We were in Denver through the fall and winter of 1982. It was beautiful during the days of the fall season when the sunshine steaming brightly through the thick blue sky. We visited many theme parks around the Denver area only to see the park attendance busy cleaning up the leftover fun of the summer. For us it was good enough to have all the rides to ourselves. We went up the rocky mountain to see the last scattered of the snow that year. What amazing site that was to be up on one of the highest peak of the Rocky Mountain and breathed the thin cold air. Those were the activities that we would do during every leisure opportunity that we could find in between the classes and class assignments.
The classes at the Bridge International School were hard and boring. They were mainly English class preparing us for the TOEFL and language skill that we were supposed to have. English was always hard for me. I guess I did not try hard enough to capture the essence of the language. Therefore, I can truly understand the hardship that people face regarding the issue of PPSMI , the teaching and learning Math and Science in English. I came from the background of no English at all whatsoever. I heard my teacher spoke English only a few minutes in a day and he was the only person I knew that spoke in English. So it was so foreign and completely out of place to converse in English. That made my English a lot harder. So during my short period in Denver my performance was not encouraging as the test date drew nearer.
While in Denver we were visited by Arab brothers a lot. They were the Jemaah Tabligh people that practiced dakwah as we do in Malaysia. I reluctantly joined them and going places with them. The thing was that we wanted to enjoy life not knocking doors at someone’s apartment. Many of my friends would “run through the back window” if the Arab brothers came knocking on their front door. But my inner soul told me to find refuge in these people as you never know your fate in the future. So I calmed myself down and made myself to realize what’s happening. It’s was hard to trade fun with some daunting tasks like dakwah. But I persevered and tried to accommodate the Arab brothers whenever they came around. It was nice actually to have some elder people looking after you in the place you thought to be safe but in fact too dangerous for a young mind and soul. So we went places visiting mosques around Colorado and during the Christmas break that year we went to LA for the ijtimak. I even set up a small surau for our Malaysian friends to pray jemaah with the financial support from those Arab brothers. They were rich lot too. By January we have to find a place at the university for a start of our undergraduate program. I found a place in Wichita, Kansas at the Wichita State University doing a program in computer science.
The old tough Plymouth
So one day my buddy and I set off in a used Plymouth to Wichita. In the blistering cold and snow storm we disappeared into the dark of the night. The ice was inches thick on the road that we had to put chains on the tires to increase the grip as we sped off to cross the Rocky Mountain. I just could not imagine how we did it but we finally made it to Wichita, Kansas.
Arrived in Wichita