7 days in Kuala Lumpur

There is no denying the three simple truths of the past week: 1. It’s hot. 2. And it rains a lot. 3. My first week in Kuala Lumpur (KL) flew by! After spending close to twenty-four hours squished into economy class airline seats, I was ready to dive into my Fulbright experience.

Kebab stands are a common sight at KL's many night markets.
Kebab stands are a common sight at KL’s many night markets.

The first five days of ETA orientation mainly consisted of informational sessions, State Department presentations, note taking, and a little sprinkling of Bahasa Malay. Although some afternoons seemed to drag along, the vast majority of the information in these sessions was important and will undoubtedly help ensure my success as an ETA these next nine months. I’ve spent my nights exploring the neighborhoods and food stalls immediately surrounding our hotel. (Cultural awareness only comes when one explores beyond their comfort zones.) Every night brings a new adventure and a new set of friends to experience it with. Of the hundred English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) here in KL, every single one of them is spectacular. This truly is an amazing collection of individuals.

Fulbrighters eat with their hands! Hands down the best Indian I've had.
Fulbrighters eat with their hands! Hands down the best Indian I’ve had.

Saturday and Sunday we had the chance to get out and explore the city in depth. Saturday was spent wandering over to Menara Kuala Lumpur, the tall spinning top-inspired TV tower, relaxing by the hotel pool, and eating authentic Indian food off of a banana lead with our hands. That was an experience I will never forget!

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Malaysia’s National Mosque.
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Tourists were allowed inside the Mosque as long as they were dressed appropriately. Purple robes were given to those who needed to cover their heads, elbows, and/or knees.

On Sunday, a group of us explored the Islamic Arts Museum and the National Mosque. The Islamic Art Museum was incredible and houses one of the best collections of Islamic decorative arts in the world. There were extensive and stunning Qur’an, textile, and painting collections. After finishing up in the Islamic Arts Museum we hopped across the street to Malaysia’s National Mosque. The Mosque itself was a tranquil and calming place. It was a perfect way to end a exciting yet busy week. I can’t wait to do it all over again starting tomorrow! Selamat tinggal!

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