Divya’s Week 2

I’m going to be honest, the 9 to 5 work life is exhausting. Our apartment is a 20 minute drive from the university, but we take a 15 minute train and then a 20 minute bus to work every day. We live in Setiawangsa, a little suburb about 3 stops from the heart of the city, KLCC, which holds the famous Petronus twin towers. The university is in Gombak, the outer edge of Kuala Lumpur, and surrounded by beautiful mountains (that I intend to hike at some point in time). I love my morning commute because our train goes in the exact opposite direction of the hustling masses going “downtown” to work. It gives me an opportunity to observe the chaos all while listening to Anushka Shankar play sitar. I’ve finished my article on the women in the Islamic finance department. In the process, I’ve interviewed 2 other professors and my mind is still blown. It’s just so interesting watching adult women get giddy talking about how cool they think Islamic banking is. I really hope to be just as passionate about my future career as they are about their current ones.

Dr. Salina Kassim (left) and Mdm. Zarinah Mohd Yusoff

Dr. Salina Kassim (left) and Mdm. Zarinah Mohd Yusoff

I’m really lucky because Kuala Lumpur is so similar to any city in the states. I would even go so far as to say that KL’s infrastructure is better. As a result, I’ve been indulging in a little too much bubble tea (shoutout to grab food) and a variety of different Asian foods. It’s been a little difficult being the only non-Muslim at work during Ramadan because, even though I know I can eat lunch, I don’t particularly enjoy finding a small corner to eat my lunch as quietly as possible in. Not to mention, any students at the university will most likely also be fasting so finding spaces to eat alone has been a little difficult. The one plus is that my department sponsors free iftar (the meal where you break fast when the sun goes down) and I’ve attended a few of those. During one iftar, I was by myself sitting at a table with three other IIUM students. We quickly befriended each other and the next thing I knew, one had invited me to her house for eid the following week. The next couple of weeks, following the eid break, are a transition period before the next semester of school. This means that campus will be pretty dead except for our last two weeks here, as students return for classes.

This week has been an interesting mix of asking around the office if anyone needs help with anything and finding that most people are also in the same boat as me. I’ve been told the weeks leading up to the eid break (kind of like Thanksgiving or Christmas) is when everyone just runs out of things to do/motivation. I’m hoping once Ramadan ends I can contribute more.

Jalan Alor Food Market

Jalan Alor Food Market

To end, here’s a picture of Jalan Alor. Essentially it’s a street filled with food from all over Asia (in other words my happy place).