our stories about vacationing in Bunburt and Margaret River, including the door banging incident in Dunsborough.

Everyone was amazed, because it was the first time that an Asian student going on weekend trip together with the Swiss or Europeans during the weekend.

Normally, the interactions between the Asians and Swiss are limited, owing to combination of lack of confidence among the Asian students and arrogance in Swiss side. So such thing was considered “first time such thing ever happened”. Indeed, I would give the credit to Heinz’s open mindedness.

Asian students from Japan and Indonesia enjoying their lunch break in front of the canteen. Hudi can be seen holding a plate.

The door banging incident in Dunsborough also came to light during discussion in the class. Heinz told everyone that at one night he heard “some banging noises” from the back of the cabin, and everyone staring at me and giggled, thinking that I might have had sex with the ladies. Milo asked to me “What did you do to the girls, Bagus?” I replied “Nothing! I was just going to the toilet!” Milo replied “Okay..okay, we believe you.” And the class burst into laughter. Sung Ho laughed at me and saying “Bagus, you’re nuts! I truly envy you!”

During the break, I catch up again with Heinz as well as Denise and Maria. Heinz asked me to pay $80 for the shared cost of our trip. Well, apparently it wasn’t that free after all. So I promptly paid the fee.

Our trip, as well as door banging incident, apparently also becomes talked about topic among the Swiss too. Denise and Maria had developed and printed the photos, and showing them to everyone too. They marveled the photos of all destination that we visited, and keen to go there. But the photos of me wearing winter jacket against the backdrop of sunny weather and the bikini clad Swiss girls, plus the photo of me slumped on the chair (when I got emotional) in Dunsburough also became laughing stock among the Swiss students.

Well, some Swiss students find it quite amusing. Maybe because they rarely mingle with Asians so such thing is quite unusual. I remember how Bruno* also laughed hard about the door banging incident.

But since then, my relationship with Denise grew uneasy. I became obsessed with her, which in turn made Denise felt uncomfortable with me. I simply couldn’t control my emotion, so much that I sometime brag my story about being served dinner by Denise to my Indonesian friends. Although it may sounds amusing for teenager like me back then, it would have made Denise embarrassed and probably angry.

I have to admit that whenever I see Denise, I became emotional. I was expecting that she would be more close, can be more intimate at me, but in reality she was just like what she was before. When she warmly replied my greetings, I would be overjoyed. But when she would only say plain “Hi!” or even ignored me, I would be very heartbroken. Sometime I barely able to contain my emotion in this matter.

However, one day Denise delivered her biggest blow towards me during a gathering at Queens on one Friday.

On that day everyone was sitting casually on the outdoor table as usual: I, Heinz, Sung Ho, Woo Jae, Denise, Maria, and Milo sat and chatting while enjoying the drinks. He asked everyone about what will we do after our course ended. Everyone delivered their answers, ranging from continuing their study in university in Australia, returning back to work in their home countries, or simply going to adventure.

However, when Denise delivered her answer, I will remember it as one of the biggest disappointment in my life. Denise said “I will return back to my country, resuming work, and marrying my boyfriend!” I was shocked, dumbfounded, and quickly drooped upon hearing that she will marry another man. I tried to contain my emotional outburst and remain composed. I quietly sulked on my chair while Denise looked at me with an expression that was like combination between disappointment, sad, dismayed, and possibly disgusted too. Basically our relationship went downhill, and never recovered at all.

This drama made me lost my motivation to study. Combination of my obsession towards Denise as well as (possibly) boredom, did take its toll. Although Heinz and Sung-Ho was still in the same class as me, I just couldn’t control my emotion (although I never openly expressing it in the class). This affecting my study in the class as I had hard times absorbing what was explained by Milo.  Every night I would cry in the bedroom, and having hard time trying to calm and control myself.

I was too embarrassed to discuss this with Sirajs or my parents back home, because I had a feeling that they would deliver the response that wouldn’t satisfy my youthful self.

But once, I did openly say my emotional problem during one oral English speaking exam. As usual, Milo, being innovative and “out-of-the box” in his approach in teaching English occasionally held individual English speaking exam where he would interview each students to assess their English speaking skill. I would normally pass this exam without too much trouble. But one day, I struggled to do it. Milo saw that something troubled me and asked what the problem is. I replied that whenever I’m heartbroken, it would affect my foreign language capability. I also saying that this is due to Denise’s rejection. Milo comforting me by saying that everything would be fine and resolved. He also said an old English proverb “There are a lot of fish in the sea” which mean that there are plenty of girls out there that can replace Denise.

In light of my emotional outcry with Denise, some Indonesian students tries to comfort me (like what Alvin did). Alvin told me that everything will be alright. Deddy* also give me consolation that God will not put human being in too much trouble and advised me to pray more for consolation as well as solution of the problem.

But for Hudi reaction was quite polarized. On one side he made fun of it and often teased me whenever I was close to Denise. He would simply “poured the gasoline” and made the story spread like wildfires among the other Indonesian students. But oddly, at some other times Hudi can made serious opinion regarding to Swiss girl, in comparison to Japanese, and giving me wise advice. He said that Japanese are very easy to approach, while Swiss girls are very difficult. Despite the fact that the Swiss Germans are more refined than Australians, we often found that most of them seem to restrict themselves from interacting with us, the Indonesians or Asians. Hudi advised me, in friendly manner, that it would have been better if I move along from Denise or those Swiss girls.

Amidst the low point of my relationship with Denise, one day I saw a sight that I will never forget. It was hot and sunny day after class. Some students gather in the courtyard to relax, while some head back home. I saw Denise and Maria went into the pool at the back of the campus. They seemed to be so excited that they trotted into the pool. Suddenly, Denise stripped her clothing into her bikini and jumped into the pool! Maria soon followed. I was totally amazed by what I see, and some Japanese students who walked just outside the fence were also awed. It was such a blessing that we were treated with “free striptease show” in our campus!

TO BE CONTINUED

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About bagus70

I'm an adventurous railfans who love to seek out the world of railway, beyond the border of my office.
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