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.
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