Back on 2014 when I was living in Malaysia, weekend was a well awaited occurrence. Living in a country which happened to be the low cost airlines based is such a heaven. There was always a deal to go anywhere pretty much. And that weekend me and Willow, my coworker, decided to go to Melaka together.
You should know by now that I never really shut my mouth. I was talking to Brandon on the phone at this big bus station waiting for the final bus to Melaka. There was this guy sitting couple seats away in the same waiting area with us, with two backpacks strapped on his back and chest that keep looking at us. He then approached us to ask if that was the right waiting area for the bus to Melaka. Willow, answered she had no clue and told him she was just sitting there because I pick that area. I hold Brandon on the phone and said “yes it is, it would be number 37, we’re heading there as well.” to the guy.
The bus arrived and we all got in. The guy happened to seat exactly, at the back of our seat. He then proceed to ask if we were a traveller, Willow said no, with the tone and facial face of cutting him off completely. Willow wasn’t really the nicest to a stranger.
I looked at him and his bags, “Where do you come from?”
“Ah, tu parlez français?”
His eyes lightened and look at us on excitement “Ouiii, parlez-vous français? L’anglais n’est pas ma première langue.”
I smiled “Je parle un peu de français. Ne parlez pas si vite, s’il vous plaît. Et je m’appelle Astrid, tu t’appelles comment?”
He laughed and said “I’m Youssef. Enchantée.”
An hour later we arrived in the city centre of Melaka. Willow and I already booked a room in a the local hotel so we just checked the maps on the phone and find our way there. Youssef walked right behind us and had no idea where he was gonna stay. So I told him to go to our hotel and see if they still got free room for the night for him. He was just lucky and got the last room available there. So the three of us staying in the same hotel and explore Melaka together.
We came in the weekend festival so we saw night market, some traditional music and theatrical act. At that time, loom band was a hit as a little girl’s toys, but I didn’t have that experience growing up so I was obsessed with that. I bought a pack and made some bracelet from it.
Youssef ended up being our travel pal for the weekend. Well he went there alone and has no friend so I feel him. And it was not like he bother us or anything.
On our way back to Kuala Lumpur, I made Willow and Youssef a bracelet from the loom band I bought. Just like what you saw on the picture.
I asked Youssef which area he was heading in KL as Willow and I will both go home to our apartment. We lived in the same area. He told me he got friend in Klang, but the friend he was gonna stay at did not answer him. I didn’t know why I feel bad and asked him if he wanted to crash at my place, but I could only offered him the couch in the living room.
I lived with Jamie and Abraham. Jamie’s girlfriend was coming to visit from France, so did Abraham’s girlfriend she was coming to visit from Germany. They were all staying in our apartment so it was pretty packed. Brandon would come in couple days so the next weekend we would all be with our significant others, except Brandon was not staying at the apartment because my room was pretty small and he booked a hotel right behind my office.
Jamie and his girlfriend would be home around 10pm because they went to Singapore. While Abraham and his girlfriend would be home around midnight.
I was only 22 that time and didn’t know better. I was thinking if I let Youssef sleep on the couch, my housemates would be questioning a stranger sleeping in the living room. So I was also sleeping in the living room. Youssef got the largest couch and I was in the other one.
To think about it again, I was wondering why didn’t I texted them about Youssef staying in the couch…. Brandon was pretty mad because he was worried about my safety and all inviting stranger home. But I followed my gut, I felt like from the first time I saw Youssef, he was genuine and would cause no harm tagging along with us.
Youssef left in the morning the moment I left to work, it was around 7:00am before the boys and their girlfriend even woke up. We said bye and got each other contact on Facebook. Which to be honest, we never really talk after that. Once a year on each other birthday I guess.
Fast forward to 2018, I got a DM on my instagram from Youssef! He decided to come study in Malaysia and was asking if I were still around to catch up. So then I told him I was in Sydney. What was so funny, he sent me a picture of the loom band bracelet I made for him back in 2014. He still have it! Which I didn’t even think it would last that long because mine wasn’t. But glad that he still remember me and still keeping the bracelet.