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. We return back to the college and at the beginning of our 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 interchangeably explained our stories about going to Bunbury, Busselton, and Margaret River area. 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 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 smiled, 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. 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 spread the story about being served dinner by Denise to my Indonesian friends. Although it may sounds funny and amusing for teenager like me back then, had Denise heard about that she would have gone 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 she didn’t always give warm response. Sometime she would say plain “Hi!” or even ignored me, whom would made me felt heartbroken.

But her biggest blow towards me eventually came during a gathering at Queens on one Friday. Everyone was sitting on the outdoor table: I, Heinz, Sung Ho, Woo Jae, Denise, Maria, and Milo presided over the gathering. 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, it will be remembered 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, trying to hold my emotional outburst and remain composed. I quietly sulked while Denise looked at me with an expression that was like combination between disappointment, sad, dismayed, and possibly disgusted too. Basically our relationship was at low ebb, and never recovered at all.

Admittedly, at this point, I lost my motivation to study. Combination of my polarized perception of Denise’s attitude towards me 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 try to calm and control myself, although admittedly I frequently sobbed.

But once, I did openly say this during an oral English speaking exam. 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. 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.

My affair with Denise apparently caught the attention of fellow Indonesian students. Some tries to comfort me (like what Alvin did), but for Hudi he obviously made fun of it and often teased me whenever I was close to Denise. He simply “poured the gasoline” and made the story spread like wildfires among the other Indonesian students.

But oddly, at some other times Hudi can occasionally 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.

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 on the pavement just outside fence also awed. It was such a blessing that we could see a “free striptease show” in our campus!



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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