Just Landed

Expatriate Lifestyle - - Contents - In­ter­view by Karin Chan

What brought you to Malaysia?

Love! I moved to Malaysia to be with my boyfriend. He plays foot­ball here.

Your first re­ac­tion when you found out you were mov­ing?

Once I made the de­ci­sion, my first thought was “Wow! I am re­ally do­ing this!” Be­fore mov­ing here, I’d lived in Con­necti­cut my en­tire life. The ma­jor­ity of my fam­ily and friends were in that area as well. For me this was huge. If you had asked me a few years ago if I could have ever pic­tured my­self mov­ing away, let alone out of the countr y, I would have said no; but when some­thing is right, you just know. I didn’t think twice about mov­ing.

Tell us some­thing you now know about Malaysia that you didn’t be­fore.

I didn’t know that Malaysia is com­posed mostly of Malays, Chi­nese and In­di­ans. The di­ver­sity is one of my favourite things in this coun­try. There are all these dif­fer­ent types of foods, re­li­gions, style of dress and even ar­chi­tec­ture. They all blend to­gether, making Malaysia colour­ful and unique.

How are you find­ing set­tling in?

It has been slightly dif­fi­cult ad­just­ing to the pace of life here. In the US ev­ery­thing is ‘go, go, go’. I think time is val­ued dif­fer­ently in the US and Malaysia. In the US, time is of the essence. If you have a job, you get it done. If you are ex­pected at a cer tain time, you ar­rive then, if not ear­lier. Some even say if you are on time, you are late. It seems as though here in Malaysia time is still im­por tant, but more so in a way that it should be en­joyed. No one is in a rush.

En­coun­tered any strange cul­tural cus­toms here?

While I wouldn’t cat­e­gorise this as strange or a cus­tom, I was taken by sur­prise at the demo you re­ceive when buy­ing elec­tron­ics. When I first ar­rived I pur­chased an iron. Be­fore bag­ging it, the sales per­son re­moved it from the box and plugged it in to test it out. This is un­heard of in the US but I thought it was neat. It would save you from hav­ing to re­turn a faulty item!

Any­where you’d like to visit while you’re here?

One of the top things on my list was to go to Pe­nang and see Pe­nang Hill. We ac­tu­ally went in Au­gust and it did not dis­ap­point. I love ar t so walk­ing around and see­ing all the street ar t was a huge bonus. I would like to see some of the is­lands and get out­side the city, see what the rest of the countr y is like.

Learnt any use­ful Malaysian words?

To­lak and tarik (push and pull). Know­ing these two words saved me the em­bar­rass­ment of bar­relling through a door that should be pulled in­stead of pushed.

Any tips for fel­low ex­pats to Asia?

Buy a good um­brella and give your­self ex­tra time if you plan on go­ing any­where around 5pm! EL

Na­tion­al­ity: Amer­i­can Oc­cu­pa­tion: Jew­ellery maker In Malaysia since: June 2017

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