This was in 1979 -1981 when Iwas doing may masters degree in Education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Then the student population was about 60,000 and I was renting a room at University Ave. just outside the campus. Its 10 mins walk but I bought a 10 speed bicycle to enjoy my student days again better. I was already 7 years into the civil service before I decided to do my masters.I though its better late than never and true enough when I looked back now I could'nt have enjoyed my self better then.
The campus is beautiful especially in the Fall and Winter. Its by the lake, the Great lakes. And bicycling in and around campus was like being free again from the formal rigour of a civil servant. My Malaysian friends at the campus gave me a certain kind of look when I cycled to their apartment for a meal or just helping them at the vegetable garden in the summer. They didn't say it but it "sounded" like saying MY..... You must be crazy. You can afford a car but You chose a bicycle.
When I thought about my 2 years in Madison I always tell my children that you are only 10 years old once in your life, or for that mater you are twenty or thirty years old only once in your life. Do not waste it by sleeping and doing nothing but watching the darn TV. Go out and explore this earth. It doesn't matter where you are. Just be out there and watch the butterflies, watch the squirell or just go on a bicycle or just walk and feel the fresh air, feel the wind blowing and you will feel very blessed to be on born on this earth. My daughter finally got to doing something and not just lying around readnig love novels. Her greatest achievement outdoor was climbing Mount Kinabalu , the highest peak in Malaysia. Now that I am sixty I never regreated my short stint with my bicycle. I took the bicycle home to my house now in PJ. But it is now rusty and out of service. But I just couldn' sell it out to the Iron Vendour wo bought old broken iron 'whatever'
In the summer I went fishing with friends with my bicycle in Madison. The bicycle is very light and when I needed to go up the stairs at the Education Department, I could lift it up easily. Come to think of it, it was fun beccause at that time you will not see a Malay girl using a bicycle in campus with a bag-pack.That was awesome experience. You can cycle around and feel like you don't have aproblem in this world.I cycled to the nearest grocery, the nearest department store or just cycle around to see the beautuful neighbourhood especially in the spring and in the Fall. But come winter, my bicycle styed in my room.I had a studio where mostly aAmericans and Arabs stay, because it is relativelly more expensive. I though what I saved on bying a car, I decided to rent a more comfortable room by American standard.
While I enjoyed myself with my bicycle , I also learned canoing in the lakes. Since I could swim a bit, I wasn't frightened to be in the water and in fact I also learn how to flip-up if the canoe turned upside down. I remembered learning how to sail while doing a short coure in London in mid 70's. When now I watched a bit on Yautching competion in Trengganu, I could at least imagine how difficult it is to manouver the sails.
Life can't be more exciting thean an outdoor life for me. That's why I encourage the children not to waste their youth on indoor activity alone. Why just go to the Gym. Why not run around the the housing area, or the the jogging track at the Taman. As I said before, go and climb the hills, go to the forest park etc, etc. There is nothing like enjoying nature Allah has created for us.
Now I remembered A Course I attended in Trengganu conducted by an American clinical psychologist on managent. One of the session was just to sit out otdoor and observe nature and later to tell him what have we learnt from them.Just an exemple is watching the butterflies. They don't fly on a straight line while collecting necter from the flowers. They fly zig-zag, slowly and steadily. This could be interpreted in management that sometimes we do have to go head-on in tryin to achieve our objectives in life or in an organization. Learn from the butterflies how we can strategized our steps to overcome problems and at the end of the day we emerge successful.
So much for the bicycle tour of life........