Interview by Karin Chan
What brought you to Malaysia?
We lived in Melbourne for almost five years because of my husband’s job, but now he works as a senior engineer for a company in Kulim Hi-tech Park. That’s why we relocated to Penang. It’s my first time coming to Malaysia, so I was excited and nervous, but I’ve heard great things – especially about Penang.
How did you prepare for the move?
This is our fourth time moving as a family because of my husband’s job, so we didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. However, before we came here, we’d already contacted some potential schools for our son and looked at possible places to stay on the local websites.
What Malaysian food or cultural elements are similar to Indonesia?
We have similar foods to yours in Indonesia such as rendang, gulai, mie goreng, nasi goreng, ikan sambal, kueh lapis and nasi Padang. We have slightly different names for char koay teow ( kuetiauw) and kue angku ( kue ku). Our culture is also similar; for example taking your shoes off before entering a house – definitely not something you do in Western countries!
What do you now know about Malaysia that you didn’t before?
I didn’t know much about Penang before except that it is famous for its food and influenced by Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures. Just after we moved, I learned about Penang’s capital city – George Town – and its wellpreserved cultural and historical heritage.
Is there anywhere you want to go here?
Actually, I’d like to go to Legoland. My son is a Lego enthusiast and he’s been begging us to take him there. I also want to go to Langkawi since it’s just a stone’s throw away from Penang.
What sorts of activities would you like to do?
I would love to do some biking and hiking here. I also want to learn to make traditional sweets ( kuih nyonya). Baking is my first love and I had a home baking business in Melbourne before I became a teacher. I’m very excited to join some baking classes in Penang!
Any tips for fellow expats in Penang?
Be respectful of the local culture and try to do a little research on the area you want to live in before you move. Finding a place to live can be exhausting when you’re not sure which part of the island you want to stay in. And you might want to rent a car for the first weeks as it’s more convenient than taking public transport. But everyone here has been very nice and helpful to us, so that’s been great.
If a package arrived, what would you like it to contain?
I’d really like some homemade sausages. In Melbourne butchers sell all sorts of homemade sausages - beef, chicken, Lebanese sausage, tomato and basil, and so on. They are great for barbecues and taste different from frankfurters. I also really miss the delis with their many kinds of olives, fresh cheeses, roasted capsicum and sundried tomatoes. EL
Nationality: Indonesian Occupation: Stay-at-home mum In Malaysia since: June 2017