This trip happened a long long time ago. It was the summer that we graduated from school and I just can’t get my head around the fact that that’s almost three years ago. After lots of parties in London, hopping around European capitals, relaxing days in my Austrian countryside place as well as an architecture internship in Berlin, my boarding school crew gathered for one last time before we would all fly out and go on our own individual adventures.
Okay, Oxbridge isn’t that far from LSE. But S. and me were about to go on our gap year and had lots of exciting things planned, none of which involved coming back to the UK for a long time.
Undoubtedly, the most wonderful thing about having a bunch of such international friends is that there’s always a reason for you to visit a country far, far away. A. and her family invited all the girls to Malaysia! Logistically it wasn’t the easiest thing, but eventually, after several drives to the airport, all of us – one by one – arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
(The girls will probably thank me for getting out all these old photos, back from when “we were chubby”, “had bad skin” and “awful hair”. What boarding school does to you…)
After a couple of days in Kuala Lumpur spent in front of SingStar, at the aquarium or the cinema, street markets, night clubs and various hangover breakfasts locations, we took off to an island in the Andaman Sea. There are some experiences in my life that I can’t even tell you how I lucky I am to have had them – the time A.’s Dad invited us girls to spend some days at The Datai nestled away in the rainforest is definitely one of them.
The juice sippin’ started from the moment we checked in at the hotel and went on ’till we were back in KL. A never-ending supply of delicious food, good books, lots of sun and time at the pool – we definitely had a classic girls trip and basically just the best time ever. I apologise to all the honeymooners that were disturbed by the group of girls that would never stop talking. The luxurious villas of The Datai and its magnificent isolated private beach are perfect for a honeymoon and most probably not frequently visited by a bunch of eighteen year olds. Not surprisingly, we eventually got a bit bored and ventured out to explore the island.
From hiking to a waterfall, getting henna tattoos at a night market or swimming in a fresh water lake hidden away behind rainforest covered hills in the middle of the ocean – Langkawi has lots to offer. We also spent a whole day on the boat for some island hopping, banana boating and eagle watching.
Everything comes to an end, so after days of playing in the incredibly (maybe unbearably?) warm bathtub that is the Andaman sea, it was time to pack up our bags. We returned to The Datai for one last beautiful sunset by the beach and ordered the last round of Oreo shakes. These were followed by an amazing seafood dinner in bungalows, tucked away in the depths of the humid Malaysian rainforest.
Time to get back to Kuala Lumpur. Just like we all arrived to Malaysia one by one, the following week was full of daily trips to the airport and slowly our group shrank day by day. I was the first one to leave KL (sorry, had a party to attend in Milan) but my time in Malaysia was a helluva way to say bye to the girls I had spent the last two years of my life with. You’ve all got a very special place in my heart. It’s almost three years ago now and thinking back on it makes me all warm and fuzzy. I remember at that time it seemed almost like a formality to “do something before we all go our own ways”. “Let’s just go on a holiday before we all start uni” was our attitude then. But I’ve realised that Malaysia really was the last time all of us were together properly and that we’ve slowly drifted apart since. I mean really spending time with each other and enjoying each other’s company and not just the obligatory catch up about “what’s been going on in my life” in a hip London bar. The crew came together on a few occasions over the last three years, for Thanksgiving or 21st birthdays, but time changes people and we’ve never been as familiar with each other like we were in Malaysia (in good and bad ways…) Kaw Kaw.
Thanks to Miss A.H. and her family for the amazing memories!