Remembering 1997: The Sweetest Year in My Life (Part 29):

Eventually, my study at St. Mark’s and in Australia has come to an end. It has been a very colorful and emotional period for me. What was initially thought to be a strenuous and dull studying program, turned out to be a largely fun, and even emotional experience. Before I depart to Australia, I thought I was going to meet and dealt with strict and demanding teachers like what I had in my English language program in Surabaya. But instead, I met a group of pleasant and hospitable teachers who didn’t just help me to learn English like local Australians, but also helped me to adjust the Australian or Western standard while avoiding culture shock. All was done in fun manner. The study itself was honestly easy, indeed too easy to be true. So much that non-studying and playing activities truly dominated my time in Australia. I had become rather complacent and lazy by the end of my study.

And the only form of culture shock that I endured during my study in Australia wasn’t adjusting with the Australians culture and discipline. But instead, what I claimed as “culture shock” (I was just a young teenager who haven’t learn much about the tough world) at that time was my futile effort to win love from Denise. I was so intoxicated in love, really madly and deeply obsessed with Denise at that time. Her changing attitudes, one time she was attentive but at the other time she ignored me, truly hurt me. My heart was like a ship in rough seas back then. Had my study program was a serious one, it would have resulted in my failure. But thankfully, the study program was really forgiving and laidback.

On Monday, I returned back to the college, this time with my parents. I went to collect my certificate, as well as bade farewell to some staffs that I know. My father also catches up with the head of the college, whom he personally knows. I also managed to catch up with my friends to say goodbye. I met Alvin, Hudi, and also some Swiss like Anouchka and Pierre to say goodbye. It has been wonderful time that I was able to meet with them.

Apparently, the sendoff didn’t go without incident. I met Anouchka on the library entrance, after I bid farewell to the library staffs. I shook hand with her, and wished her good luck with her study. She also congratulates me and also wishing me good luck for the future. But as I walked down the stair, I suddenly slipped and almost fell. But fortunately, I was able to hold on the railings and able to save myself from falling flat into the floor. Anouchka giggled upon seeing this carnage. That was my last day in St. Mark’s International College.

The view of quiet St. Mark’s campus. 

On our last day in Perth, Siraj invited us for farewell dinner. That would be really lovely. So in the evening, we dressed up for the occasion and have ourselves ready for the special occasion. My parents were also excited to meet Shuhai and Shimla again.

After waiting for some time in the hotel’s lobby, Siraj eventually arrived and picked us up. My father was puzzled on why he came alone. Siraj replied that his family was busy accompanying visiting distant relatives who made impromptu visit. Well, of course as a result we got ample of space inside the car for us.

Siraj took us to a Sizzler restaurant at Dianella, which is located several kilometers to the north of our hotel. This was my second visit to this restaurant, as Shiraj had invited me to this restaurant before, along with Shah Jehan, Feroza, Danny*, Erick*, and of course the little kids. While for my parents this was their first and only visit to the restaurant. We truly enjoyed the meal served in here. I ordered seafood platter, while my parents ordered steak.

Enjoying dinner at Sizzler restaurant in Dianella with my landlord, Siraj Haniffa.

While we were having dinner, my parents and Siraj also having some light conversation. Siraj mention several things that I’ve never heard before. Apparently he first came to Australia as a student. He initially came to pursue Postgraduate study. In order to support himself, he also did part time job. Along the way, he also tries his luck applying for Australian permanent residency.

Since the immigration law in 1990s wasn’t as strict as in the years after “Boat People Crisis” in 2000, he could obtain his permanent residency without too much troubles and able to get same rights and benefits of Australian citizen. He later decided to marry Feroza (I didn’t know if he choose to marry Feroza on his own freewill, or was it arranged marriage), bringing her to here and raising family in Australia. As a result, he abandoned his study and decided to work full time as taxi driver since then, to support his young family.

Once we finished the dinner, we paid the bill. Although Shiraj initially wants to pay our entire bill, my father intervened and eventually does the paying for all of us. We head back to the hotel for rest and relax.

Well, actually that night I won’t stay with my parents as I had to stay for one more night in Shiraj’s house to pack my bags and belongings. After dropping my parents at Pacific motel, Shiraj took me to the house. While driving along, I notice something unusual. As we get closer to our neighborhood, Shiraj became increasingly nervous. His driving style was quite aggressive. At that time, I didn’t have any unusual feelings over that because once in a while he would drove like that. As soon as he dropped me in front of the house, he bid farewell because he is “late for working shift”, and quickly zipped his car away. Oh well, he probably was scared if he would face penalty for being late.

I walked into the house and using the key to open the front door. Upon entering the house, I was shocked by what I see. The telephone lay on the floor with its handset cable broke off. The cabinet where the phone is normally placed on its top fell off. I saw some wet slimy patches on the floor. The dining chairs fell off, some pillows and papers scattered on the floor. I was wondering, what have happened?

When I went into the kitchen, the scene was even more shocking. Some plates and cups seem to have been thrown around, and their shard scattered around the floor. I saw some shrimps, vegetables, spices, knifes, and cutting board filled the sink.

I assume, Feroza was probably wanted to invite for a dinner at home, and even prepared the meal. But Shiraj had other idea (which eventually materialized). A heated argument probably erupted, which led to this chaotic scene. It was totally nightmare to see how messy the house was.

I couldn’t found Wahyu* or Shah Jehan. They were out somewhere. I tried to find the kids, and eventually find Suhail* walking around in the backyard, while Shimla sat on the couch. Although the kids looked shaken, I’m glad that they were unharmed and unscathed. I was thinking, they shouldn’t be out in the backyard at around this time. I asked Suhail about what has happened. He was too shaken to describe. Poor little boy shouldn’t have witnessed such domestic violence.

Feroza is nowhere to be seen. I wonder where she is. I looked around the house, searching in the bathroom, then Erick’s former room, and couldn’t find her. Then I bravely entered their messy bedroom, and there I found Feroza lying unconscious in the alleyway inside. She looked injured. Her hand looks bloody, and there were some small cuts on her cheek. Her face looks puffy and tearful. I was scared. Is she okay? If something goes horribly wrong with her, I would surely be tangled in legal troubles and my return journey would be delayed.

I tried to wake her up. At first I whisper at her and no response. Then I poked her shoulder, and suddenly she woke up and went into rage! She goes berserk, and went around the house, shouting incoherently. She occasionally vomited on the floor. And all while her children looked on in frightened mood. I tried to calm her, but she scolded me instead.

In the middle of this chaos, suddenly Shah Jehan and Wahyu* return back home and come to the rescue. I asked them where they have been. Both answered that they were out in the city. Actually they departed separately, on different purposes, but since they caught up in the city they decided to head back home together in Shah Jehan’s car.

Shah Jehan was stunned by what he saw, and quickly tended his bloody and distraught sister, and also calming down the kids and taking them to the bed. He then kneels next to Feroza and had some long conversation with her.

While Shah Jehan calmed Feroza down, I asked Wahyu if he had seen the incident from the beginning. Wahyu replied that he did actually saw the beginning of what would eventually develop into this incident. It was around afternoon when he saw Feroza returning from supermarket, and bringing home some fancy ingredients. Upon seeing that, Shiraj suddenly said something that angered Feroza. Then both began to start argument. At first, Wahyu didn’t think much because both are sometime went into fierce argument at the other occassions, but most of the time ended peacefully. So he didn’t get any suspicious about that. He later left to the city, without having any hint that the debate would end up like this.

After a while, Shah Jehan managed to fully calm down Feroza and tending her wound. He returning back to us and telling us the story. He said that Feroza need a rest as her body is in tatter. I asked him does Feroza had ever made similar outburst in the past, Shah Jehan replied that once in a while she did. He admits that he sometime couldn’t handle Feroza’s temperament. It’s just the fact that he is her brother that she never unleashes her fury to him. But most of the time, it is Shiraj or sometime the kids who would take the brunt. Foreign students who stay at Shiraj’s house never saw her tantrum because she would vent it whenever no students were around, and had to restrain when they were at home. The reason behind this is to prevent bad image that it would create. Fortunately, despite of her short temper, things would cool down afterwards and everything would be back to normal.

We started to clean up the house and clearing all the debris and mess. Shah Jehan put some used newspapers on the spot where Feroza vomited to remove the slime. Wahyu also helped me to put all of the furniture back to its place.

What a way to spend the last night in Australia!

After we complete cleaning up the house, we returned back to our room for rest. For me it was time to pack up all of my belongings. Fortunately, since I didn’t carry a lot of gifts (all have been carried by my parents) it was a quick process to do. Upon completely packing all of my belongings, I change my clothes to pajama and went to sleep.

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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