New discoveries for October

When one moves to a new country, there is inevitably a period of adjustment, getting over the culture shock and homesickness. The homesickness lasts a while longer if you know that the move is a permanent or indefinite one and you don't know how the next few years will turn out. This is multiplied if the move is for a reason other than your own personal agenda; I experienced this move for the first time at the age of 9 from Japan to Australia with no English – but inside my little brain I instinctively knew that this was a positive fresh start as I already felt I had trouble fitting in to my world. I didn't even miss Japan, I was so excited and I loved every new day going to school where I understood nothing for the first few months; I couldn't even comprehend why everyone seemed concerned about my sister and me.

This time round, from Australia to Malaysia, it hasn't gone as smoothly as I expected. I had no school or job to keep me focussed on important matters so I have spent many hours wondering what I'm doing here, why I couldn't stay in our beautiful home in Adelaide, why I had to leave our good life and our awesome friends – and why we had to put our precious cats through this stress (they seemed to have come through with flying colours!).

It occurs to me that although I try to keep an open mind to new experiences, even ones considered not-so-desirable in my culture & background, I'm less flexible to change than I used to be. There are so many new things to experience, consider, digest and accept. I really despised being in my new country for a few weeks – now that we've made settlement on our house in Adelaide and we have a little financial freedom, I have moved into the next phase; retail therapy.

I don't believe in making my blog into a whinge fest, but I would like to keep a record of what's happening – I'm going to try to balance all the negatives by starting with the positives.

Positive things in October:

  • Discovered Bangsar, an expat area with modern shopping malls, more foreigners, nice restaurants with friendly service, which sadly gets a mention because it's not common here.
  • Discovered Delicious restaurant (Bangsar one is better than the city one) – they do nice breakfasts, and other nice cafe food like truffle oil shoestring fries (love!) – and they're open til 1am, and the staff are nice and on the ball.
  • Discovered Sunday brunch @ Vineria (no photos yet, I forgot) – Sunday brunches seem like a bit of a tradition for many expats, lots of nice-ish restaurants and hotel restaurants do amazing spreads with free flow drinks, where you pay a different rate for non-alcohol and alcohol. It's pretty amazing actually. It's not unlike the Melbourne cafe scene, but you have to factor in the bad coffee and a bit more formal (as in less personal) service. The only thing is that hubby works most Sundays so we can only do this occasionally.
  • We bought a car! It's a brand new Myvi SE in pearl white. Hubby is extra excited about buying his first BRAND NEW car. It's awesome. All our new friends say that this will change our life. We're currently waiting on delivery (hopefully next week)
  • Discovered Hammam day spa – recommended by a friend, it's a Moroccan style spa where you can get various packages (yet to try). We've bought a 9-session package because we loved the aromatic massages. In fact, we went twice this week. Plus this other massage place called Thai Odyssey. Both located in Bangsar Village II. It's heaps cheaper than in Australia, compared with something like Endota. Everything in RM helps, it seems :)
  • Our first shipment arrived from Australia – i.e. coffee machine and cat beds/toys.
  • Kitties are happy, I think.
  • Went to an awesome Chinese food hawker place – we've named it the 'prawn' place. Introduced by a friend, located behind Lot 10 in Bukit Bintang (no photos yet). It looks completely feisty, the place is in a long corrugated iron open shed, one end is the good seafood and the other end is very quiet with lots of rats. But the garlic prawn is sooo good. Not as cheap as you'd think, but still cheap.
  • Fairly good taxi karma.
  • Enrolled in Australian distance education for Animal Health Care! This is in preparation for when we eventually move back, I want to start a career in animals.
  • The book I sent to USA for Kitty Quartet's giveaway actually arrived – kind of expected something to go wrong in this country.
  • Signed up for Mandarin Oriental (beautiful hotel) gym/spa. It's really glam!

Bad things in October:

  • Our rental is gross, but we're not in the market to buy. Besides, I don't want to be here for such a long time that we have to consider buying. (This may change, if our rental drives us insane)
  • Hubby had a really busy month with tours so I hardly saw him – bad because I have nothing to do besides twiddle my thumbs at home and I have chronic fatigue/depression.
  • I keep running out of all my supplements that keep me going from my naturopath in Australia. Big minus.
  • I miss good coffee… Haven't got an adapter for our grinder & coffee machine so we have to make do with rotating single adapter which is a nuisance.
  • The repairs to be done on the house is not complete – they only partly repaired the parquet so our bedroom looks fantastic, thank goodness – the parquet for the rest of the house looks horrible. It occurs to me that the landlord is a stingy bastard. Pardon my language.
  • We're supposed to have mosquito nets installed in the first 2 weeks according to our rental agreement but it's been almost 2 months and nothing. And there are some serious mosquitoes in our apartment complex. We can't open the windows so have to have air-con even throughout the night. Who is going to pay our bill then huh?
  • Our ensuite is terrible. We have a pooling problem so that tiles are covered in mildew, the bathroom floods every time anybody has a shower, it's ugly (and hello, it's not the 'least' of my problems grrr), the water is yellow, toilet seat looks like it was picked up at some hard rubbish collection. I think it's time for me to tell the landlord that the pooling problem is making this place unlivable.
  • Don't even want to talk about the main bathroom because it's worse than the ensuite. Makes me depressed just thinking the word 'bathroom'.
  • Can't buy the exact type of kitty food we used to have for them in Australia – so their poo smells horrible and stinks out the entire place. We had SD then they don't have the Lite food here so now we get Adult Chicken (also different to Adult in Australia we think), but now we're considering change their food.
  • No Temptations for the kitties. Simply not available in Malaysia.
  • Kitchen is going to be repaired but only partially. We currently have fugly dull orange tiny square tiles that cover the floors and half way up the walls, but they look like they've been there for 30 years (probably have) and the grout looks so gross I have to spend as little time in there as possible. But they're only repairing the benchtop, which has enough damage to have to replace thank goodness (it's mouldy and soft now haha how gross). They will reuse the fugly cabinet doors, they want to reuse the fugly dirty disgusting sink, which we've requested to have new at our own expense. It went something like this:
    Misa: Since we're getting a new kitchen benchtop, we'd like to get a new sink and we'll pay for the extra.
    Agent: Why?
    Misa: Well because it's very old and disgusting.
    Agent: Ok… it's not cheap...
    Misa: How much? Can we get a quote first?
    Agent: Maybe 300-400RM (that's like $AU100-150!!!)
    Misa: *stares blankly into the distance* That's fine. (thinking it's so bloody cheap, what's wrong with you, besides, we're paying)
    Agent: You know that sink can be reused la, it's stainless steel eh?
    Misa: *stares blankly into the distance* …………
  • So many people are so rude, e.g. In a restaurant "Can you drink faster and leave?"
  • Taxi drivers have no work ethic – I hate having to open the door and ask them whether they will go, like it's some privilege if they say yes. They don't have the mentality that we the passenger pays for the service so they just need to do their job. If you manage to get past any number of stupid lame excuses like: a) I don't want to go that way, b) it's jammed, c) it's raining, d) I'm waiting for a passenger (then why the hell are you in a taxi rank lining up), e) why you going there, I show you somewhere else (wtf), f) it's too close, g) it's too far (bloody can't win) – then you have to get past the next hurdle: a) haggling ("40RM!" even though the meter costs 17RM cos we took a taxi on the way there). If you agree to a named price, they won't take the highway cos they'll lose less than 1RM at the toll gate. LAME. b) they need to have a shower, like seriously! c) they can't drive properly, d) they don't know the way but lie about it… and we still have to pay to use this abominable service.

And here are some pictures to finish off.

Our pool in our apartment complex


Squirrel… terrible photo, but he's there!


Cool exotic snail


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Kea said...


It sounds like it's a huge adjustment. Frankly, at my age, I don't think I could do it. Change usually has both pluses and minuses, but as we get older, some of us (many of us?) become more set in our ways and are loathe to shake things up. Of course, you still are young!

I think the distance ed for Animal Care will be a good thing. You need to keep your mind occupied so that your thoughts don't prey on you. I know this because I've had my own struggles with depression for years. It's better to be busy and productive somehow, via hobbies, exercise, etc. So you are making the right choices there, I think.

About the cat food and treats: Can you import from an on-line source? Shipping likely would be costly, but if the old food is better for the fur family, it could be worth it.

Oh, I'm having deja vu typing this, how bizarre!

I hope the landlord gets his butt in gear and fixes things up. That pool looks lovely, but it would seem that's the only nice thing about the place! Do you have other rental options--can you look for another place?

Lots of hugs and Light as you settle in; remember to take good care of your Self. Kitty kisses to the kitties!

Anonymous said...

Oh... that does not sound as exotic as the name 'Malaysia' does... *hugs* as you adjust.

Meanwhile- will you like me to buy temptations and post them over for your babies? Can do it, you know?

Jacqueline said...

Hang in there, Misa; it is such a huge adjustment and all change is difficult, even good change=I can't imagine how hard this must be for you...Best of luck with the landlord, it sounds like you are having to live in unacceptable circumstances which should be fixed asap...I am trying to deal with a lot of changes in my life too, but you are helping me keep my situation in perspective...At least the taxi service won't be such a big deal once your car arrives :)...If you would like, send me an email with your address and I can send Temptations to your babies...Take care of yourself and when you are alone and feeling down, just remember all the love in your life and go cuddle your babies :)=that always makes me feel better!...Happy weekend, sweet friend.

Mariodacat said...

Mario's M here - Wow girl - I give you a lot of credit for making this move. It is a HUGE adjustment. I'm not so sure I could handle it either. Hang in there, it will get better and you may grow to love some things about the new country eventually. Is this a permanent move or one that will eventually end? Another way of looking at things is you are getting an experiene in life that most of us will never have. Some day you may look back on it and say "it wasn't so bad afterall."

♥ Sallie said...

It is good that you are seeing the positive!


Tiny Tapir said...

hi, i was googling coffee in KL and just came across your blog.

I totally know what you mean about relocation and totally feeling like a stranger in an unwelcome land. I've moved around from Malaysia to Australia and then to Hong Kong and then back to Malaysia knowing no one, and I feel for you 100%

I'm back in KL now (i'm originally from here) and coincidentally we've just soft opened a new coffee place directly opposite KLCC on Jalan Ampang. It's in Wisma Equity which is where you can see the ICBC bank, right next to Avenue K.

Please come and visit, pull up a chair and have a chat. The cafe is called RAW Coffee and one of the co-founders is a New Zealander, Michael who did Artisan Roast in Edinburgh. We have a roaster in the cafe and I am SURE Michael would love to talk Coffee with you (seeing as he loves to talk Coffee with EVERYONE!) Maybe you could even give a hand at the barista station (for something to do!)?

Drop me an email at tinytapir at and I'll pass you my phone number so we can make KL a little less lonely for you :)

Tiny Tapir said...

forgot to mention, coffee is free 100 cups a day while we train up the baristas in the next week.

Batu said...

Thanks for your christmas card - hope you had a lovely Christmas in your new home - I love the look of that pool!!!!

Batu said...

I have just passed an award on to you cos we havent heard from you in a while - check out my blog!

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