Three years of Eid abroad

A bunch of ketupat.

Eid celebrations (or Raya as we call it in Malaysia) began to look a little different to me in 2020.

Then again, everything was different for everybody that year but especially so for someone who had just moved to this new city all by herself. I’ve spent 3 years of Raya abroad now.

First year of Eid away from my family and friends was tough. I was barely given the chance to form a tight friendship with anyone here because we had to go into lockdown within the first 3 weeks of uni, so I didn’t really have anyone to celebrate with. Fortunately, at that time, Adelaide was doing relatively well in terms of their case numbers so restrictions were eased and we could go outside as per usual. On the night before Raya, a friend of mine from law school was kind enough to invite me over for one last iftar – her mother made some delicious classic Malay Eid dishes that reminded me of home.

I knew I didn’t want to just sit at home and be all emotional on Eid morning and I knew – despite the cold weather – that I wanted to be by the water. So, I rang a friend and asked her if she wanted to have brunch with me by the beach. I was stoked when she said yes – I had already begun mentally preparing myself to spend Eid alone, but I didn’t have to. Yay!  After briefly calling my parents to wish them Eid Mubarak, I took the 20-minute tram ride to Glenelg. I met up with my friend and we had a wonderful time chatting over pancakes and waffles. It was no rendang or ketupat, but it was still delightful, especially being able to spend an important day with a friend.

2021 was a lot better. Everyone was starting to move on from Covid and uni was back in session so new friendships were created and old ones, rekindled. Open houses were held (though in sessions to avoid going over the capacity). I visited two houses that year. One was a friend of a friend’s house. That was the first Eid celebration that actually felt like Eid. I went over to their house that day and ate lots of Raya food and biscuits again. The same thing at the second house – eat and talk and eat and talk. 

Raya this year fell on a Monday and which, unfortunately for me, meant that I had classes to attend. To make it more interesting, I had a major class presentation to do as well. So not only did I have to sit through lectures, but I also had a graded assignment to fulfill. Not really an idyllic Eid celebration but it was an interesting one, nonetheless. 

As a little Raya treat (which doubled as a treat for not fainting during the presentation), my friend and I went to Betty’s Burgers for some ice cream. The next night, a friend and I went for an Eid dinner (which really was just us heading out for sushi). Oh, and the day before Eid, I had iftar again with my law friend. While my third Raya abroad was not as exciting as the ones before due to classes, I still had a really good time, especially being able to be around good company! How was your Eid celebration?

Tagged in What messes with your head, Eid, international student